The Defence Humanists and British Humanist Association (BHA) object to the exclusion of humanists and other non-religious representatives at the national Remembrance Ceremony for no good reason. Arguments against having a remembrance ceremony that is inclusive are out of date, unrepresentative and discriminatory.
Out of date
The number of non-religious Armed Forces personnel has seen continual increase over the past decade. In addition, while Christianity remains the largest religious category that forces personnel identify with, significant proportions of that total probably identify themselves as such through perceived cultural or familial affiliation rather than because of their personal beliefs. Internet polls on major Army-related websites have noted that fewer than 20% of respondents identified themselves as having a strong affiliation to any religion.
A good indicator of this is the growth of Defence Humanists. Although a new organisation relative to its religious counterparts, Defence Humanists now numbers over 400 members. This is very likely an under-representation of its true potential but – even so – Defence Humanists at its current size outnumbers both Sikh and Jewish members of the Armed Forces – both of whom enjoy representation at the Cenotaph as a matter of course.
Humanist approaches for inclusion have been rejected repeatedly over the years.
There seems to be a prevailing belief among many in government that humanists and those with non-religious beliefs have no strong feelings about representation at ceremonies such as those of Remembrance. It is abundantly clear to Defence Humanists and the BHA that this is not the case. We are asking the government to treat those of those religion and humanists in a fair and equal manner.