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Sunday, 28 June 2009

National ceremonies for all

“Disestablishment will actually pose major problems for society,” writes a bishop, the Rt Rev. Paul Richardson, in Britain’s Telegraph. “Every country needs shared rituals and celebrations to foster a sense of community and provide a backdrop to major national occasions.”

And why should disestablishment pose this problem, Bishop? Many secularists, this one included, have said for yonks that having religion at the forefront of national celebration and national mourning and other markings of historical events has effectively shut out those who want no truck with religion.

Ceremonies at a more personal level – for funerals, marriages, baby-namings, for instance – are devised by secularists, and in principle can be every bit as beautiful and memorable as an event that has religious overtones. So why can’t we do this on a national level?

Why can’t suitable readings, speeches, music, dance, other performance art and processions be incorporated to create an occasion that the religious and nonreligious alike will enjoy or consider meaningful and moving?

If national events were devoid of religion, everyone could feel a part of them, and religionists do themselves no favours by arrogantly proclaiming otherwise.

But, to give him his due, this geezer is recognising that the Church of England in Britain is almost a dead duck. And his Telegraph article gives some worrying stats – worrying for the Deluded Herd, that is.

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