Category: TV and Video

TV reviews, issues and recommendations

The risks of being a freethinker where atheism is a capital offence

However much we may be annoyed by the activities of religious organisations in the UK, at least we’re free to express our opinions about religion and belief without fear of death, which isn’t the case for many atheists worldwide. Bob Churchill of the International Humanist & Ethical Union was interviewed on BBC World News about the Freethought Report, which showed the extent of discriminatiuon against atheists worldwide. The first report...

Coronation Street’s Humanist funeral

The TV funeral of Coronation Street character Hayley Cropper on Friday 31st January may bring back memories for the thousands of Suffolk and N E Essex families who’ve arranged something similar for a loved one. Since 1991, the Suffolk Humanist Ceremonies Team – David Mitchell from Pettaugh, Sue Hewlett from Stutton and Sophie Lovejoy from Brightlingsea – have helped Margaret Nelson from Elmsett, near Hadleigh, to meet increasing demand for...

On nothing, and on what Darwin did, apart from go on a sea voyage

If you didn’t come to our meeting on 9th July, you didn’t miss much. We were going to watch a video of a lecture by physicist Lawrence Krauss, about how everything comes from nothing, but unfortunately Denis’s laptop ate it. Instead, he found a video about Charles Darwin’s life story. Later, I was surprised to hear someone say that he hadn’t realised what Darwin had done, apart from his trip...

Douglas Adams – “We don’t have to save the world”

“We don’t have to save the world. The world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it.” — Douglas Adams, Speech at The University of California. If Douglas had lived, he’d have been 61 today. This is a speech he made in 2001, only days before his...

State-funded Steiner school opens in Frome – plans for a Suffolk Steiner school

Waldorf gnomesI think it’s fair to say that the British Humanist Association was a little slow to wake up to the threat of Steiner schools, while they concentrated their efforts on campaigning against more conventional faith schools. Since the Steiner philosophy is so woolly and many parents are fooled into thinking that it all sounds lovely, few others saw them as threat either. If parents want to send their kids to Steiner schools, where they’ll learn to be at one with Nature, why should we care? We should care because these schools are taking advantage of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s enthusiasm for free schools, a policy that has many critics, to claim public funds to run schools based on the teachings of a cult. For more information, use our search box (right) to see previous posts, including one I posted in July last year, which contains a link to our supporter Esther Fidler’s blog post on “anthroposophical education”.

The people behind the proposed Fullfledge Ecology School still hope to open their school in September next year, in the Woodbridge area. They say, “Our proposal has passed the first stage of approval and we are now on the second stage, which is an interview with the DFE. We are preparing for this now. Five members of the project team will represent Fullfledge Ecology School at the interview. The DFE will inform us ‘in the summer’ whether we have the final go ahead to start the school in September 2013.” Under the regulations on free schools, they are supposed to demonstrate that another school is needed in the area (that local schools are over-subscribed), but other free schools seem to have got round this requirement.

Need the loo?

Imagine not having a loo. Imagine having to find somewhere safe to squat out of doors because you don’t have access to a clean toilet. Hardly bears thinking about, does it?

Today is World Toilet Day, when Water Aid and other aid organisations focus attention on the fact that many people, including one in three women worldwide, do not have access to a toilet. Please watch this video and then sign the petition asking the UK Government to keep its promise to help those who need proper sanitation.

Click here to go to the Water Aid campaign website.

No religion, no conscience?

A couple of days ago it was reported that Moors murderer Ian Brady had given a sealed envelope to his mental health advocate that may or may not give details of where he’d left the body of his victim Keith Bennett, who was twelve. Today it was announced that Keith’s mother, Mrs Winnie Johnson, had died. Interviewing Mrs Johnson’s solicitor, John Ainley, on BBC News 24, weekend presenter Maxine Mawhinney asked if Brady was religious. Ainley said he wasn’t. Mawhinney said that this meant that Brady wouldn’t have a conscience about his crime or about withholding information about where Keith’s body might be found.

Should we be angry about this sort of thing? It’s the sort of casually judgemental comment that we hear all the time from religious people, but newsreaders ought to know better. A complaint is one its way.

Australian Girl Guides no longer have to pledge allegiance to God and the Queen

As you’ll see from yesterday’s comments on our blog post from last year about the Scout Association’s promise to “love God”, the issue is still topical here in the UK. Today there’s news from Australia that the Girl Guides there will no longer have to promise allegiance to God and the Queen, though Australian Scouts have yet to catch up.

The BBC reports:

Girl Guides in Australia will no longer have to pledge allegiance to the Queen and God and will instead promise to serve the community and Australia.

They will also pledge “to be true to myself and develop my beliefs”.

Leaders said the move, which follows a two-year survey of members, was designed to make Guiding more modern and relevant and boost membership.

So, if the Australians can do it, how about the British associations?


“All men can be husbands”

The Coalition for Equal Marriage‘s petition to support the introduction of same-sex civil marriage has passed 50,000 signatures. This video in support of equal marriage has been made with the support of the BHA, among others. Should mention that not all gay people want marriage. Some are perfectly happy with a civil partnership.