More opportunities for humanist voices in parliament
December 7th, 2011
In the coming week debates and discussions called by Christians in parliament provide good opportunities for humanist and other secularist parliamentarians to express their views on matters ranging from treatment of religious and non-religious minorities in the Middle East, to matters of abortion services.
There will be discussions on Christians in the Middle East, called by the Archbishop of Canterbury; on pregnancy counselling, called by Gavin Shuker MP, vice-chair of the all-party group for Christians in Parliament; and a move led by Conservative Peer Baroness O’Cathain to prevent liberal religious groups holding civil partnerships on their premises if they wish to.
BHA Head of Public Affairs Naomi Phillips commented, ‘In just the week coming up, there are key opportunities for parliamentarians to ensure that the humanist position is included. Debate on the treatment of Christians in the Middle East will raise wider issues concerning the need for secularism in the region as a prerequisite for true equality for all, including for minority religions and non-religious people. It will also be important that the majority, pro-choice voice is heard when issues of abortion are debated next week. And in terms of civil partnerships, we will continue to work with religious and LGBT people and organisations to promote equality, while at the same time leading the campaign for a truly equal marriage law for all, whether humanist or religious, gay or straight.’
Ms Phillips continued, ‘Every time there is an opportunity to get the secularist or specifically humanist voice heard on relevant matters, we work hard with MPs and Peers from across the Parties to make sure that parliamentarians are equipped with the information they need to promote equality and work against religious privilege and discrimination.’
For further comment or information, contact Naomi on 020 7079 3585.
The All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group is a cross-party group of Members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords of all three main parties, as well as members from the Crossbenches in the Lords. The Group has grown rapidly from its first beginnings in the 1960s; in 1996 it had 47 members and it now has over 100. Associate membership of the Group is also open to staff of MPs and peers and staff working for the House of Commons or House of Lords.
The Group is not affiliated to or part of the BHA, but the BHA does provide the secretariat for the Group. Read more at http://www.humanism.org.uk/about/apphg
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.