Search This Blog

New Book

Civil religion in the UK, Canada, Australia and the Commonwealth

By Norman Bonney,
Manchester University Press, October 2013

Advance online order deals with Amazon and Blackwells

Monday, 12 November 2012

A Secular Remembrance

What an impressive mass display of crosses and poppies this weekend at the Scott monument in Edinburgh to mark the ultimate sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of service men and women in the wars of the last hundred years!

But we should not forget that many non-Christians were among those that died and were injured. At its larger cemeteries with more than one thousand graves the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has a prominent non-religious neutral Stone of Remembrance to recognise the diversity of religious and non-religious views among the armed forces that contributed to these war efforts.

What are now India and Pakistan, where relatively few are Christian and many are Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and non-religious, raised the biggest volunteer army in history of 2.5 million in the second world war and lost 135,000 dead in both world wars. These, and others from elsewhere in Asia and Africa as well as the former dominions also deserve remembrance for their contributions to our continued independence and security.

Letter in the Scotsman 12 November 2012

According to Ian Jack in the Guardian on 10 November 2012 the main UK monument to the 'Glorious Dead' at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, is similarly devoid of religious symbolism much to the chagrin of Church of England bishops at the time of its construction but this does not stop the successor bishops from invoking Jesus Christ at the official UK state remembrance service at the monument each annual remembrance Sunday.