Humanists still not included in Cenotaph ceremony

By agency reporter
November 15, 2010

For the first time humanist representatives laid wreaths at the official Remembrance Sunday commemorations in Edinburgh and Belfast this year.

However, a request from the British Humanist Association (BHA) for armed forces humanists to be included at the Cenotaph in London was again refused.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport dismissed the BHA’s request, citing ‘limited space at the Cenotaph’ and a need to receive permission from the Royal Household as reasons to continue the exclusion of representatives of humanist servicemen and women.

In its response, the government stated that it had invited ‘fourteen faith leaders’ to participate, and was working closely with the ‘Faiths Unit’ at the Department for Communities and Local Government to ensure ‘faith representation’ at the ceremony.

By contrast, humanists in Scotland were issued with an invitation from the Royal British Legion Scotland to participate in the parade and lay a wreath on the stone of remembrance, humanists in Northern Ireland have been given permission to join with other representatives in the service being held in Belfast, and in at least nine areas in England, local humanist groups will be participating in remembrance events.

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented: "It is welcome that, for the first time, humanists in Scotland and Northern Ireland will be included in official ceremonies on Remembrance Sunday. But it is disappointing that humanists have again been rejected from the Cenotaph."


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