Secular Europe Campaign march and rally

Saturday 17th September 2011, London

As secular protesters in Spain clash with pilgrims at the Vatican’s World Youth Day, preparations are in train for a large-scale protest in Britain against the encroachment of religion into civil society.

The Secular Europe Campaign will march through London on 17 September, a year after the large-scale march that was organised during the pope’s visit to the UK.

Marco Tranchino, who is organising the Secular Europe Campaign, said: “Wherever the pope goes now will be sure to face criticism and protest. We want to keep the impetus going that was started last year at the Protest the Pope event, and encourage all people who believe in separation of religion from the state to join us.”

Mr Tranchino said that the Vatican had far too much influence on the institutions of the European Union and it was time for that to be challenged.

“We have the support of feminist, gay and secular groups from all around Europe http://secular-europe-campaign.org/supporters/ and large numbers of individuals who are following us on social network sites. We hope that this will send a message to the Governments of Europe and Great Britain that alarm is growing at the undue influence of religion on political decision-making. We want a secular Europe where there is room for everyone, whether they have a religious belief or not, but that policy is directed only by elected politicians, not by priests who are answerable to no-one.”

The campaign has launched a series of videos on its YouTube channel from prominent supporters including Philip Pullman, Richard Dawkins, Father Bernard Lynch, comedian Robin Ince and many others. http://www.youtube.com/seculareurope

Marco Tranchino said: “This is not an anti-religious campaign, it is a campaign that should be shared by all people who believe in democratic decision-making and the separation of religion and politics.”

NOTES

Nearly 20,000 people attended the Protest the Pope rally last year protest against the State Visit of Pope Benedict in the UK, demand an end to religious privileges and ask that European institutions remain secular. The Secular Europe Campaign is led by the organisations that led the Protest the Pope rally.

Full details about the event can be found here: http://secular-europe-campaign.org/

We are releasing video endorsements from some of out most well-know supporters every day until the beginning of September. The first video was launched on Monday 15 August featuring Philip Pullman.

The march will begin at 10.30 am leaving from Temple Place (Victoria Embankment), and rally will take place from 12.30-2.30pm at Richmond Terrace opposite Downing Street.

For more information

For more information, please contact Sara Passmore at sara.passmore@humanism.org.uk or on 020 7079 3580,

Secular Europe Campaign

The “Secular Europe Campaign” is an annual effort that sees many diverse groups united in demanding an end to religious privileges and asking that the European Institutions must remain secular. Starting in 2008, this Campaign has a special focus on the Vatican , given the enormous political and economical power it holds, but aims at representing all the issues around secularism and human rights, including opposition to state-funded faith schools, rejection of religious tribunals and support to equal rights for LGBT citizens.

It promotes:

- freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech·        

- women’s equality and reproductive rights       

- equal rights for LGBT people in all the European Union

- a secular Europe – democratic, peaceful, open and just, immune to the clandestine influence of privileged religious (or other) organisations        

- one law for all, no religious exemptions from the law

- state neutrality in matters of religion and belief

It opposes:

- the privileged status of the churches under Article 17 of the TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union)

- the special status of the Vatican in the United Nations

- state-funded faith schools

- the economic privilege and political influence of the Vatican

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About Us

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.

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