The recent death of Aretha Franklin has meant that the song called Respect, which she made famous, has received a lot of attention. Respect is a concept that, rightly or wrongly, is generally held in high esteem, but it is sometimes used as a weapon to discredit people who are deemed to show ‘insufficient respect’ over some matter or another, even though respect being deserved or not depends on your viewpoint. There are words I have a natural liking for, others that I don’t. For example, even among people who have no religious belief, the word ‘spiritual’ often receives a high degree of respect. Personally
Our long term member, Paul Surman has produced a new book of poetry, which I am sure we will all enjoy and value. See review below. Places ( ISBN 78-1-906856-79-3) Pat Winslow said of this collection: “These are not just poems of place, they are about our relationship with the natural world; human purpose and design co-exist with something deeper and more elemental in this collection. Surman writes with an acute ear. He is detailed and exact and he has a knack of catching precise moments in an unforgettable way. He is the ‘observer unobserved’ investigating borderlands where change is incremental and sometimes reversible: ‘I welcome ruin:
Message from Simon Nightingale, of Shropshire Humanists, for World Humanist Day. If anyone is up for a trip to Shrewsbury that Thursday let me know and maybe we can have a fun, and useful, day out (Michele) Dear Humanist Colleagues Our regular 21 June Thursday meeting in 2018 coincides with World Humanist Day. We would like to recognise this in an appropriate way, so we have booked the Square in Shrewsbury between 9 am and 5pm on 21 June for an event highlighting humanism. We welcome artists, musicians, poets, dancers, craft workers, photographers and any others who wish to display their talents in keeping with the spirit of humanism.
We received a letter from the South East London Humanist Group who are launching a campaign on Tuesday 12 June to get the BBC to include humanists on Thought for the Day, promoting the campaign amongst local humanist groups and encouraging our participation. As they rightly say: “This may seem a bit of an old chestnut but it reflects a much wider problem – the BBC’s continued policy to put religion and ethics together as if you needed to be religious to be ethical, and to divorce religion from the wider philosophical discourse as a way to protect and privilege it. So we are hoping
Our very own John Webster has been actively involved in a campaign to have a memorial to Shelley set up in Oxford. While there is a memorial at Shelley’s alma mater, University College, John believes there should be a more public tribute and has suggested the Lloyds Bank building at the junction of Cornmarket Street and High Street. Details, and a review of the campaign, are given in this Oxford Mail article, and John has put up a Shelley Memorial Facebook page where people can register ‘likes’, so we encourage members on facebook to follow and support this campaign. Humanists UK gave the campaign an endorsement via
Our monthly OxHums talk on Friday 18th May, was a very interesting presentation by Professor Danny Dorling on ‘Oxford in 2050’ where he gave us his thoughts and ideas for future developments for our area. Three of our members have sent in their synopsis of the talk: “What a unique perspective on Oxford. To be brought up in the city, to leave it and then to come back many years later and see the city through the eyes of a geographer. And sadly the verdict did not seem to be a positive one. Relative to other cities Oxford seems to have ‘fossilised’ in recent years;
As you are probably aware, we set up our gazebo and table of leaflets about humanism and secularism, on Saturdays in the warmer lighter months, on the same busy pedestrianized shopping street as do groups of Muslims and Christians of various hues, faith healers and political groups, gymnasts and high wire violin players. People walking past can be seen to read our banners with definitions of humanism and secularism. Many stop briefly just to say they are glad we are there providing an alternative view. Others are well informed, maybe religious or perhaps wanting to have an intense discussion or brief debate. For all of
I have pleasure in attaching the 9th Annual Report of Uganda Humanist Schools Trust. The Humanist Schools in Uganda have made huge progress in the past two years. They are beginning to turn in very respectable results in national examinations, such that both Isaac Newton and Mustard Seed School are among the top 5 schools in their districts and, as a result of this success, are becoming schools of choice for local families. There is huge pressure to get local children into the schools, which are recognised as having high standards of welfare as well as good educational performance. Children leaving the schools are get