About SASS

The South African Secular Society (SASS) is a community that strives to develop and promote equal religious rights from a humanistic, natural perspective/worldview.

Mission

The Aims and Objectives of the Society are:-

  1. to support and further the cause of secularism and a naturalistic worldview;
  2. to campaign on secular issues;
  3. to hold events to promote secularism;
  4. to challenge religious privilege in the public space;
  5. to educate the general public about secularism
  6. to support the non-religious community in South Africa
  7. to support the Secular Charter as a matter of policy

The Society may affiliate to any other organisation having similar Aims and Objectives and on such terms and conditions as approved by a majority of the Executive Committee.

Vision

SASS envisions a world in which public policy is made using the best evidence we have rather than religious dogma and where religious beliefs are no longer seen as an excuse for bigotry or cause to receive special treatment from the government. We fight for religious equality for all South Africans by protecting the “wall of separation” between state and church created by the First Amendment. We strive to create an environment where atheism and atheists are accepted as members of our nation’s communities and where casual bigotry against our community is seen as abhorrent and unacceptable. We promote understanding of atheists through education, outreach, and community building and work to end the stigma associated with being an atheist in South Africa. We aim to make the road to authenticity, openness, and honesty about the things we believe and don’t believe easier for the next person who travels it by being outspoken about our atheism and by ensuring that the voices of atheists are always heard in communities throughout the nation, in politics, and in the media. By working with coalition partners within the atheist movement and across the political spectrum where can find common ground, South African Atheists fights to improve public policy for all South Africans, protect real religious freedom by defending the wall of separation between religion and government, and promote the acceptance and understanding of atheists. By using every tool available to us, including our nation’s legal system, political advocacy, and outreach campaigns, South African Atheists works to advance atheism in the country and abroad.

The Secular Charter

We campaign for a secular state, a state in which:

  1. there is no established state religion;
  2. there is one law for all and its application is not hindered or replaced by religious codes or processes;
  3. there is no privileged position in society or advantage in law for any individual or group by virtue of their religion or belief, or lack of religion (whether the latter is atheism, agnosticism, non-theism, Humanism or the like);
  4. freedom of expression is not restricted by religious considerations;
  5. neither the state, nor any emanation of the state, expresses religious beliefs or preferences;
  6. religion plays no role in state-funded education, whether through religious affiliation, organised worship, religious instruction, pupil selection or employment discrimination;
  7. the state does not engage in, fund or promote religious activities or practices;

Principles

  1. Being faithful to the Republic of South Africa; honouring and abiding by its Constitution;
  2. Promoting the unity and wellbeing of those who comprise the South African nation;
  3. Being responsive to the needs and welfare of the people of South Africa;
  4. Respecting the rights, culture and dignity of all people within the framework of the Bill of Rights, as enshrined in the South African Constitution; enhancing race and gender equality (adhering to the spirit of ‘ubuntu’);
  5. Ensuring that there is no discrimination against any member of the public on account of race, gender, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, political persuasion, conscience, belief, culture or language;
  6. Acknowledging that every human being has a unique value and potential, irrespective of origin, disability, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, beliefs, socio-economic and legal status;
  7. Believing in the dignity, equality and worth of all South Africans, and in a fair and just society that protects and enhances the wellbeing of all its citizens; reflecting this
  8. wherever possible in the composition of its leadership, staff and volunteers;
  9. Supporting a participatory democracy;
  10. Co-operating, collaborating and networking with other organisations around issues of mutual concern;
  11. Applying people-centred development;
  12. Promoting voluntarism at all levels;
  13. Treating other organisations courteously and respectfully at all times;
  14. Ensuring the organisation remains true to its mission and objectives;
  15. Ensuring that the organisation presents itself, its policies and its programme in a positive light to the public, regardless of personal feelings or beliefs;
  16. Ensuring that the organisation is approachable, helpful and accessible in its relationships with beneficiaries, who are expecting high standards of service;
  17. Striving towards the provision of an excellent, efficient and effective service at all times;
  18. Being mindful of the circumstances and concerns of the beneficiaries when making decisions that affect them;
  19. Ensuring that the organisation has honest and open relationship with its supporters;
  20. Ensuring that the members serve the organisation in an unbiased and impartial manner, setting aside personal interests and upholding its good name, in order to create confidence in the organisation and the nonprofit sector as a whole;
  21. Ensuring that the organisation forms associations only with organisations that adhere to similar principles.

History

  • The first Meetup was held on 8 June 2014 titled “Atheist Picnic – Our First Meet-up!”.
  • The message was: Hi potential new friends! I would like to schedule our first meet-up for Sunday, 8 June at Zoo Lake. What I have in mind is do a picnic. You can bring your own small snack/wine and a blankie :). We will be to the left of the parking lot at Moyo, across from the jungle gyms. Look out for a small blue umbrella – that’s us! Looking forward to meeting all of you! Please RSVP 🙂
  • SASS was founded on 26 October 2014 at Rick’s house,126 Kelvin Dr, Morningside, Sandton, 2057
  • The Constitution of the South African Secular Society was adopted at a meeting of the Executive Committee held in Randburg on 25 June 2016.
  • SASS was entered into the Department of Social Development’s registry as a NPO on 23 September 2016.  Certificate of registry and Covering Letter was only collected from 69 Thusanong Building, Commissioner Street, Johannesburg on 14 February 2017.
  • 2017-02-20: Opened SASS Bank Account
  • 2017-07-01: SASS’s Executive Committee & Executive Members unanimously voted on SASS becoming more Broad-based Involved (political) and for having paid membership.
  • 2018-07-01: SASS were officially allowed by the Department of Home Affairs to nominate individuals to become secular officiants.