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.
Monday's announcement by the Scout Association of a new alternative Promise to allow the non-religious to join is not an isolated event. Coming so soon after Girlguiding UK introduced a similar change to their Promise and the Air Cadets to theirs, it's starting to look like part of a trend - and a very welcome one for all who believe in inclusive social movements.
It will be tragic if community schools that currently serve their local population without discrimination and see themselves as the hub of local life are transformed into ones that serve one particular faith group only and exclude others - be it those of different faiths or no-belief system. Let faith be celebrated in the home or in church or at Sunday school or at summer camp, but school should be the place where the whole of society comes together and interacts.
If you were in a debate about the meaning of British identity or citizenship, one of the key values that would no doubt be highlighted is fairness. So you would expect fairness to apply especially to the educational system - but instead... it is absent in many state-funded schools which have a religious character.
The newly launched 'Fair Admissions Campaign' demands that all state-funded schools should be open to all children, regardless of their parents' religion. It claims that it is 'widely supported', but that seems to fly in the face of the very limited number and size of the groups who have formed the campaign.