Having completed the Humanists UK accreditation training last year, OxHums member, Jan Skelton, was invited to talk on humanism at Didcot Girls’ School and did such a good job that the school requested another talk as part of their World Religions Day project on 8th February this year. Groups of around 30 pupils were sent out to review various religions, their beliefs, rituals and traditions, and the co-ordinator was thankfully keen to include the humanist worldview. Our initial concern was choice of venue – finding somewhere that allowed us to provide a presentation to such a large group in an environment which reflected our ethos.Read More →

We received the following letter from the Chair of Milton Keynes Humanists, Mike Flood, regarding his attempt to raise awareness of, and responses to, the growing problem of fake news and misinformation so I am hoping to draw our members attention to it here, in case anyone is interested in getting involved. Like many people I have been dismayed by the escalation in misinformation, alternative facts and fake news, and the impact this is having, not least on social cohesion and people’s confidence in our political system. I also find the ‘my-opinion-is-as-good-as-yours’ attitude deeply troubling. Indeed, it raises issues for humanists because it is goingRead More →

Well!  It’s less than a week since we were all wishing each other a very happy / fulfilling / prosperous New Year.  So, on the related theme of togetherness – and as a life-long ‘no faith’ humanist, I’d like to tell you [today’s Radio Oxford’s listeners], that I consider OxCoF (Oxford’s Council of Faiths) deserves to be respected by humanists and other non-believers. Indeed, given that I’ve been an active participant in OxCoF activities for the past 18 months or so (i.e. ever since I was welcomed as their first “Associate, no faith, Member”, sometime in 2016), I’m fairly confident I’m right! Let me expand:Read More →

To the Editor, The Oxford Times Sir  I read with interest [in the 11/1/18 edition of The Oxford Times] your article headed “Sharp decline in church weddings across county over past five years”. I don’t happen to know how Oxfordshire compares to the rest of England but in comparison with Scotland [where Humanist Weddings were legalised as long ago as 2005], there are a couple of potentially significant differences. The major difference is that in Scotland the rapid decline in the number of church weddings began about 15 years ago – from being over 50 % until the 1990s – to a low today ofRead More →

By now you’ll have heard that Theresa May has appointed Damian Hinds as her new Education Secretary, replacing Justine Greening and putting the PM’s plans to allow 100% religious segregation in English schools firmly back on the table. We successfully convinced Justine Greening to keep these plans at bay and also won ground on issues like mandatory Relationships and Sex Education, including in faith schools. But the appointment of Damian Hinds, a staunch supporter of religious discrimination in schools (who previously took funding from the Catholic Church), threatens to usher in a whole new era of ultra-discriminatory faith schools. Please, will you join today and helpRead More →

We must all renew our commitment to a fairer, more secular Britain. In these times of uncertainty, we humanists must put our values into practice. Following on from the historic vote on 23rd June, much about the future of the UK and of Europe is, for better or worse, profoundly uncertain. As a non-partisan, charitable organisation, we did not take a side in the EU referendum, apart from encouraging a more democratic debate from all quarters. In that same enthusiastically democratic spirit, it falls to us to ensure that as humanists we play a critical role in steering this country through the difficult moral and intellectualRead More →

Successive, well respected, UK-based social surveys have, for the past 30 years, been telling us that the proportion of UK adults identifying themselves as having no religion has increased from about 30% to just over 50%. The accuracy of the 50% figure was reinforced when (last December, 2015) the Woolf Institute – which studies relations between Christians, Muslims and Jews – published the results of its Church of England sponsored ‘Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life’. Their findings were consistent with today’s 50:50 equilibrium! Between our 2006 and 2013 AGMs, Oxford Humanists’ (OxHums’) membership grew a lot faster than the national average:Read More →

The  Oxford University student newspaper, Cherwell, asked us  to comment on the recent tweet from the Church of England, saying  it was ‘praying for Richard Dawkins and his family’ after Dawkins’ recent stroke, and whether we agreed with allegations that it was opportunistic/disrespectful to Dawkins. Our response was as follows, made by David Lahee, in his capacity as Dialogue Officer for the Oxford Humanists: “In the absence of any concrete evidence to the contrary, we assume that the call for prayers for Richard Dawkins is made out of genuine concern and for no other reason. Naturally we do not expect such prayers to have anyRead More →