Hundreds gathered in central London today for the annual march and rally for a Secular Europe. The British Humanist Association (BHA), which is a sponsor of the campaign, has said it is ‘delighted’ to know that the many causes the rally promoted, including the removal of unfair religious privileges and support for LGBT, women’s and children’s rights across Europe, is as important to so many people.
Andrew Copson, BHA Chief Executive, addressed the rally. He said: ‘We are marching today for a secular Europe. Europe is the continent where secularism was invented, where liberal democracy first flowered, and Europe played a major part in developing the very concept of human rights and we should celebrate that today… What does it mean to live in a free and liberal secular democracy? It means if you don’t like abortion, you don’t have to have one. If you don’t like gay marriage, you don’t have to have one, or be a guest at one. If you don’t like assisted dying for the terminally ill, you don’t have to opt for it. But it also means that you can’t enlist the state to force your choices, preferences, prejudices and dogmas on all your fellow citizens.
‘Secularism guarantees our freedom of conscience and our freedom of belief, humanist and religious alike. But all over Europe there are religious groups of all religions lobbying not just for the right to pursue their own vision of the good life as they see fit, which, if we do it without harming others is a freedom we all should enjoy, but working hard to impose their own values on us all.’
We are sure that the march has raised awareness of the need to address the many areas in which religious organisations have a privileged and detrimental influence in public life, infringing the rights of thousands of European citizens. It was an energising and inspiring day for all those who marched with us.
For further comment or information, contact Andrew Copson on 07534 248596.
Visit the Secular Europe Campaign website.
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.