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Vital to include non-religious voices in public discourse

The report “Greater number of S’poreans not identifying with any religion” (March 10) stated that the proportion of these residents has increased to 18.5 per cent, making the group almost as large as Christians, and larger than Muslims or Hindus.

Mohd Hairol Salim

The report “Greater number of S’poreans not identifying with any religion” (March 10) stated that the proportion of these residents has increased to 18.5 per cent, making the group almost as large as Christians, and larger than Muslims or Hindus.

Whether these residents identify themselves as agnostics, atheists, humanists, freethinkers or the like, which the General Household Survey 2015 does not state, this group should be properly represented in public discourse. As our demographics evolve, so too must the rigour and cycle of our law- and policymaking.

It has been no surprise that many of our public policies have been shaped after allowing for the views and interests of the main religious groups here, despite the secular state of our nation.

Now, we are at a stage where sensitive issues such as abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage could be raised and would need to be discussed openly and extensively.

Therefore, in the interest of our diverse, inclusive and mature society, it is important that this group of non-religious residents are given equal weight in critical decision-making processes.

Given the impact certain policy changes would have, it would be careless and intolerant of us if we exclude the voices of nearly one-fifth of our population in our conversations.

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