Secularism must include views of both religious and non-religious

It is clear that Singapore's model of secularism does not seek to shut out religious views (Secularism does not mean shutting out religious rhetoric altogether, by Mr Clement Wee; May 5, and Upholding S'pore's unique brand of secularism, Mr S. Ratnakumar; May 9).

On the contrary, it accommodates and integrates religious perspectives. In doing so, we maintain religious harmony.

It is certainly a good thing that the views of different religious groups are acknowledged and engaged.

However, it is important to remember not to leave out one important group: the non-religious.

In the Department of Statistics' General Household Survey 2015, it was found that the non-religious make up about 18.5 per cent of the resident population.

This does not include those who are only nominally religious but are not practising.

This means that a significant number of Singaporeans expressly have no religious affiliation.

Even though they do not follow any religious doctrine, the non-religious do have opinions on issues. We ought to take these opinions into account, alongside the opinions of those who are more religious.

A secular society places the perspectives of the non-religious on the same footing as the views of the religious.

Jackson Lee Eng Ho

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2018, with the headline 'Secularism must include views of both religious and non-religious'. Print Edition | Subscribe