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Funeral settings should be more inclusive of all religions and beliefs, says Government

Humanists UK has welcomed a new Government report which recommends that funeral settings such as crematoria be suitable for all members of the community including those without religious beliefs.

In its response to the Crematoria Provision and Facilities Review, the Government recommended that crematoria in England should be equipped to provide both religious and non-religious ceremonies by having interchangeable iconography that can be removed if the funeral is non-religious, or for another religious type.

In England, many crematoria have fixed Christian symbols including crosses on walls, images in stained glass windows, and Christian symbols on the catafalque. Many also have hymn books placed on seats which is inappropriate for many funerals, especially when the funeral is a humanist one, or refer to their spaces as ‘chapels’.

Humanists UK, which provides non-religious ceremonies including funerals, weddings, and namings, has welcomed the Government’s steps to ensure funeral settings are more inclusive of all religions and beliefs.

Humanists UK’s Head of Ceremonies Isabel Russo said: ‘It is not reflective of modern Britain to have crematoria with such Christian symbolism. Most people in Britain aren’t Christian.

‘The Government’s move to provide more inclusive spaces for funerals is a positive step forward and will certainly make it easier for our own celebrants to provide humanist funerals for their clients which are in accordance with their loved ones’ beliefs.’

Humanists UK will be responding to the next stage of the Government’s consultation.

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For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Press Manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at casey@humanism.org.uk or phone 020 7324 3078.

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

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