How to help ensure that Humanists retain a voice in parliament after June 2017
Should Humanists have the same rights as the followers of religion? There is still a long way to go before this happens, but there are a few voices in Parliament, formerly led by Julian Huppert, who are determined that the subject will not quietly disappear, as the government seems to hope it will.
The move to recognise Humanist weddings is a case in point. These are of course legal in Scotland, and have become very popular there, as they are in Australia, Canada, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and parts of the USA. However, the government has denied legal recognition for Humanist marriages, in defiance of a public consultation. As has been widely reported, this was for purely political reasons, as the subject would distract from Conservative electioneering.
That the issue even reached a public consultation is down to the likes of Julian Huppert, according to the British Humanist Association. Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the BHA, has congratulated Julian for his work, including being the first MP to raise an amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill going through Parliament, which has left the door open for legal recognition of humanist marriage. Most recently, an Early Day Motion from Julian Huppert gained widespread support and continues to keep up the pressure.
Encouraging noises are now being made from politicians of all parties about the issue, but equal rights in marriage is just one of many aspects of Humanism which needs representation in parliament. The All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group, of which Julian was vice-chair, will be key to any progress. Above all, there's a need for a voice to respond to the sort of MPs who have claimed that "militant secularisation" should be opposed as a threat to religion, and who are fighting for Christianity to be "restored to the centre of public life". We cannot risk there being no voice in parliament to counter these arguments.
Yes, there is, whether you're an individual or an organisation, and whether you're in Cambridge or not. Most important of all is encouraging people to vote for Julian Huppert. Even if you're not in Cambridge, you may know people who are.
Remind them that despite what the media would have us believe, we're not voting for the next prime minister, we're voting for our local MP. The desire to support Humanist ideas won't need any explanation, but not everyone realises the importance of Julian Huppert's Election to ensuring these ideas continue to be heard.
Email friends and colleagues a link to this page, or tweet a link to it. Share this page on Facebook. Or link to some of the articles referenced here. You could even blog about the subject. This transcends party politics and is about the future of Humanism. Every message and every conversation helps - yours as much as anyone's.