Please join our campaign for a 21st Century Remembrance

Oct 31, 2012


Discussion by: Chris.H
Hi, I’m the General Secretary of the UK Armed Forces Humanist Associations (UKAFHA).
There are a growing number of serving and ex-serving men and women who are sick of the religious choke-hold grip on our Remembrance ceremonies. If you have a few moments to check out our campaign please do. You can find the details here: http://forallwhoserve.org.uk/

30 comments on “Please join our campaign for a 21st Century Remembrance

  • Hi Chris,

    Excellent. Another campaign with which I agree 100%. I will write to my MP about this and have a word with any members of the British Legion I come across (and that’s a quite a few).

    PS I didn’t get any adverts, but then I’ve downloaded a Firefox app.



    Report abuse

  • Hi Chris and thanks for reminding us about this. Could you imagine the uproar there would be if a religion were to be barred from attending? Banning non religious people isn’t even thought of as a problem, which proves just what a strangle hold religion still has on our society. 



    Report abuse

  • Why should any bravery be required. It’s a no-brainer. It’s farcical  to celebrate the dead of World War One.  Promote Armed Forces Day instead. 



    Report abuse

  • 9
    Ignorant Amos says:

    Why should any bravery be required.

    Because of the backlash you would receive for such a campaign.

     

    It’s a no-brainer.

    Since when was forcing your opinion on others a no-brainer?

     It’s farcical  to celebrate the dead of World War One.

    That is Armistice Day you are thinking about, not Remembrance Day. But if there are people that wish to do celebrate the lives of those that fell, why would you wish a campaign to stop them…are they doing you any harm? Seems a bit fascist to me and it runs contrary to the very freedoms that those who lost their lives to protect, are being remembered.

    The oration  is Two World Wars and subsequent conflicts…Armed Forces Day is a different thing all together, originally Veteran’s Day, it was renamed Armed Forces Day and it’s a celebration for those living to include currently serving troops to Service families, and from veterans to cadets.



    Report abuse

  • 10
    logicophilosophicus says:

    In the UK there is Remembrance Day (= Armistice Day = November 11th), with its We-Will-Remember-Them theme and its much copied minute’s silence, and there is Remembrance Sunday with its prayers, parades, etc. Since the UK monarch is head of the Church of England and Commander in Chief of the armed sevices, this supposed Humanist Remembrance Day campaign seems like a backdoor campaign for Disestablishment or even Republicanism. There is no problem with Remembrance Day – Remembrance is largely secular, transnational, etc. Concerning Remembramce Sunday, on the other hand, if some humanists wish to further impose their beliefs on those who hold, however vaguely, other beliefs, that is a freedom of speech issue and ultimately a constitutional issue. (I am a humanist myself.) Brtish Soldiers take an oath to obey the monarch, and Sunday parades are ordered… they don’t have to believe, they can “affirm” rather than “swear”. I think the present arrangements are not a problem. I won’t be supporting the campaign.



    Report abuse

  • 11
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In the UK there is Remembrance Day (= Armistice Day = November 11th), with its We-Will-Remember-Them theme and its much copied minute’s silence, and there is Remembrance Sunday with its prayers, parades, etc.

    This is not entirely accurate.

    “In the United Kingdom, beginning in 1939, the two-minute silence was moved to the Sunday nearest to 11 November in order not to interfere with wartime production should 11 November fall on a weekday. After the end of World War II, most Armistice Day events were moved to the nearest Sunday and began to commemorate both World Wars. The change was made in many Commonwealth countries, as well as the United Kingdom, and the new commemoration was named Remembrance Sunday or Remembrance Day. Both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday are now commemorated formally in the UK. In recent years Armistice Day has become increasingly recognised, and many people now attend the 11am ceremony at the Cenotaph in London – an event organised by The Western Front Association, a UK charity dedicated to perpetuating the memory of those who served in the First World War.”

    Armistice Day is indeed observed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, for the fallen of WW1, but mostly by just a handful of old age pensioners. Attendance on that occasion has been dwindling over the years. Armistice is not the subject of this OP, it is Remembrance Day or Remembrance Sunday if you like.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R

    Since the UK monarch is head of the Church of England and Commander in Chief of the armed sevices, this supposed Humanist Remembrance Day campaign seems like a backdoor campaign for Disestablishment or even Republicanism.

    The UK monarch is the Commander-in-Chief on paper, that is true, and it is the Queen to whom the Oath of Allegiance is made. That is all part of the pomp and circumstance that is part of the pageantry of the British military. Anyone that knows anything about the system knows that the British armed forces thrives on tradition and ceremony. But the fact is, the de facto C -in-C is the Prime Minister, his cabinet and the democratically elected government. They give permission for the UK to maintain a standing army through the Army Act which is renewed every 5 years.

    “Under British constitutional law, the armed forces are subordinate to the Crown, however this power is qualified by the requirement for parliamentary consent to the maintaining of a standing army and Parliament’s approval of taxation and supply of funds for the armed forces. Under the 1689 Bill of Rights no standing army may be maintained during time of peace without the consent of Parliament and in modern times Parliament gives this consent every five years by passing an Armed Forces Act. Consistent with long standing constitutional convention, the Prime Minister holds de facto authority over the use of the armed forces. The armed forces are managed by the Defence Council of the Ministry of Defence, headed by the Secretary of State for Defence.”

    I don’t think there is any reason to suggest that this is a back door campaign for Disestablishment or even Republicanism. The numbers involved are nominal for starters. I think the monarchy will be gone before there is enough non-believing ex-servicemen and women to make it an issue.

    There is no problem with Remembrance Day – Remembrance is largely secular, transnational, etc. Concerning Remembramce Sunday,…

    Well there IS a problem I’m afraid, or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday are one in the same. As an ex-serviceman I fully understand the problem. In my home town, all the major Christian denominations are represented at the dias, but they are not fully representative of the parade. In a country that promotes its multicultural values, isn’t it time to be more inclusive? As ex-vice Chairman of Carrickfergus branch of the RBL for a number of years, I am well up to speed on the arrangements for Remembrance Day, I’ve helped organise a few. 

    …on the other hand, if some humanists wish to further impose their beliefs on those who hold, however vaguely, other beliefs, that is a freedom of speech issue and ultimately a constitutional issue. (I am a humanist myself.)

    Who is wishing to impose which beliefs on whom? I can’t believe you wrote that comment with any sincerity. If “some humanists” wish their service, and for some the ultimate price, recognised on the day set aside for remembrance, shouldn’t that be afforded them? I can’t, for the life of me, understand why this is a constitutional issue.

    Brtish Soldiers take an oath to obey the monarch, and Sunday parades are ordered… they don’t have to believe, they can “affirm” rather than “swear”.

    You are conflating two things here. Agreeing to obey orders from a particular person does not equate with orders coming from that person. Sunday parades are not ordered by the Queen or the Prime Minster. They are parades convened at a much lower level than that. The Remembrance Day ceremonies for ex-service personnel have, by and large, been organised by the Royal British Legion with support from HMF… so all this oath swearing and allegiance to the Queen is a non-sequitur…a red herring and of no relevance to the OP. 

    I think the present arrangements are not a problem.

    Have you served?

    I won’t be supporting the campaign.

    That is you prerogative.



    Report abuse

  • 12
    aldous says:

    What is offensive about Remembrance Day is making it a state occasion with big wigs from the armed forces, politics, church and the royal family ‘leading the nation’ in a jingoistic sacralization of war at the Cenotaph in the heart of the capital. This is the event which is not in keeping with hopes of a better world. Obviously, shunting the big parade into the pages of history would not affect events at the local level, organized by branches of the British Legion or other such associations. 



    Report abuse

  • 13
    Ignorant Amos says:

    What is offensive about Remembrance Day is making it a state occasion with big wigs from the armed forces, politics, church and the royal family ‘leading the nation’ in a jingoistic sacralization of war at the Cenotaph in the heart of the capital.

    You use the word “OFFENSIVE” to describe a parade that allows the leaders of the country, the public , but above all, those veterans that wish to remember their fallen comrades with whom they once stood shoulder to shoulder. That is shameful given the attitude that the majority of members of this forum say about those taking “OFFENCE”.

    I’ve never heard such poppycock (pun intended) in my puff. You sound just like this buck eejit here… http://www.huffingtonpost.co.u… … and for all the reasons given by those in the comments section.

    This is the event which is not in keeping with hopes of a better world.

    Nonsense, and if you knew anything about that to which you are commenting on, you’d realise just how much nonsense you are spouting.

    Obviously, shunting the big parade into the pages of history would not affect events at the local level, organized by branches of the British Legion or other such associations.

    Again, that’s nonsense. It would be the start of a slippery slope. Next the clamouring would be for the City parades to be banned, then the towns, then the villages. My towns RBL organised parade is organised in conjunction with the council authorities ..it is a joint effort and requires the co-operation of both parties. The Mayor and the councillors, top police officer and military officer taking the salute, all take the march past. They take the march past as representatives of the citizens of the borough in recognition of a debt of gratitude….as does the dignitaries and members of the royal family do at the main parade in London. That makes those veterans proud, proud that the lives of their fallen comrades is being recognised, proud that the risks they themselves took to protect EVERYONES freedom is not forgotten. No one is forcing anyone to recognise the price so many have paid, some people are just ungrateful ignorants, that is their problem, but calling for the banning of any parade, when the majority of the citizens want the parades, is just pure fascist.

    I implore you to learn a bit more about this subject before further comment.



    Report abuse

  • 14
    aldous says:

    Discontinuing the religion-soaked, jingoistic military parade past the Cenotaph in no way prevents ex-service associations from organizing events to commemorate colleagues who died on active service or in retirement. As you say, this does open the slippery slope, one leading to democracy, where local councils might not find it appropriate to sponsor a military parade.  This would, in no way, prevent the organization of memorial services on British legion premises or elsewhere. What is deplorable is demanding automatic public support for war and all the fruits of war. The importance of the armed forces in the defence of the realm is recognized on Armed Forces Day.



    Report abuse

  • 15
    Ignorant Amos says:

    As I’ve already said, your ignorance on this subject is stupefying.  You have made so many erroneous remarks in that last comment I can’t even be arsed to point them out. Learn something of the subject to which you make comment, then I might engage you in further discourse.



    Report abuse

  • 16
    aldous says:

    The National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall is dedicated to promoting the authority of government to engage us in war, the readiness of the military to serve as instruments of government policy and the eagerness of religious organizations to solemnize the slaughter. Whether or not this should meet with general approval would have something to do with the war in question, but all acts of war entered into by Britain since 1914 are sanctified by lauding the sacrifice of the dead. Considering that these wars include the senseless as well as the heroic and the positively sordid, as in the case of Iraq, this runs against the commitment ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’. While including humanist representatives in this ceremony would be a palliative measure, it’s surely more in keeping with humanist values to oppose the nationalism, militarism and religiosity inherent to The National Service of Remembrance.  Clearly, humanist members of the armed forces might find that they had divided loyalties on this issue.



    Report abuse

  • 17
    Ignorant Amos says:

    The National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall is dedicated to promoting the authority of government to engage us in war, the readiness of the military to serve as instruments of government policy and the eagerness of religious organizations to solemnize the slaughter.

    That is just your skewed, ignorant, subjective opinion. 

    The government needs to hold no such service to promote its authority to engage ‘us’ in war. The government has a democratic mandate from the electorate as its authority and that’s all it needs.

    The readiness of the military to serve as instruments of government policy is what made the country a free democracy in the first place. A place of freedom that many in the world strive to emulate. A place of freedom where you are at liberty to make your remarks without fear of henchmen in jack boots bursting your door down and removing you to a place of incarceration or worse.

    As for the eagerness of religious organisations to solemnise the slaughter, behave yerself. While I don’t agree with all the religious trappings of one particular religion at the occasion of remembrance, I acknowledge the right of those who do. If it gives them comfort to believe their comrades are in a better place, who am I to spoil the party. I just want it to be all inclusive or omitted all together.

    Whether or not this should meet with general approval would have something to do with the war in question, but all acts of war entered into by Britain since 1914 are sanctified by lauding the sacrifice of the dead.

    You miss the point. Whichever the conflict, its the government of the day that sends young men and women to fight, and if needs be, to die. By extension, they go at the bequest of the citizens of that country. The wars are sanctified by YOU, the voting population. Your choice of English is just a lot of hyperbole…no one is ‘lauding’ the sacrifice, it is about remembrance, its about representing those that can’t represent themselves, its about reminding those that are too young to remember that there was millions their own age that died to grant them the liberty they enjoy so much. As long as there is a popular will for said remembrance, where do you get off with your fascism?  

    Considering that these wars include the senseless as well as the heroic and the positively sordid, as in the case of Iraq,…

    More ignorance… we can argue about the detail of the Iraq war until the cows come home… history will tell the whether it was a worthy cause at the end of the day. It has no bearing on the military personnel that were ordered to go and who didn’t return. BTW, war is sordid by its very nature. Some is senseless, other not so much. Some of those that died in all, were heroic. Most were just doing their jobs.

     

    …this runs against the commitment ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’.

    Where do you get such an idea?

    While including humanist representatives in this ceremony would be a palliative measure, it’s surely more in keeping with humanist values to oppose the nationalism, militarism and religiosity inherent to The National Service of Remembrance.

     

    Explain why…Why is a display of nationalism in opposition of the values of secular Humanism?…and…Why is a display of militarism in opposition of the values of secular Humanism?The whole point of this OP is a campaign to address the imbalance in the inherent religiosity of the service of remembrance. 

    Clearly, humanist members of the armed forces might find that they had divided loyalties on this issue.

    They might…but it seems a bit farcical in light of the fact that they joined the military in the first place. However, it has no relevance to the OP, there are clearly a number of Humanists that are annoyed enough about the situation to start a campaign. So your point is moot.



    Report abuse

  • 18
    aldous says:

    Amos,
    Your resort to sophistry is understandable. You are an ex-serviceman who relishes your moment in the national spotlight, even to the point of seeking to claim that the British electorate endorsed the criminal invasion of Iraq. This illustrates precisely why it is important to decouple respect for the professionalism of the armed forces from the disgraceful use which was made of them in this instance and the generally questionable nature of war as an instrument of policy. Interim support for the inclusion of humanist representatives in the bonanza for religiosity which the National Service of Remembrance affords, is quite compatible with an opposition to the jingoistic flummery which promotes war, any war, by focussing on  the sacrifice of the lives of ‘our boys’  and  failing to notice when these lives are wasted on the altar of political scheming.  Again, this is a separate matter from a time of national emergency when the entire nation was enlisted in the struggle against fascism in the Second World War.

    Just to bring a touch of reality to the debate, you will have noted the resignation of the president of the British Legion over his involvement in the lobbying scandal which underlines what ‘Remembrance’ is actually about for the top brass.

    The president of the Royal British Legion, Lt Gen Sir John Kiszely, has resigned over claims he was involved in defence contract lobbying. …In the footage, seen by BBC News, Sir John allegedly said that his role gave him top-level access at “various extremely boring affairs”. He is shown saying he would be able to speak to the prime minister, the defence secretary and the chief of the defence staff at a Remembrance Day event.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-1



    Report abuse

  • 19
    Ignorant Amos says:

    Your resort to sophistry is understandable. You are an ex-serviceman who relishes your moment in the national spotlight, even to the point of seeking to claim that the British electorate endorsed the criminal invasion of Iraq.

    While it is true that this subject gets me emotionally charged, for reasons that are impossible for you to comprehend, but those many ex-military personnel that are members of this forum will, your charge of sophistry is unfounded. First off, I will not be relishing any moment in the ‘national spotlight ‘, I am currently living in Spain. I have noticed your constant reference to the word ‘national’, what is that all that about? FYI, most ex-servicemen don’t participate in the proceedings, they watch from the sidelines and remember quietly.

    Whether you like it or not, the electorate did endorse the Iraqi war, that’s how democracy works. That you were on the side of the minority is just hard cheese. Furthermore, even though the government of the day had no obligation to do so….

    “There is no constitutional requirement for the United Kingdom government to seek any explicit form of Parliamentary approval before committing UK forces to military action. The Royal Prerogative permits the government to give the order to begin action.”

    … nevertheless, they did put it to a Parliamentary motion which was carried 412 to 149 votes, authorising the invasion. You get what you vote for…the fact that Blair probably used subterfuge to influence Parliament just compounds that point. 
    Also, it pays to remember that Saddam could’ve prevented the whole affair by allowing weapons inspectors to go about their business unhindered…especially as it appears with hindsight, he wasn’t hiding anything.

    But none of this has any relevance on Remembrance Day ceremonies and why we have them, so I’m at odds as to why you keep dragging up all these non-sequitur’s.

    This illustrates precisely why it is important to decouple respect for the the professionalism of the armed forces from the disgraceful use which was made of them in this instance …

    Only because you are conflating the two…as I’ve tried in vain to explain.

    …and the generally questionable nature of war as an instrument of policy.

    Yep…there’s that ignorance again. How would you have dealt with the invasion of the Falklands by the Argentinians then? What about the 40 years of conflict in Northern Ireland called The Troubles? What about Aden? The Cold War…what would your proposals have been to defend western democracy from the communist pact?

    War is waged by two or more opposing entities…sometimes one or both sides have no choice in the matter. 

    Interim support for the inclusion of humanist representatives in the bonanza for religiosity which the National Service of Remembrance affords, is quite compatible with an opposition to the jingoistic flummery which promotes war, any war, by focussing on  the sacrifice of the lives of ‘our boys’  and  failing to notice that these live have been wasted on the altar of political scheming.  

    How many times does it need saying? This is your negative and ignorant subjective view on what the whole ” jingoistic flummery” is really about. You are not in a position to comment, you are not included, you didn’t earn the right to take part. By insisting that those who did earn that right, can’t, you are being fascist, pure and simple.

    Again, this is a separate matter from a time of national emergency when the entire nation was enlisted in the struggle against fascism in the Second World War.

    No it’s not. Not to me, not to all those ex-service personnel that find it important not to forget, not to all those members of a grateful nation…and last, but by no means least, all those who fell in the service of their country. Service personnel don’t get the luxury of debating which conflicts the men and women in suits send them to in your name. You’ve got some hang ups with the conflicts that your government has been sending your servicemen and women to be killed in, but don’t be taking it out on those same servicemen and women.

    Just to bring a touch of reality to the debate, you will have noted the resignation of the head of the British Legion over his involvement in the lobbying scandal which underlines what ‘Remembrance’ is actually about.
    The president of the Royal British Legion, Lt Gen Sir John Kiszely, has resigned over claims he was involved in defence contract lobbying. …In the footage, seen by BBC News, Sir John allegedly said that his role gave him top-level access at “various extremely boring affairs”. He is shown saying he would be able to speak to the prime minister, the defence secretary and the chief of the defence staff at a Remembrance Day event.

    More whataboutery. None of this has one iota of relevance to the point of the OP, or any of the arguments you have been posing so far. So why have you brought it up?



    Report abuse

  • The appeal for representation of the non-religious among the faiths promoting themselves at the Cenotaph is an obvious paradox. Nevertheless, it’s a paradox worth swallowing to reflect the attitude to religion of a sizeable proportion of the military. In fact, the recent Dawkins Foundation poll suggests that believing Christians, as opposed to nominal Christians, are very much a minority. However, since the ceremony is, theoretically, not for the benefit of current members of the armed forces but for the deceased and their survivors, the churches can claim that the views of serving members of the armed forces are irrelevant. Another paradox is solemnizing war in the name of Christ, whom it is rather hard to imagine as a military chaplain, far less a soldier or pilot of a helicopter gunship. Still, the reality is that Christians enthusiastically massacre all and sundry, as is illustrated on a huge scale by the Second World War.

    We would be morally better of without displaying the mawkish side of belligerent nationalism at the Cenotaph, which plays on the emotions which blunt opposition to sending British forces abroad as servants of American foreign policy, as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, leavening the religiosity of the occasion, by giving adequate representation to the non-religious, makes the campaign of the UK Armed Forces Humanist Association worthwhile. Look at the aims of the Association and you’ll see the wider issues it addresses make it very deserving of support. http://www.armedforceshumanist



    Report abuse

  • 21
    Ignorant Amos says:

    I think I’ll leave the last word with a friend, comrade, old soldier, business man….from a post he made on Facebook yesterday…

    Remembering the PIRA attack on the Enniskillen Remembrance Day Parade. Pondering the late Sen. Gordon Wilsons words about his loss & his frustration at how PIRA representatives he met lied trying to blame the Army.While I remember I also have my eyes firmly on the future. I don’t let the tragic emotions of the past cloud my sense today. My grandchildren will not grow in the society that cemented sectarianism or violence. Neither will I compromise on my allegiance to the UK or the reality that I am Brit-Irish.It is better to jaw-jaw than war-war and I do not fear engaging with anyone to promote understanding, eradicate ignorance, ensure peace and create investment / jobs.

    … this is the mindset of ex-servicemen…not the myth of a warmonger many believe.



    Report abuse

  • Amos,

    Let’s do some peace and reconciliation here. My remarks are about the political issue. It seems to me that sending British soldiers to fight and die to serve American foreign policy is not in the national interest or, ultimately, in anybody’s interest except manufacturers of boots and missiles, retired generals lobbying for the arms industry and so on.

    In the era of nuclear weapons, world peace becomes a concern that is more pressing than ever. It seems to me that enveloping the realities of the situation in a fug of religiosity at the Cenotaph is not helpful. Feeding nationalism by evoking the war against Hitler runs counter to our interests as citizens of Europe (whether in or out of the EU). Confusing the role of today’s professional army with the mobilisation of conscripts and volunteers in the world wars is positively deceitful. Government sponsored national mourning for our war dead obscures the need to regret all deaths in war and to focus on co-operation instead of conflict.

    None of this prevents retired soldiers from commemorating former colleagues or reminiscing about their own professional careers and lessons to be learned. I really don’t think a less grandiose view of the profession diminishes its importance in the least.



    Report abuse

  • 23
    Ignorant Amos says:

    Let’s do some peace and reconciliation here.

    I’m always up for a bit of peacekeeping Aldous…it’s really why most join up.

    My remarks are about the political issue.

    That’s the problem…leave politics out of Remembrance, it was that shite that caused the problem in the first place.

    It seems to me that sending British soldiers to fight and die to serve American foreign policy is not in the national interest or, ultimately, in anybody’s interest except manufacturers of boots and missiles, retired generals lobbying for the arms industry and so on.

    You are cherry picking your conflicts and this is why you are wrong. I have friends that lost their lives in the Falklands War… I will be thinking about them on Sunday..good lads they were….fuck all to do with Yank foreign policy. I have pals that lost their lives in the troubles of Northern Ireland, I’ll be remembering them on Sunday. I had serving family members who died at the hands of terrorists, I’ll be thinking of them…no American foreign policy involvement. I’ll be remembering a young lad I had the honour of commanding….Barney Warburton, killed 19 March 1994…clearing mines so the civilians of Bosnia could have a safe place to live…..as humanist a thing to do if you ask me….no US foreign policy at all. Please take the blinkers off.

    In the era of nuclear weapons, world peace becomes a concern that is more pressing than ever. It seems to me that enveloping the realities of the situation in a fug of religiosity at the Cenotaph is not helpful.

     

    That is the point of the OP….removing the religiosity from the whole enterprise…or at least acknowledging that a significant number of those attending can’t be fucked with the religiosity, particularly the partisan attitude that the Christian holy rollers monopolise.

    Feeding nationalism by evoking the war against Hitler runs counter to our interests as citizens of Europe (whether in or out of the EU).

    More ignorance.

    Confusing the role of today’s professional army with the mobilisation of conscripts and volunteers in the world wars is positively deceitful.

    Yet more ignorance…you really have no idea what its all about.

     

    Government sponsored national mourning for our war dead obscures the need to regret all deaths in war and to focus on co-operation instead of conflict.

    FFS Aldous…did you really just say that? How old are you?

    None of this prevents retired soldiers from commemorating former colleagues or reminiscing about their own professional careers and lessons to be learned. I really don’t think a less grandiose view of the profession diminishes its importance in the least.

    The point is, you are in no position to dictate what those who served do or don’t do on this issue. It is tantamount to saying that the religious can’t have church on Sunday in order to worship. You may not agree with the ritual of worship, but you must agree, it is fascist to say holy rollers can’t worship on Sundays. Why would you think it is rational to say that a certain section of society can’t remember another certain section of the society who lost their lives in order to protect the first sections liberty to remember the second section by a public demonstration? It makes absolutely no sense as a critical thinker. Its what we argue here on a regular basis to protect and quite frankly, I’m disappointed at your attitude to the subject. I’m prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt, because I sincerely believe you are confused on the issue and letting POLITICS conflate the discourse…I hope that’s the case anyway.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v



    Report abuse

  • 25
    nick keighley says:

     

    In
    the UK there is Remembrance Day (= Armistice Day = November 11th), with
    its We-Will-Remember-Them theme and its much copied minute’s silence,
    and there is Remembrance Sunday with its prayers, parades, etc. Since
    the UK monarch is head of the Church of England and Commander in Chief
    of the armed sevices, this supposed Humanist Remembrance Day campaign
    seems like a backdoor campaign for Disestablishment or even
    Republicanism. There is no problem with Remembrance Day – Remembrance is
    largely secular, transnational, etc. Concerning Remembramce Sunday, on
    the other hand, if some humanists wish to further impose their beliefs
    on those who hold, however vaguely, other beliefs, that is a freedom of
    speech issue and ultimately a constitutional issue. (I am a humanist
    myself.) Brtish Soldiers take an oath to obey the monarch, and Sunday
    parades are ordered… they don’t have to believe, they can “affirm”
    rather than “swear”. I think the present arrangements are not a problem.
    I won’t be supporting the campaign.

    well put. Pretty much my view of the matter. I too am not a theist and I see no reason to meddle with this.



    Report abuse

  • 26
    nick keighley says:

    Whether you like it or not, the electorate did endorse the Iraqi war,
    that’s how democracy works. That you were on the side of the minority is
    just hard cheese. Furthermore, even though the government of the day
    had no obligation to do so….

    I don’t recall being asked. I do remember attending (with ~1M other people) the only protest march I have ever attended. I’m not in general against armed intervention but Iraq was plain nonsense. We *knew* Saddam did not have substantial stocks of WMD (Iraq had been shown to be free of nukes). He did not have a delivery system. He posed no credible threat to the UK. He was not operating in a bellicose way towards his neighbours. The US used an entirely different pretext. To this day I don’t know why we invaded Iraq. Oil doesn’t seem worth it.

    How would you have dealt with the invasion of the Falklands by the
    Argentinians then? What about the 40 years of conflict in Northern
    Ireland called The Troubles? What about Aden? The Cold War…what would
    your proposals have been to defend western democracy from the communist
    pact?

    NI we negotiated in the end. Personnally I think the IRA guys got old and decided sitting in a council chamber beat sitting in a ditch on a wet night while the SAS tries to kill you.

    We withdrew from Aden. And look what a cluster fuck that is (it’s called Yemen now)

    Well I worked for an arms company during the (tail end of the) cold war and those Russian tanks on the other bank of the Elbe was part of my justification.



    Report abuse

  • 27
    Ignorant Amos says:

    I don’t recall being asked. I do remember attending (with ~1M other people) the only protest march I have ever attended.

    That is academic. The government do all sorts of things that they don’t “ask” their citizens permission to do. I never said the system was perfect, but it is what it is, that is how the system works. How many conflicts can you name where the citizens were asked by the government in office  for permission to enter? My point was that the individuals being remembered are implements of the state. If umbrage has to be apportioned, it is to those in suits that sit in Downing Street and ultimately, the man and women in the street…that’s democracy.

    I’m not in general against armed intervention but Iraq was plain nonsense.

    We *knew* Saddam did not have substantial stocks of WMD (Iraq had been shown to be free of nukes).

    The conceived threat was chemical agents.

    He did not have a delivery system.

    Yes he did.

    He posed no credible threat to the UK.

    No, and at the risk of invoking “Godwin”, neither did Hitler.

    He was not operating in a bellicose way towards his neighbours.

    Well the Kuwaiti’s and Kurd’s might take issue with that remark. Anyway, Saddam was too busy getting “bellicose” with his own people. Nice word by the way.

    The US used an entirely different pretext.

    No it didn’t.

     

    To this day I don’t know why we invaded Iraq.

    Regime change?

    Oil doesn’t seem worth it.

    No it doesn’t does it? Perhaps you might find this article of interest. 

    http://www.antiwar.com/lobe/?a

    Anyway, I can’t understand the need you and Aldous are keen to make of this as a political hot potato and a soapbox issue in which to raise the middle east conflicts of the last two decades. It is irrelevant to the OP. If you watched the days proceedings, you will have noticed the partisan religious aspect towards Christianity even though there was Gurkha contingents, a Jewish representation and I seen a Sikh marching. I have no doubt there was Muslim’s along with those of other faiths and none on the parade. That is the point being addressed in this thread, not the minutiae of particular conflicts.

    NI we negotiated in the end. Personnally I think the IRA guys got old and decided sitting in a council chamber beat sitting in a ditch on a wet night while the SAS tries to kill you.

    A bit simplified and not entirely accurate, but nevertheless, not relevant to the question I asked.

    We withdrew from Aden. And look what a cluster fuck that is (it’s called Yemen now)

    Again, it’s not relevant to my question. I didn’t ask how or why hostility ceased, or what happened after. 

    Well I worked for an arms company during the (tail end of the) cold war and those Russian tanks on the other bank of the Elbe was part of my justification.

    And again, another non sequitur…I asked Aldous what he would suggest we do to deal with the problem of aggression in reference to his statement, “…the generally questionable nature of war as an instrument of policy”, I see nothing in your comment that addresses that question either. 



    Report abuse

  • 28
    liessi_from_BC says:

    Peace — the noblest goal of service personnel — will come when we all accept there are no gods to die for and that we only have each other. I support your campaign from afar (Canada) and commend your courageous initiative.



    Report abuse

  • 30
    liessi_from_BC says:

    “Government sponsored national mourning for our war dead obscures the need to regret all deaths in war “and to focus on co-operation instead of conflict”

    To this I would add, “Government sponsored, sanctioned by “God Himself” and obediently supported by those who bear witness on behalf of such nonsense.”

    I have not served but understand enough to feel for those who have (or do). Nevertheless, I am with Aldous in the belief that all war deaths and suffering (physical and psychological, military and civilian alike) are tragic. While they should be remembered with solemnity, we should not allow these wounds to humanity to be justified by the magic wand of religion. It’s not ok because somebody’s god says it’s ok.

    @Ignorant Amos … methinks you’re angry for the all the right reasons. Just saying.



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.