Humanists in the Armed Forces on Remembrance Day
It’s Armistice Day on Thursday, 11th November, when we remember British service personnel who’ve fought and died in the First World War and all the conflicts since. As usual, the contribution made by those who died without religion will largely be ignored at local remembrance ceremonies on Sunday, but this year it will be different in some British cities.
The UK Armed Forces Humanist Association has issued the following press release:
For the first time ever, Humanists will be included in the Remembrance Sunday service which will take place in Bedford, on the 14th November, and this year the wreath will be presented by David Brittain, who will not only be representing Humanists in Bedford, but also in his position as Humanist chaplain of the United Kingdom Armed Forces Humanist Association (UKAFHA).
â€œIt is of vital importance to the families of many service people, that in a ceremony which is fundamentally religious in nature, that the one in eight who are of no religion should specifically be remembered also. Everyone who fought and died for their country should be honoured, whatever their religion.â€
The wreath will carry the inscription: â€œFor those who gave their lives for us. We shall remember them. On behalf of Humanists in Bedfordshire and the United Kingdom armed Forces Humanist Association.â€ This is being repeated all over the UK, including capitals like Edinburgh and Belfast, and for the first time ever â€“ but not in London…
David Brittain commented that it was … â€œDisappointing indeed that the authorities have not yet agreed to let Humanists participate in London …â€ he continued, â€œ… Neither the bullet nor the bomb discriminates, so nor should our remembrance ceremony. We Humanists are not looking for the world, just a nod of recognition to the sacrifice made by those of no religion as well, is all we ask!â€
Footnote … Of the major religions which are recognised and represented, there are 690 Hindus, 600 Muslims, 120 Sikhs and 80 Jews in the British armed forces. To compare with those figures, there are 23,770 service people recorded as of no religion.