Hope in the midst of division

The important role Humanists play advocating progressive secular policies across party political lines is examined in Barking & Dagenham Post opinion piece (28.8.19).

This summer I had the privilege of attending a parliamentary reception for Humanists UK.  It was a reminder of how much more there is to politics than Brexit.  It was hosted by Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group, Tory MP Crispin Blunt. I also spotted Dame Joan Bakewell, long-standing media personality, now a Labour peer. The Group comprises over 100 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum. Members have common cause striving for a secular world of compassion, respect and reason where everyone is equal under the law, whatever their ethnicity, sexuality, religion or belief.

Unity for good among people with such diverse political convictions gives hope in a country quagmired and divided by Brexit, on which incidentally Crispin and Dame Joan strongly disagree. The reception celebrated advances Humanists have made over the last year, and reviewed challenges that lie ahead.

Humanists wait with interest to see how Johnson’s Government, assuming it survives, addresses  issues on which we have been campaigning. It is clearly very different from that of May. A vicar’s daughter, she made no secret of the role faith played in her politics.

Under May’s watch divisive religious schools continued to proliferate. The response to homophobic demonstrations against equality education in schools was feeble. And legal recognition of Humanist marriages in England was blocked. In Scotland, where they have been recognised since 2005, they now outnumber those of all other belief groups.  Surely a fair Government, of whichever hue, must allow the same rights here?

Paul Kaufman
Chair East London Humanists

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