Non-religious people in Britain face discrimination in all sorts of ways, but relatively few know what exactly it’s like for people who’ve left behind a conservative religious ideology -- all too often, people like us face rejection, victimisation, and abuse. ‘Apostates’ (as they call us) are left severely ostracised and without anywhere to turn for support.
My friend Imtiaz Shams and I set up Faith to Faithless in 2015 to draw attention to the discrimination faced in ex-religious ‘minorities within minorities’ and give the faithless a platform to come out in public and speak out against it. Since then we’ve helped countless ex-Muslims, ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, ex-Mormons and others to find a voice, speak out, and support one another.
But we know we have to do more -- and we have big ambitions for the future of Faith to Faithless.
We’re now a part of the British Humanist Association, the UK charity which supports the non-religious to live confident, ethical, and fulfilling lives. This is a huge opportunity for us to advance what we do and reach out to donors who'll support us to grow and offer direct support to ex-religious people and ‘apostates’.
For example, your donation could help us to train people working in frontline institutions across the UK to better understand the kinds of suffering and hardship - financial, social, and emotional - which ex-religious people from devout communities face every day.
It could help us to expand our awareness-raising programme with new resources and a range of events around the UK and shared online which could give more non-religious people the courage and conviction to ‘come out’, even if they fear they will be abused, victimised, or thrown out of their homes.
And it could allow us to start developing the support we offer in new ways. For example, through the development of encrypted facilities for peer support, cross-training with the BHA’s non-religious pastoral care programme, and, if we go far enough beyond our £10,000 target, even a hotline for people to ring when they’re in desperate need of support.
Ex-Muslims, ex-Charedi Jews, ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, ex-Mormons… all these groups and more often face severe consequences when they announce their decision to leave behind the religion they were born in.
But leaving a religion is a human right, and it’s not enough to just protest in support of it. We have to support people to lead fulfilling lives that they’re in control of. We can give people the confidence to go out there and decide for themselves what they do and don’t believe in, without fear of repercussion.
We’re at the beginning of our journey but £10,000 will get us well on our way to becoming a full national service helping ex-religious people in dire need of support and understanding. Please donate generously.
P.S. All funds raised will be kept in a restricted pot for use for Faith to Faithless, and if we go over our £10,000 target, any funds raised will be used to further support education about non-religious worldviews and pastoral support for the non-religious in the UK. So please, donate generously. Thank you!