British Humanist Association

British Humanist Association

The British Humanist Association is an organisation of the United Kingdom which promotes Humanism. The BHA is committed to secularism, human rights, democracy, equality and mutual respect. It works for an open and inclusive society with freedom of belief and speech, and for an end to the privileged position of religion in law, education, broadcasting and wherever else it occurs.

The BHA is the foremost provider of humanist and non-religious ceremonies in England & Wales, [See e.g. [] and [] ] maintaining a national network of accredited officiants. This network offer humanist wedding/civil partnership celebration, humanist baby naming and humanist funeral ceremonies, linked to the rites of passage.

The BHA is a member organisation of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. The official symbol of the BHA is the Happy Human.

The British Humanist Association was founded in 1896 by American Stanton Coit as the Union of Ethical Societies, which brought together existing ethical societies in Britain.

IHEU's minimum statement on Humanism

All member organisations of the IHEU are required by IHEU bylaw 5.1 to accept the IHEU minimum statement on Humanism: [See [] ]

"Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality"."


The British Humanist Association campaigns for a number of causes. It supports the international campaign to make Charles Darwin's day of birth a public holiday, Darwin Day. It also campaigns for legal provision against discrimination on grounds of religious belief or sexual orientation. It has called for unification of existing anti-discrimination legislation and has contributed to the Discrimination Law Review which developed the proposed Single Equality Bill. [cite web
title=Working towards a Single Equality Act: The Government's Equalities Review and Discrimination Law Review
publisher=The British Humanist Association


Bryan Appleyard has criticised [ [ "Oh Grow Up!" - entry from Bryan Appleyard's blog on February 1st, 2008] ] both the British Humanist Association and the National Secular Society for their campaign [ [ "Scout's oath 'is religious discrimination", Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent, Daily Telegraph] ] [ [ "Scouting without God", Terry Sanderson, The Guardian] ] against the Scout's oath of allegiance as have Deborah Orr [ [ "Deborah Orr: Labour promised social justice along with economic competence. It failed ...", The Independent] ] and Rod Liddle [ [ "Petty political sniping from within isn’t a sign of Labour’s progress", Times Online] ] .

Famous British Humanists


* Polly Toynbee 10 July 2007 - present
* Linda Smith (2004 – 27 February 2006)


*Professor Simon Blackburn
*Baroness Blackstone
*Professor Bernard Crick
*Professor Richard Dawkins FRS
*Dr James Hemming
*Lord Hughes of Woodside
*Professor Richard Norman
*Claire Rayner OBE
*Dr Harry Stopes-Roe
*Baroness Turner of Camden
*Baroness Whitaker
*Jane Wynne Willson
*Professor Lewis Wolpert CBE FRS

Distinguished Supporters

:"For more information regarding the 'Distinguished Supporter' honorific, see: [ BHA Distinguished Supporters] "


*Graham Allen, Labour MP
*Jane Asher, actress
*Professor Sir Michael Atiyah OM FRS
*Lord Avebury, Liberal Democrat peer


*Professor Brian Barry
*Dr Susan Blackmore, writer, lecturer, and broadcaster
*Professor Colin Blakemore FRS
*Professor Sir Thomas Blundell FRS
*Faith Brook, actress
*Rt Hon Nick Brown, Labour MP
*Alan Brownjohn, poet and novelist


*Sir Roy Calne FRS
*Michael Clapham, Labour MP
*Sir Arthur C Clarke (deceased)
*Sir Kenneth Clucas
*Michael Connarty, Labour MP
*Viscount Craigavon
*Dr Helena Cronin, philosopher


*Lord Dubs, Labour politician
*Maureen Duffy, playwright and novelist
*Professor R I M Dunbar FBA


*Professor Sir Anthony Epstein CBE FRS


*Viscount Falkland
*Baroness Flather, Conservative peer
*Professor Antony Flew
*Rt Hon Michael Foot
*Professor Frank Furedi


*Peter Goodfellow FRS
*Sir James Gowans CBE FRCP FRS
*Lord Graham of Edmonton, Labour politician
*Sir Francis Graham-Smith FRS
*Professor A. C. Grayling FRSA


*Mike Hall, Labour MP
*Professor John L Harper CBE FRS
*Lord Harrison
*Rt Hon The Lord Hattersley
*Dr James Hemming
*Professor Robert A Hinde CBE FRS
*Kelvin Hopkins, Labour MP
*Lord Hunt of Kings Heath OBE, Labour peer
*Professor Hugh Huxley FRS


*Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys FRS
*Professor Steve Jones


*Anish Kapoor, sculptor
*Miriam Karlin OBE, actress
*Sir Ludovic Kennedy
*Randal Keynes OBE
*Glenys Kinnock, Labour MEP
*Professor Sir Hans Kornberg FRS
*Professor Sir Harry Kroto FRS
*Ashok Kumar, Labour MP


*Stewart Lee, comedian
*Sir Michael Levey LVO FBA FRSL
*Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London


*Lord McCarthy
*Ian McEwan, novelist
*Lord McIntosh of Haringey, Labour politician
*Professor Sheila McLean
*Sir John Maddox
*Dr Kenan Malik FRSA, lecturer and broadcaster
*Alice Mahon, trade unionist
*Bob Marshall-Andrews QC Labour MP
*Jonathan Meades, writer and broadcaster
*George Melly, jazz and blues singer and writer (deceased)
*Warren Mitchell
*Lord Monkswell
*Suzanne Moore
*Julie Morgan, Labour MP
*Rhodri Morgan AM


*Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan, Labour politician


*Professor Sir Roger Penrose FRS
*Lord Peston
*Colin Pickthall, Labour politician
*Terry Pratchett OBE
*Phillip Pullman CBE, writer


*Professor Steven Rose
*Michael Rubenstein
*Sir Salman Rushdie

*Sir Lou Sherman OBE
*Marc Sinden
*Sir David Smith FRS FRSE
*Linda Smith (deceased)
*Professor Sir Kenneth Stuart FRCP
*Sir John Sulston


*Professor Laurie Taylor, sociologist
*Sir Keith Thomas FBA
*Polly Toynbee, journalist and writer
*Lord Bilston, Labour peer


*Professor Sir David Weatherall FRS
*Professor Lord Wedderburn of Charlton QC FBA

ee also

*National Secular Society
*Rationalist Association
*International Humanist and Ethical Union
*South Place Ethical Society


External links

* [ BHA Website]

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