Celebrant delivers time for reflection

December 13, 2016

Jennifer Buchan becomes the 6th Humanist to lead a Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament.

HSS Registered Celebrant Jennifer Buchan has become the 6th ever Humanist to deliver a Time for Reflection address at the Scottish Parliament since devolution.

In a break from the practice of traditional Christian prayers in the Westminster Parliament, the Scottish Parliament decided back in 1999 that it would have an inclusive approach, called Time for Reflection. In the initial debate, former First Minister, the Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond MP, said: “We must not just tolerate: we should be proud of an inclusive approach that is different from that which many institutions have had in the past.”

Despite this, in the 16 years of devolution there have only been six Humanist contributions, despite non-religious people accounting for 52% of the Scottish population, and Humanist ceremonies being more popular than ever.

In her address to the Scottish Parliament, Jennifer Buchan with celebrate and defend the principle of universal human rights, something which Humanists defend passionately.

Jennifer Buchan, Humanist Celebrant
Jennifer Buchan, Humanist Celebrant

Jennifer will tell MSPs:

“Good afternoon everyone, thank you to the Presiding Officer, and to the Members of our Scottish Parliament, for this opportunity to speak to you all today.

“Sixty-eight years ago this week, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in Paris-it was the 10th of December 1948.

“The Declaration recognises that the inherent dignity, and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family, is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace, within our world.

“As a Chaplain, as a parent, and as a Humanist, the two most significant words in that sentence are “human family”. As an entire race, each one of us has the right to live a safe, dignified life, no matter who we are, or where we have come from. When we are born, we are not born into a world of equality, and as a Humanist, I believe that everything that can be done, should be done, to level the playing field.

“Each individual, no matter their sex, nationality, culture, language, colour, sexuality, those with a religious faith, and those of us with none, should be treated with kindness, tolerance and respect, and encouraged to live useful and fulfilling lives.

“I was asked, “Why are you bringing up the Declaration of Human Rights on Tuesday? Sixty-eight years is not a significant anniversary.” The anniversary is not important-the declaration is.

“As a global society, we are going through a period of upheaval and change, and have been told that the world in which we all live, has entered a “post truth” era. For reasonable and rational people, this is just not reasonable or rational, and we must always prioritise the truth. We must look to the document, written following the realisation of the worst atrocities committed against mankind, in modern history. A document drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds, from all regions of our world. The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights is not open to misinterpretation, and so perhaps, before making any decisions that effect ourselves, our families, our communities, and our planet, we should give it a read.

“Maybe, we should take a few minutes to print it off, and pin it above our desks, and stick it to our fridges-make it a document that we, and our families are truly familiar with, because we take notice of it every day. Because, maybe in a post truth era, we should be looking at actual truth, for us, and, the whole of our human family-it is universally agreed that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the foundation of freedom, justice and of peace.”

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