It has been a sore point that when remembering the fallen in the two world wars and others in the service of our country, those without faith are not represented to take part in the remembrance service at the Centopath in London whilst multiple faiths are.
As mentioned in 2007 on the blog this happened in Bradford:
The Remembrance Sunday service itself was – as you can imagine – very religious. Very is not the word; the whole thing was. About the only thing as a non-believer I could participate in without being a hypocrite was when saying “We will remember them”. The multi faith address for peace, god help the elected representatives was an attempt to show unity but listening revealed otherwise. Especially when the Islamic cleric called for us all to die as believers. There also seemed a bit of confusion with the speakers as to whether there was one community of Bradford, many communities that made up Bradford, or a wish to become one community that embraced one another.
Bradford has had it’s share of confusion and rioting. What can they do when communities mistrust one another and live socially segregated from one another? Religion poisons everything and we have to try and look beyond doctrines and embrace our common humanity. We believed that multiculturalism (that of living separately in a city) would lead to social stability. That has not worked – instead we need to break down the barriers. There will be people on all sides resentful and many will invoke religion and tradition to stop it – we must not let these voices of separation and hate win. Look around the world to see how the separation never removes the hate and mistrust which waits for a time to boil over.
From the blog Remembrance Sunday in Bradford
It would be a terrific gesture, and be more inclusive for a national day of remembrance, that those without faith could feel included as well. There needs to be a positive civic version of atheism rather than the supposed godless means apathetic that some might want to believe. That requires playing a part in civic ceremonies but also with civic activism.
Rather than just wanting to muscle in, humanist groups do play a positive role helping out veterans.
Professor Anthony Grayling is proud to be patron of the United Kingdom Armed Forces Humanists Association:
Humanism is an ethics of fellowship. Among those who work and serve together it is about loyalty, service, self-sacrifice and commitment. It is about the mutual trust that forges the strong and enduring bonds of comradeship that underlie our duty to one another and our community.
Humanism crosses all barriers that other outlooks put up between people. It is an ethics premised on our shared humanity, and therefore with generosity and comradeliness brings us closer together. Without dogmas but with a profound belief in our duty to our fellows, it unites rather than divides, and strengthens us all.
A last point: whoever ends up representing humanism should really have done something for veterans or in the service of our country rather than just be a spokesperson for a humanist society.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog