God not required to honour veterans

I wrote to Mr. Cannan to express my support for removing such references (to God at Remembrance Day ceremonies).

To the editor:

Dianne Tucker recently wrote a letter to this newspaper urging people to contact our MP, Ron Cannan, to express their objections to a rumour that the federal government is considering removing references to God from all Remembrance Day ceremonies. (Federal Gov’t to take ‘God’ Out of Remembrance Day, Nov. 13 Capital News)

On the contrary, I wrote to Mr. Cannan to express my support for removing such references.

Remembrance Day is about remembering and honouring those who have served in the Armed Forces, especially those who died while doing so. Just as the religious and the non-religious serve in the Armed Forces, the religious and non-religious alike can, and do, remember and honour those people.

Repeatedly making references to God is a way of excluding atheists (as well as those who belong to polytheistic religions) from fully participating in the ceremonies. If the ceremonies repeatedly referred to Allah or Shiva, Christians would understandably feel that they were unable to fully participate.

If reference to God is omitted altogether, nobody is excluded, including atheists who served in the Armed Forces and made the same sacrifices as everyone else. It would be a way of including everyone—of all faiths and of none—in an important ceremony.

Believers are of course always free to say their own private prayers to God, but non-believers should not be made to feel that they don’t belong at a public ceremony by repeated references to God being made.

Ms. Tucker also seems to be under the impression that believing in God is somehow necessary in order to be a decent human being. Of course, this is not the case. I invite Ms. Tucker and others who might share this view of atheists to attend one of CFI-Okanagan’s events and to meet people who are openly atheist. As a group, atheists are no less moral than Christians, or people of any other faith.

Alternatively, she and anyone else is invited to make a donation to our Good Without God winter clothing drive, which will benefit clients of Inn From the Cold and the Boys and Girls Club. Please contact me to arrange collection and delivery of donations: zryder@cficanada.ca or at cfiokanagan.ca

Thank you.

Zena Ryder,

assistant branch leader,

Centre for Inquiry—Okanagan

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