A Xmas message to Prof Muller
Professor Dave Muller is Principal of Suffolk College, Ipswich.
For the past 2 or 3 years, the college has had a “Celebration of Community” in the summer term, with a procession through the town and a church service, involving the Mayor and other dignitaries.
We’ve been invited but haven’t attended because we don’t go to church – for obvious reasons. I’ve written to Prof. Muller a couple of times, explaining why we think it’s not a good idea to celebrate the community with a Christian service, and why we won’t join in, but so far he hasn’t replied. So this is what he’s getting with his Xmas card from Suffolk Humanists:
Professor Dave Muller
18 December 2006
Dear Professor Muller,
We wish you a happy and successful 2007, and hope that you might review your approach to the Civic Celebration event you’ll probably hold in the summer.
We haven’t previously participated because they’ve included Christian services, which had no relevance to us, nor to a significant proportion of your students and the local population.
The British Humanist Association (to which we’re affiliated) recently commissioned an Ipsos MORI poll about religious beliefs and attitudes, and found that 36% of the respondents were broadly Humanist in their outlook. They –
– feel that scientific & other evidence provides the best way to understand the universe (rather than feeling that religious beliefs are needed for a ‘complete understanding’);
– believe that ‘right and wrong’ can be explained by human nature alone, and does not necessarily require religious teachings.
– base their judgements of right and wrong on ‘the effects on people and the consequences for society and the world’.
In addition, 46% of the respondents thought that the government pays too much attention to ‘religious groups and leaders’.
A secular society is one where everyone is free to practise their faith, change it or not have one, according to their conscience. No one can be forced to believe or to have religious convictions. Please can you explain why a secular college and a secular local authority choose to celebrate the community with a religious event? While many in the local community are Christians, many are not. It’s possible to have a secular civic event that includes everyone, such as the event that was held at Ipswich Corn Exchange in 2002 to commemorate 9/11.