Ep 24: The history of the NSS – Interview with Bob Forder



How did the secularist movement begin in Britain? And why should modern supporters of secularism care about its history?

In this week’s episode, Emma Park speaks to Bob Forder, a member of the NSS council and former history teacher, about the origins of secularism in Britain. Bob explains how the secularist movement was, from its early years, bound up with the story of the National Secular Society. From its origins in local working-class associations, secularism has always been a socially progressive if not radical movement that has challenged the established hierarchy.

Freedom of speech and of conscience, abolishing the blasphemy laws, providing scientific information about birth control – issues like these have been at the heart of secularist campaigns, and supported by the NSS, for over a hundred and fifty years. And, as this podcast shows, understanding the history of secularism can help reinforce its supporters’ sense of purpose, and their shared identity, even today.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_gyBTgBhbA&feature=youtu.be

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Notes

The history of the National Secular Society

https://www.secularism.org.uk/history.html

The Fruits of Philosophy – an early pamphlet on contraception

https://www.secularism.org.uk/the-fruits-of-philosophy-trial.html

Peterloo’s heroes represented the finest traditions of secular democracy

https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2018/11/peterloos-heroes-represented-the-finest-traditions-of-secular-democracy

Radicals, Rebels, and Revolutionaries of the 19th century – Bob Forder at Conway Hall

https://www.secularism.org.uk/radicals-rebels-and-revolutionar.html

Former NSS President Barbara Smoker dies at 96

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2020/04/former-nss-president-barbara-smoker-dies-at-96

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

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