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Remembrance Day

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Vicky
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Joined: August 30th, 2010, 9:48 am

Remembrance Day

#1 Post by Vicky » September 7th, 2010, 8:30 am

Am I alone in wishing that Remembrance day could be marked with secular rather than religious ceremonies? I believe it is right that we remember those who have died in wars around the world, as it is important to keep reminding ourselves how awful war is, but don't want to attend a service in a church, or with religious leaders and prayers round a war memorial.

Are there any places where secular Armistice gatherings take place? Here in the Isle of Man I haven't come across any.

Vicky

(Please move this post if it's in the wrong forum, I'm still trying to find my way round!)

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jaywhat
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Joined: July 5th, 2007, 5:53 pm

Re: Remembrance Day

#2 Post by jaywhat » September 7th, 2010, 8:56 am

Good question, Vicky - and I think you will find a lot of agreement here.
One way to find out what has been posted before is to go to the top right hand of the page and click on 'search' and type in 'remembrance'. That will take you to a few places where we said stuff about it - such as Bideford in Devon.

Mike
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Joined: December 13th, 2009, 12:58 pm

Re: Remembrance Day

#3 Post by Mike » September 7th, 2010, 11:52 pm

As a retired serviceman November 11th is a day that I always want to remember and always want to be a part of, but the religious overtones really do make me feel uncomfortable. I for one would welcome a non-religious approach or, maybe as a compromise, I could go with an all inclusive approach.

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Alan C.
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Remembrance Day

#4 Post by Alan C. » September 8th, 2010, 1:11 pm

A retired serviceman had this letter in the Shetland post so you're not alone Mike.
For many years the ceremony in Lerwick has run along similar lines to the example given above. The obvious exception is that after the ceremony and brief service at the War Memorial, the parade marches to the Muckle Kirk, for another (longer) service. At the conclusion of this, the parade marches back along the Hillhead, march past the Lord Lieutenant, then dismiss.

It appears to me that “We’ve aye paraded and marched to the Kirk, so that’s what we’ll aye do”. Nevertheless, I think the extended marching and second service are both unwanted and unwelcome.

Veterans say, “We have a service at the Hillhead and that’s enough”. Elements of clergy and congregation have made it clear that “Parading Banners and uniforms in the Kirk just glorify war and are inappropriate”.

The lack of understanding for the occasion has caused many veterans to feel unwelcome in the Kirk on that day. There have also been sermons with an anti-military theme, which fail to show compassion for such an event.

Why don’t the organisers of the Lerwick parade accept the nationally accepted format and hold a simple parade at the Hillhead War Memorial - a brief act of remembrance with wreath-laying, and march past?

Or they could relinquish control to The Royal British Legion (Scotland), custodians of Remembrance, who could do the job properly.

Richard Hamilton
Maj (Retd)
Sandwick
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

tubataxidriver
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Re: Remembrance Day

#5 Post by tubataxidriver » September 9th, 2010, 9:14 pm

In Milton Keynes the local Humanists attend the event at the local war memorial alongside the religions, councillors, British Legion, Scouts and Guides etc. and lay a wreath just like the other groups. This is partly to make the point that non-theists have feelings about war and its victims too, and also to be seen as part of wider civic society. There were no problems raised and many people there were pleased to see the Humanists present.

See: MK Humanists web-page on Remembrance Day

Fia
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Re: Remembrance Day

#6 Post by Fia » September 9th, 2010, 9:38 pm

Well done MK Humanists :clap:

I know of a couple of Humanist Celebrants who are part of their local ceremonies.

Although a big part of me likes the idea of a wholly secularist Armistice gathering, I also think it's a time for all to gather to reflect on the horrors of war. So I'd just like to shift the focus on people, and leave god/s, who have clearly done fuck all to address this, out of it :D

And then, of course, there's the poppy issue. I do red and white, which, living in a rural community gives me ample time to discuss these issues in the co-op queue :wink:

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bobb
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Re: Remembrance Day

#7 Post by bobb » October 6th, 2010, 11:09 am

I'm ex-RAF, and my son is currently serving with a Tornado squadron in Afghanistan, so like others on this thread, I do like to mark remembrance day. I tend to do it on my own, and I often watch the cenotaph service on TV. If nothing else, religion does do Solemn very well, and the tone seems appropriate. I find I can ignore the religious content and concentrate on the old soldiers who are there, and those I served with in the past.

I agree it would be good if humanists could be represented at remembrance day services - I must find out what happens here in Leeds - hadn't really thought about it until now. Good thread, Vicky.

Nick
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Re: Remembrance Day

#8 Post by Nick » October 6th, 2010, 1:54 pm

I too usually watch, and am very moved by, the remembrance ceremony at the Cenetaph. I find the intervention of the Bishop of London infuriating, (and even more some at the Albert Hall in the evening) but there is no possibility of keeping him out of it, so I'm not going to waste my time. What I would like to see, however, is a wreath laid alongside the religious ones, to represent those of no faith. Some sort of equality and representation seems very fair to me. I have in the past made contributions to the Legion in memory of maternal grandfather, who served in the Royal Artillery in The Great War and as an ARP warden in the Second World War, on his birthday (16th June), so I think it reasonable to ask them for inclusion.

It would be nice if the BHA also held it as a policy. Much more appropriate than wanting a bank holiday for Darwin's birthday. It's the wrong time of year, and frankly, not a good enough reason.

jamesjones950
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Re: Remembrance Day

#9 Post by jamesjones950 » October 6th, 2010, 7:42 pm

I agree wholeheartedly, Nick. The BHA should be making much more of this.

I get steamed up with all the religion that I see as "interfering" in Remembrance Day. Hypocrisy is rife. They preach "turning the other cheek", and "peace on earth", and "goodwill to all men", but still want us to think that their God takes sides, specifically "our" side.
Well, funnily enough, so do all our enemies think that God is on their side.

I was president of a small-town (not Harrogate) chamber of trade for a couple of years, and was expected to take part in various ceremonies, like Remembrance Day, and the annual multi-denominational carol service set around the town hall. Thank goodness for vice-presidents is all I'll say.
a "New Atheist" for the last 55 years

Fia
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Re: Remembrance Day

#10 Post by Fia » October 6th, 2010, 8:33 pm

The Edinburgh group of the HSS have recently gained permission (I guess you do have to?) from the Legion to lay a wreath at this years Remembrance day. Good on them. The following might also be useful:

http://www.armedforceshumanists.org.uk
The United Kingdom Armed Forces Humanist Association (UKAFHA) is campaigning for the rights of all non-religious service personnel to be remembered for the sacrifices they make, and if your Group plans to lay a wreath as part of the Remembrance Day ceremonies in 2010, we ask you to include in your respects the following phrase in your wreath:

"... and also on behalf of the United Kingdom Armed Forces Humanist Association. For those who gave their lives for us. We will remember them".

... If you do decide to put this on your wreath, please advise UKAFHAs Chaplain, David Brittain, who can be contacted on davidbrittain13@hotmail.com. He will place the name of your group in a “roll of Humanist solidarity” with all those personnel in the Armed Forces who happen to be non-religious. The roll will be listed in UKAFHA’s November newsletter - which is sent to every member.

It will mean much to them, and will act as a reminder to all that the sacrifices Humanists make in the field of battle will be remembered too.

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bobb
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Re: Remembrance Day

#11 Post by bobb » October 7th, 2010, 8:35 am

A 'humanist chaplain' is an interesting concept. Presumably he/she operates a bit like a humanist celebrant, but in a pastoral role?

Nick
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Re: Remembrance Day

#12 Post by Nick » October 7th, 2010, 11:28 am

Bob Dylan had something to say about "God on Our Side"...

Beautifully sung here by the incomparable Joan Baez. Not the most cheerful tune though.

"With God On Our Side"

Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I's taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And the land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.

The Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I's made to memorize
With guns on their hands
And God on their side.

The First World War, boys
It came and it went
The reason for fighting
I never did get
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the dead
When God's on your side.

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And then we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

I've learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war comes
It's them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.

In a many dark hour
I've been thinkin' about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can't think for you
You'll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God's on our side
He'll stop the next war.

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Alan C.
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Re: Remembrance Day

#13 Post by Alan C. » October 10th, 2010, 10:26 am

Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
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Re: Remembrance Day

#14 Post by Alan H » October 10th, 2010, 11:07 am

Excellent work by Marilyn Jackson.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan C.
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Re: Remembrance Day

#15 Post by Alan C. » October 15th, 2010, 2:36 pm

A letter in today' Scotsman
I WOULD have agreed with Jim Carson (Letters, October 13) if he had suggested simply removing any religious element from Remembrance Day parades, but absorbing a rival atheist group into them devalues the national nature of the occasion.
As a formal organisation, the Scottish Humanist Society can represent only its own registered members; they have no mandate to speak for other atheists, who may well disagree with this idea.

At the time of the two remembered world wars, the monarch's position as head of the Christian church established the religious nature of the ceremony. I believe it would be more acceptable for either the monarch or the prime minister to deliver a eulogy with no reference to God.

ROBERT DOW
I don't understand what he means by.
but absorbing a rival atheist group into them devalues the national nature of the occasion.
:puzzled:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Nick
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Re: Remembrance Day

#16 Post by Nick » October 15th, 2010, 3:27 pm

Thanks for posting that Alan. The responses are by turns exasperating and amusing, but sadly the quality of debate is low. I was however taken by a couple of the posters' names: "Mac the naif" and especially "wayne bijlyeerheid" :laughter:
I WOULD have agreed with Jim Carson (Letters, October 13) if he had suggested simply removing any religious element from Remembrance Day parades, but absorbing a rival atheist group into them devalues the national nature of the occasion.
Nonsense. It no more devalues the occasion than having religious leaders present does. If the religious are to be represented (and it would be unreasonable to deny them that) then so should the (very numerous) non-religious.
As a formal organisation, the Scottish Humanist Society can represent only its own registered members; they have no mandate to speak for other atheists, who may well disagree with this idea.
Twaddle. On that basis only registered members of faith groups are represented, thus eliminating the majority of Scots. (Baptism doesn't count as a current membership list, as the vast majority haven't paid their subs for years.)
At the time of the two remembered world wars, the monarch's position as head of the Christian church established the religious nature of the ceremony.
No it doesn't. That is the role of the Bishop of London.
I believe it would be more acceptable for either the monarch or the prime minister to deliver a eulogy with no reference to God.
Maybe, but how on earth does that follow from anything you've written?

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Alan C.
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Re: Remembrance Day

#17 Post by Alan C. » October 15th, 2010, 5:10 pm

Nick
The responses are by turns exasperating and amusing, but sadly the quality of debate is low.
I read the Scotsman every morning (don't know why,) note the comma it's so biased in favour of Catholicism it's unreal, comments aren't usually allowed on any article to do with the Catholic Church.

As for the commenters...........Mostly a bunch of numpties,
I rarely read the comments unless there are just a few, as it normally turns into a flaming session between two or three posters.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

jamesjones950
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Re: Remembrance Day

#18 Post by jamesjones950 » October 15th, 2010, 7:47 pm

I love the word "numpties", which is, I think, particularly Scottish.

May I have permission to promote its use here in Yorkshire?

(If you say "No", you're a numptie!)
a "New Atheist" for the last 55 years

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Alan C.
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Re: Remembrance Day

#19 Post by Alan C. » October 15th, 2010, 9:02 pm

jamesjones950 wrote:I love the word "numpties", which is, I think, particularly Scottish.

May I have permission to promote its use here in Yorkshire?

(If you say "No", you're a numptie!)
Absolutely James! I am Cumbrian and I use it all the time, please feel free. :smile:

The Shetland word for numptie/idiot, is Dereeshion.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Fia
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Re: Remembrance Day

#20 Post by Fia » October 15th, 2010, 9:57 pm

Some Humanists in Belfast have apparently just gained permission from the Lord Mayor to include a delegation of Humanists in their ceremony this year. Sorry no links, as I have this from a private email. Well done them, and Marilyn Jackson who has been supporting them. Let's hope this burgeons....

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