Seven more faith and belief groups are to be permanently represented in the National Service of Remembrance.
This year’s service marks the centenary of the First World War, with the aim that the inclusion of new groups is reflective of the diverse faiths and beliefs that contributed to Britain’s war efforts.
Minister for Faith Lord Bourne said: “It’s absolutely right as a modern, multi-faith society that we step up our efforts to honour those of other faiths for their contribution.
“Because of their bravery and selflessness, we are afforded the privileges and luxuries we enjoy today.”
The groups to be newly represented are: The Zoroastrians, The Coptic Christians, The Jains, The Baha’ís, The Humanists, The Spiritualists and The Mormons.
At present there are 15 faith and belief groups included in the ceremony.
The service, held on the Sunday nearest to November 11 at 11am each year, commemorates British and Commonwealth servicemen and women who lost their lives in the two World Wars and later conflicts.
The Chair of Greater Manchester Humanists, Guy Otten, spoke to Mancunian Matters about the groups’ incorporation into the National Remembrance Service.
“We’re very pleased, we’ve arrived somewhere where we were once marginalised and ignored.”
Whilst Humanism doesn’t depend on a God or transcendental figure, they strongly believe in morality and benefitted the war effort by giving comfort to those who didn’t hold a particular belief or faith.
“Humanists UK have been pressing to be given the chance to contribute to the memorial service,” said Otten.
“Unbelief has grown in the last 50 years,” he added, making their addition reflective of modern Britain.
“We live in a diverse society and we all understand there shouldn’t be discrimination between different belief systems and religions.”
This year’s service will be held on Sunday at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London and will end with a march past of war veterans as a gesture of respect for their fallen comrades.
Image courtesy of Manchester City Council via Twitter, with thanks.