There's nothing anti-religious about advocating for secular schools that are open, inclusive and equally welcoming to all children, whatever their religion and belief backgrounds. Religion is fine for those that want it, but Britain's rapidly changing religious landscape screams for the scaling back of religious control of the classroom.
In a move devoid of any common sense, Theresa May's government looks set to capitulate to the demands of religious groups by relaxing admissions rules for faith-based academies, allowing them to select all pupils along religious lines. It's hard to think of a more retrograde policy than the facilitation of greater religious segregation of children and young people in our education system.
Three million pounds can never replace the countless nameless souls we have lost, both in the UK and around the world since formal education began, whose lives were terminally compromised by prejudice, discrimination and hate. It is to these people that I wish to dedicate my recent awards and honours, in addition to everyone who has invited me along to speak or supported my work.
Following my visits to faith schools, without exception I ask young people whether they feel their faith is a barrier to learning about LGBT+ people and the damage prejudicial attitudes can cause.Without exception they assure me that their faith tells them to love, to respect and to take care of people.
Both the Anglican and Catholic Churches have long been able to use publicly funded schools to inculcate children into their religious traditions. Their reluctance to let go of that privilege is understandable. But for the sake of young people's future, people of all faiths should accept that faith-based education isn't in Britain's best interest.
It is not good for society to ghettoise its future citizens so that they grow up segregated. It is not good for the children who grow up in an "us and them" culture; and in the very place where they should be learning about tolerance and respect. It is not good for faith - because it becomes tarnished by discrimination and is seen as divisive.
The 'Trojan Horse' plot in Birmingham - where some 25 schools have apparently been targeted for takeover by Islamic extremists - is yet another instance of the problems now rising as a consequence of Britain supposedly being a multifaith society; a view shared by all the three main political parties...
It is this debate that secularists, both religious and otherwise, are fighting for. The movement doesn't aim to destroy or dismantle religion, but to create a society where no one group is granted special privilege or power. A society which ensures that all beliefs are protected and welcomed equally. But this debate can only be had once you stop using "secularism" as a slur.