BHA welcomes support for Humanism from cabinet minister

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed support for Humanism from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (CLG) Rt Hon John Denham MP. Speaking tonight at a meeting of the Churches’ Inter-Religious Network at Methodist Church House, Mr Denham described himself as a humanist and spoke of the need to acknowledge shared values.

Andrew Copson, BHA Director of Education and Public Affairs, said, ‘It’s a good thing when people in the public eye identify themselves as humanists and make it clear that this is the source of their own positive values – that they are good without god. There is still a widespread erroneous assumption that to be moral and have values, you must be religious. We may disagree with much of what Mr Denham says in terms of the exaggerated importance he gives to religion as a motivating factor in society, but it is very welcome that he should make it clear that morality is non-religious for many people in Britain today.’

Mr Copson continued, ‘It is also important that Mr Denham immediately quashed any suggestion of there being a government or state “conspiracy” seeking to marginalise religion or religious believers, while making clear that it is not the role of Government to fund religion. We share his vision of a country where people are neither privileged nor discriminated against because of their religion or because they are humanists – that is the secular approach to society where all would have full enjoyment of the benefits of human rights, democracy, and equality before the law. As CLG minister, Mr Denham is responsible for engaging with both religious and non-religious groups, and we look forward to engaging with him on these issues.’

Notes

For further comment or information, contact Andrew Copson on 07534 248596 or 020 7079 3584.

The BHA has distinguished supporters from all three major parties – from Liberal Democrat Evan Harris MP to Conservative peer and former MP Tristan Garel-Jones, to Labour peer and former leader Neil Kinnock, and the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group has over 110 members from all three parties in the Commons and Lords. For more details, see http://www.humanism.org.uk/about

The British Humanist Association represents and supports the non-religious. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.