West Sussex County Council

Activities of the BHA local development volunteers.

Moderator: Andrew Edmondson

West Sussex County Council

Postby aedwests_human » Tue 11 Mar, 2008 8:26 pm

Local development volunteer Andrew Edmondson attended the WSCC Workshop for Faith Group members in Horsham.

We were asked to comment on aspects of Quality, Value and Choice across a range of community services within West Sussex. Interestingly, religion was the one topic that wasn't mentioned by anyone at the meeting! This was noted at the end of the meeting, and will be rectified at the next workshop in Summer.

We ended the workshop with some group roleplay: a local meeting to discuss the provision of a new community centre in Crawley. This was interesting and worthwhile.

It was a good opportunity to meet with local representatives and interested residents.

A summary can be found here: http://www.MidSussexFreethinkers.org.uk ... bruary.htm
aedwests_human
 

Postby aedwests_human » Tue 08 Jul, 2008 2:42 pm

I have just completed an online follow-up to the previous consultation.

This involved watching a short presentation from the leader of WSCC, followed by questions related to the video.

Many of the questions were contrived so that they could only be answered in the affirmative. This was an inefficient use of public money, in my opinion.

At the previous consultation, we we promised a summer meeting where matters of religion could be discussed (as they were avoided at the first meeting). I made a comment about this in the online survey and will follow this up with an email.
aedwests_human
 

Postby aedwests_human » Mon 24 Nov, 2008 9:11 pm

Here is a link to West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service's Faith and Diversity Guide, which now has an entry for Humanism:

http://www.midsussexfreethinkers.org.uk ... yGuide.pdf
aedwests_human
 

Re: West Sussex County Council

Postby liquidsteam » Thu 01 Apr, 2010 7:40 pm

I'd been having some trouble signing the petition for Humanist representation on WSCC SACRE, it would not accept my Hotmail email, worked fine now using a different account just in case someone else runs into the same problem.
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Re: West Sussex County Council

Postby Andrew Edmondson » Fri 02 Apr, 2010 11:45 am

Thanks for letting me know. I've been having problems sending emails to Hotmail. I think they have some compatibility issues.

Thanks for signing the petition. It's going to take about 20 years to get 1000 signatures at this rate!

I've just sent off the 3rd and final set of complaints to WSCC. They have 21 days to reply. After that, the Equality and Human Rights Council will look at the case and decide if they wish to assist taking the matter to the County Court. If they do not, I shall probably use the BHA lawyers on a no win, no fee basis, with a protective order for costs (this will mean I will have to pay £1000 if I lose).
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Re: West Sussex County Council

Postby Rabbit » Sat 03 Apr, 2010 1:12 am

I was about to sign the petition until I saw the part which describes a lack of a religious faith as a "belief" and, having seen that, I'm afraid I can't sign. I do not feel comfortable with the concept. I do not have "a belief" that there is no sky-pixie watching over our lives; I know for a fact that there is no evidence of one being there. It is because there is no evidence that religious people are said to have a "faith". Not believing is not a belief.

I expect this is a matter which has been discussed within the Humanist community before. Perhaps you will think that my personal opinion on this matter is an indication that it would not be appropriate for me to become involved with Humanism, in which case please accept my apologies for intruding on this forum and I shall not be at all offended if the moderator chooses to delete this thread.
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Re: West Sussex County Council

Postby liquidsteam » Sat 03 Apr, 2010 11:57 am

Hi Rabbit, welcome to the board.

Yes, I think you are right... this is a popular topic with members of Humanist groups. :P

Unfortunately, without representation, the council won't be considering your point of view. :!:

Although I don't want to get bogged down in semantic arguments, the point about how to refer to the non-religious without always refering to a lack of religion or belief is an important one I feel. Perhaps we could say 'believers in the scientific method' though it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue and some people might even disagree with that too.

Someone asked me last weekend if I was a Humanist, it was difficult to know how to answer the question, what ideas would be conveyed by saying "I am a Humanist"? I managed to side step the question somewhat and went on to explain my own particular views were on the topic being discussed. I'd be interested to know how other people describe themseleves in these situations without being labeled with a set of views that might not exactly reflect their thoughts?
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Re: West Sussex County Council

Postby Andrew Edmondson » Sun 04 Apr, 2010 10:33 am

Hi Rabbit

I'm glad you raised this topic. The term Humanism is still not widespread but will become so in time.

The term "religion and belief" has now replaced the term "religion", because of the Human Rights Act and Equality Act. The "belief" part includes people with no religious belief.

Everyone is covered by the collective term "religion and belief". If you state that you do not believe in God, that is a belief.

The government uses the term "faith" to refer to religion. They do this because it sounds less extreme than "religion". Religious organisations and government love to use ambiguous words like faith, spirituality, truth. They do this to appear inclusive. It's a deception.

I don't use any of these words (apart from in parentheses) but I do use the term "belief", because it officially means "non-religious belief" and is part of the Human Rights Act and Equality Act, which are the basis of Humanist action.

If you want a simple way of defining a Humanist, it could be: a non-religious person who uses reason and shared human experience to explain the world, and who supports Human Rights and Equality.

To a religious person, you could say that Humanism includes the Humane part of religion.

The policy of the British Humanist Association is to work from within the system to effect change, e.g. gaining membership of SACRE so as to represent the non-religious in education. Our aims include those of the National Secular Society, which I also value greatly. But our methods differ.

I notice you are in Worthing. We are having the first local meeting in West Sussex there on Thursday 8th April. I hope you can make it.
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Re: West Sussex County Council

Postby Rabbit » Mon 05 Apr, 2010 1:02 am

Re Liquidsteam's comment about how to define a humanist, I found the following quiz on line today, which told me that I'm one - so that's OK :-)

http://www.humanism.org.uk/humanism/are-you-a-humanist

If we are looking for a term to describe non believer, would "atheist" cover it, or do you feel that is too strong?
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Re: West Sussex County Council

Postby liquidsteam » Mon 05 Apr, 2010 8:30 am

I took that test too, I came out more Humanist than not, some of the questions weren't valid for my particular views which makes me hesitant to say 100% "I am a Humanist". The way the media tend to pick up on controversial debate also leads me to think that public perception of Humanism might be slightly skewed.

The term atiest means without God, so again it says what we're not, not what we are. The problem I think lies with the fact that religion has been so dominant in our history that if we just said "people of all beliefs" it would be assumed to mean religious belief, despite being a technically correct all inclusive term.

Maybe Naturalist is better term, as someone who rejects supernatural explanations, not having a philosophy far seperated from science. This could include Humanists, but also other atheist beliefs.
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