Author: Margaret

Warning: young children given books containing graphic violence

This is a letter in this week’s National Secular Society e-news:

We have a 4 year old son who has just started attending our local non-denominational community School. Last week, along with the rest of his year-group he was presented with an illustrated children’s Bible.

We were given the option to opt-out of this but did not exercise this because we didn’t want our son to feel excluded and trusted the school that the book would be age-appropriate. It was not and our son ended up in tears over the violent illustrations of the crucifixion.

Many other parents were unhappy and we personally are complaining to the school. We have subsequently found out that he Bible’s distribution and funding was carried out by a Charity – Bibles for Children. According to their website they are active in hundreds of primary schools across the country (there is a list in their annual report). We would like to warn other members with children who may be targeted by these people and who might want to take action against these people either on principle or in order to prevent their kids being exposed to images of graphic violence.

Scouts and Guides’ promise to “love God” may be dropped

We’ve had emails from parents whose children want to join the Guides or Scouts, but have been shocked to find that they’re expected to make a promise to “love God”. Letters and emails to the association have failed, so far, to achieve any sort of compromise. Now, after persistent campaigning by the National Secular Society and the British Humanist Association, Girl Guides may no longer have to pledge to “love God” as part of their Guide promise. Presumably, this would apply to Scouts too. An increasing number of parents have complained that the current pledge discriminates against children who don’t have a religious faith. If they make the promise, they have to lie. Some have opted for the alternative organization, the Woodcraft Folk (which ignores religion) if there’s a branch in their area.

Today’s Telegraph reports,

… the association is considering reviewing the wording of its affirmation for new members, to remove religious references.

The move comes after parents complained it was unfair to exclude children who had not received a Christian upbringing.

Let’s dance

Let us read and let us dance – two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.

New Humanist Newsletter

Did you know that New Humanist magazine has an online newsletter? Click here to sign up. The latest edition features articles about ‘Atheist’ still being a dirty word in US politics, an atheist soldier’s thoughts on attending religious memorials to the fallen, the myth of Christian Europe, and a podcast. You can follow them on Twitter at @NewHumanist.

A Humanist Celebrant’s blog

Dead Interesting

From comments that have been made recently in online discussions and at meetings, it seems that some members and supporters don’t fully understand how the ceremonies that we provide relate to humanism in general. Someone wrote, “They’re just about making money”. This is my blog about death and funerals. It might help anyone who doesn’t understand why we do what we do, and it isn’t about making money; our fees have to cover all our expenses, as we’re not salaried like clergy.

Click here to read Dead Interesting.

A poem for Armistice Day

PoppyToday is Armistice Day. This is an extract from a recent humanist funeral ceremony; a poem chosen by a daughter for her father, who’d served in North Africa and Italy.

George Fraser Gallie wrote a number of poems whilst serving in Italy and North Africa with the Royal Engineers around 1943, when he was twenty-one. They’ve recently been discovered amongst his papers by his son. This is one – 

Operation Christmas Child – “racist & poisonous”

OCC logoIt’s Operation Christmas Child time again, when well-meaning people are encouraging their children to fill shoe boxes with gifts for needy children overseas. But Operation Christmas Child, run by the evangelical American organisation Samaritan’s Purse, has a destructive agenda. Please don’t support them. Click here to read about “Mad Missionaries and Toxic Gifts”.

The BHA has some suggestions for alternatives to Samaritan’s Purse – click here to see their website.

There is a Campaign against Operation Christmas Child, that describes OCC as “Racist & Poisonous”:

What most people don’t know is that the organisation behind it – Samaritans Purse – is run by that well known islamophobe Franklin Graham – who calls Islam “a very wicked and evil religion”. It’s the same group that rode with Israeli army convoys into Lebanon during Israel ‘s 1982 invasion, and again followed US troops in to Iraq to claim Muslims for Christ.

In 1990 they sent 30,000 arabic bibles for US troops to hand out to the defeated Iraqis – literally at gun point. In Afghanistan their 2003 report proudly declared that with help from the Canadian military; they got “MUSLIM children in the capital city of Kabul to celebrate Christmas for the first time”.

Their stated aim is the “advancement of the Christian faith through… the relief of poverty”. Christian leaders in the UK have condemned this version of Christianity as “racist” and “poisonous”. 

Their poison isn’t just directed at Muslims, they refer to Hindus as being “bound by Satan’s power” and were caught preying on Catholic earthquake victims in El Salvador in 2001- refusing them temporary homes provided by US AID unless they first attend a half hour evangelising “prayer” session. Afterwards Frankilin Graham gloated that in one village they converted 150 Catholics.

You can be sure that Samaritan’s Purse has an equally bigoted view of atheists.

Click here for an example of Samaritan’s Purse literature that’s delivered to children.

Continued > > >



November newsletter, with details of our new meetings venue

SH&S News Nov 2011Here’s our latest newsletter – click here to download it (pdf).

It contains detailed maps and directions to our new meetings venue at University Campus Suffolk, so keep it for future reference if you’re planning to come.

There’s also a blog post from Ghana, details of the Mayor of Ipswich’s Celebration of Community, and our programme for the next few months.