Author Archives: Cornwall Humanists

Prayers in the Michaela Community School

To Pray or not to Pray

Recent press reports refer to a legal case against the headteacher and governors of the Michaela Community School in Brent, north-west London.

It seems that some of the pupils, about 50% of whom are Muslims, have been praying at break times, and encouraging others to join them.

The headteacher, Katherine Birbalsingh, and the goverors are being taken to court for stopping the playground prayers, which they fear could lead to bullying and social divisiveness.

You can read more from Sally Weale, Education correspondent of The Guardian.
Megan Manson also covers the issues for the National Secular Society.

Polly Toynbee, in The Guardian, draws attention to the need to reform the legal requirement to hold a daily act of Collective Worship in every state funded school.

It could be argued that requiring a pupil to pray, is forcing them to admit that God exists.

Gift to all Cornish secondary schools


Carrie, Peter and Jimmy with the book about Humanism

Cornwall Humanists decided to send out the book ’What is Humanism?’ by Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young to all 57 secondary schools and colleges in Cornwall as a gift for their librairies, enclosing a label to be glued into them by the librarians.
The photo shows Carrie Langford, Peter Wood and Jimmy Jackson with the book at their monthly meeting on the first Sunday of the month, 11o’clock,  at Truro Arts Cafe, which people are welcome to atttend.
‘The Edge of the World Bookshop’ in Penzance has kindly taken this order.
Member Mary Fletcher said, ‘Young people need to know that it’s perfectly possible to lead an ethical life, aiming to improve conditions for everyone, without religion. Humanism provides an organisation to promote  this.’

August 2023 Meeting

Special General Meeting

A Special General Meeting was held on 15th August at 7pm.
Members of Cornwall Humanists attended both in person, and via Zoom.
The members discussed the motion:

“Cornwall Humanists will apply to Humanists UK to change our status,from Partner Group of Humanists UK, to Branch of Humanists UK.”

After contributions to a discussion by members the vote was unanimous in favour of the motion.

A second motion was put to members:

The name of the new Branch should be Cornwall Humanists”

After discussion this was carried by a large majority.

Wayne Mills, the newly appointed person to work for branches of Humanists UK, was present at the meeting.
He was able to offer advice and factual information, without seeking to sway the decisions taken.

Humanist UK – Conference in Liverpool

The annual conference was held in Liverpool from 9th-11th June.

Two members of Cornwall Humanists attended the event.

We heard lectures from leaders in various relevant fields including:
Why humanism is the future
The science of the weird $#!%
Staying human in the age of AI
How religion evolved and why it endures
Who Cares?
Inequality: the enemy between us
A brief history of religion

We also heard from  humanist Steve Bowen, about his success in taking Kent County Council to court for trying to refuse him membership of SACRE.
The Court has now made it clear that there are no barriers to RE being fully inclusive of humanism.
Unless the judgement is overturned on appeal by 23rd June, this is likely to have far reaching consequences.

Humanly Possible

 by Sarah Bakewell

From Monday 27th March 2023 there will be five readings from Sarak Bakewell’s new book.
These will be at 9.45am each day, on BBC Radio 4, lasting fourteen minutes.
The broadcasts are also available for a month, using the links below, to listen at your leisure.

Episode 1    Monday –  Petrarch and Boccaccio

Episode 2    Tuesday –   Erasmus and the principles of peace, friendship and civility

Episode 3   Wednesday –  Wilhelm von Humboldt and Prussian schooling

Episode 4   Thursday –  Darwin, Huxley and scientific humanism

Episode 5   Friday – Humanism is confronted by the rise of Fascism

Court Ruling in Northern Ireland

Christian-only RE and compulsory collective worship
A successful challenge in Northern Ireland

The High Court in Belfast just ruled today that Northern Ireland laws requiring Christian-only Religious Education and compulsory collective worship breach the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.

This is a major victory for Northern Ireland Humanists, which supported the parent who took the case, and builds directly on Humanists UK’s 2015 case which ruled humanism should be taught in RE. But our fight’s not over yet…

We need to take immediate action to see this ruling implemented in law —and to see its effects logically ripple out to the parliaments in England, Scotland, and Wales too.

Humanism for Kids

What is Humanism?

Michael Rosen’s book, aimed at children, was published in 2016 with Annemarie Young.  It asks “What is Humanism? How do you live without a god? And Other Big Questions

Check it out on Amazon Books:

if your school would like a  free copy, as a gift from Cornwall Humanists