Tomorrow (Tuesday the 1st October 2013) Swindon’s Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education, or SACRE for short, is going to discuss whether or not to co-opt a non-religious or Humanist member. Oddly enough we only found out by chance at very late notice… At present there is no non-religious inclusion in Swindon on Group A, the part of the SACRE which creates the RE syllabus.
What We’ve Done so Far
Earlier this year we sent Swindon SACRE a small document stating why we would like to be included, why they should want to include a non-religious member and the people we would suggest. The minutes from the Swindon SACRE meeting at which this was last discussed can be found by clicking here.
The officers of Swindon Humanists have written and signed a letter on behalf of all members which can be found here.
What You Can Do
You may be thinking “How can I help out?” Well there are five Swindon Councillors on the Swindon SACRE to whom you could write (via email or pen and paper) expressing your views. Their details can be found below. You could also try writing to the Swindon Evening Advertiser letters section by clicking here.
You may now be thinking “but what do I say?” Well here is the crux of the argument:
- The UK 2011 Census showed that in Swindon 30.5% of the population responded as having ‘no-religion.’
- Even though the Census found that ‘no-religion’ was the second highest response in Swindon (second only to ‘Christian’ and outnumbering all other religious groups combined), the Census itself under reports non-religion due to questionable survey methods (2011 BHA/YouGov Poll demonstrating the effect of asking “are you religious?” vs “what is your religion?”). Other studies show a vastly higher rates of non-religion (British Social Attitudes Survey no.28 2011), and some show that even amongst people who do not identify as Humanist many people in the UK hold Humanist values (2007 Ipsos MORI Poll for BHA)
- In order for Swindon SACRE to be democratic and representative of Swindon’s population it should include at least one non-religious or Humanist member.
- In order for RE in Swindon to help pupils understand each others’ beliefs, non-religious beliefs need to be taught.
- In order for RE in Swindon to teach morality and ethics, it must also do this from a non-religious and Humanist perspective in case non-religious pupils don’t identify with religious reasons for moral behaviour.
Good Luck all! Fight the good fight and write a bloomin’ good letter!