As part of the British Humanist Association, Wales Humanists has a number of policies and campaigns on human rights and equality, public ethical issues, and achieving a secular state. At the moment, we are currently working on five core campaign areas:
Replacing mandatory religious collective worship with inclusive assemblies
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child have called for an end to compulsory worship and yet ‘broadly Christian’ collective worship is still a requirement in all state schools.
We want the requirement for collective worship to be repealed, and replaced by a requirement for inclusive assemblies, developing the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all pupils, without any discrimination on the grounds of religion or non-religious beliefs. You can help us improve the situation by ensuring that schools in your area have inclusive assemblies.
Seeing Humanism accorded equal status in the school curriculum
Successful Futures is the Welsh Government programme of curriculum reform. The purpose of the new curriculum is to support children and young people to be:
- Ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives.
- Enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work.
- Ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world.
- Healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.
To achieve this, it is vital that Humanism is offered equal status alongside religious beliefs. We are working with the curriculum reform stakeholder group and pioneer schools across Wales, providing teaching resources to help those designing a new curriculum.
We support making sex and relationships education (SRE) a statutory part of the curriculum, and believe that the religious character of a school should not deprive children of their entitlement to good SRE. We believe that this right is more important than any other consideration and consequently that any right of parental withdrawal of their child from these lessons should cease.
Equal access and funding for non-religious pastoral carers alongside chaplains or those offering spiritual support, throughout the NHS in Wales
Wales Humanists has trained a number of non-religious pastoral carers across Wales who are ready and willing to volunteer in hospitals and prisons. However, their inclusion in local ‘chaplaincy’ teams is at the discretion of the resident hospital chaplain.
We are also seeking to promote the change of name of prayer rooms in public institutions, to quiet rooms, so they are inclusive of all beliefs.We train and accredit humanist pastoral support volunteers to work in hospitals, prisons, and the armed forces. To find out more about this work, visit the Non-Religious Pastoral Care Network.
Legal recognition for humanist weddings
Humanist marriages have been legal in Scotland for over 10 years and are now the most popular form of ‘belief’ marriage in the country. In 2013, the Marriage Act included powers to give legal recognition to humanist weddings in England and Wales. Local councils in Wales are currently employing more registrars to cope with increased demand for non-religious ceremonies and yet Westminster have not moved forward with recognition of Humanist marriages in England and Wales.
Write to your MP and AM explaining that the existing marriage laws discriminate against humanists, and asking him/her to raise the matter with Ministers. Please copy any reply you get to the BHA.
If you would like to consider training as a BHA-accredited celebrant, details can be found on the Humanist Ceremonies website.
Legalisation of assisted dying
We have long supported attempts to legalise assisted dying, assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia across the UK, for those who have made a clear decision, free from coercion, to end their lives and who are physically unable to do so themselves. In many cases, the person in question will be terminally ill. However, we do not think that there is a strong moral case to limit assistance to terminally ill people alone and we wish to see reform of the law that would be responsive to the needs of other people who are permanently and incurably suffering.
You can write to your MP and ask him or her to support moves to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill and incurably suffering, or send a letter to the editor of a national or local newspaper. Our Take Action Toolkit has advice on how to go about this.