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Parents don’t necessarily choose faith schools for their religion

Ekklesia reports on the results of a YouGov poll commissioned by ITV at around the time of the Pope’s visit. They show that a school’s religion doesn’t necessarily come top of their priority list.

Factors such as performance of the school, how easy it is to get into, the area the school is in, curriculum (which may of course have a religious influence), class sizes and facilities all seem to have been more important for parents.

New Secular Charter from the National Secular Society

The NSS Council has devised a new Secular Charter that seeks to be fair to everyone, to be achievable and to be benign. Seems good to me.

The Society promotes the separation of religion and state where law and the administration of justice are based on equality, respect for Human Rights and objective evidence without regard to religious doctrine or belief.

Christopher Hitchens and the atheist Nazis myth

With reference to my last post about the Pope and his repetition of the atheism=Nazism lie, here’s Christopher Hitchens. He begins by saying, “Atheism is not a moral or political position of any kind,” which of course it isn’t. Yes, there are some nasty atheists, but Hitler wasn’t one of them. He was just nasty.

The Pope in Spain – more insults and lies

The Pope started his visit to Spain in much the same way that he greeted the UK; by blaming just about everything he disliked on atheists and rewriting Spanish history. Prime Minister Zapatero was more forthright in response, it seems, than our Prime Minister. The NSS reports,

The Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero reminded the Pope last week that Spain is a secular state after the pontiff attacked Government legislation on abortion, gay marriage and divorce.

Inclusive Remembrance Day event in Norfolk

Norfolk Fire Service’s chief fire officer Nigel Williams has arranged a secular Remembrance Day event this year, to avoid the exclusion of some staff members. This quote amused me:

The Ven Jan McFarlane, from the Diocese of Norwich, said: “We often hear that we’re a ‘secular society’ – but attendance at Remembrance Services today and on Sunday, and the numbers who turn to the church at times of significant national events would suggest otherwise.

Could it be, Ven. McFarlane, that people attend Remembrance services and those held for “significant national events” because there’s no alternative? A significant proportion of those who attend such services aren’t believers but go through the motions because they want to share the commemoration of something important. Give people the choice of an inclusive event, and you may see even more people attending.

Ipswich Skeptics in the Pub – Open Talk Night – Music

We’re told:

In our last event before Christmas, the theme is Music. Mark Aaron will talk about online activism in the context of saving BBC 6 music, and John Benton will talk about common logical fallacies regarding hifi equipment.

You’ll find ISP in the green room at the back of McGinty’s.

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).

“It 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.”

Equal Love

Equal LoveEqual Love is about a legal bid to overturn the twin bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships in the United Kingdom. They say, why shouldn’t heterosexual couples have civil partnerships, and homosexual couples get married?

We heard about this via the BHA’s regular e-bulletin. If you’d like to sign up for one in your inbox, click here.