My email: mike_theman_williamson(at)hotmail(dot)com
Humanist Society @ University of Edinburgh: http://humanist.eusa.ed.ac.uk/
My first real visit to your blog. Great stuff.
I’m a humanist and active in the NHS in Tayside. I’m retired so have the time. NHS chaplaincy is exercising my thoughts much just now. Any comments via your blog?
Hi Terry, welcome to the blog.
NHS Chaplaincy, well I’m sure you know about the recent report on how much is spent on religious chaplains a year in the NHS. I won’t go into that because plenty of people will do a much better job.
I think Chaplaincy is an essential service and one that humanists are particularly well-placed to deliver. It may be time to reclaim the term ‘spirituality’ back from religious monopoly.
I couldn’t agree more. You may know that the NHS in Scotland has turned the entire chaplaincy experience on its head. The old model wherein chaplains were unashamedly xian has gone. The NHS now ‘owns’ the service outright and manages it very tightly and within the multi-racial reality of Scotland today. The old religious dispensations and cosy agreements with governments have been shattered, what with the rise of the muslim vote and the decline of the Catholic vote and political loyalties predicated on these tribal ethnicities. The NHS Sub-committee of the Humanist Society of Scotland is closely engaged with these developments. The NHS is a secular and secularising institution by its very existence and purpose. Under pressure from the new politics it might be the case that the NHS needs defending from religious die hards, so that spirituality and spiritual care are two of the contested territories within the chaplaincy project. I am confident that the secular versus religious debate will be played out within the NHS because it is an ideological state apparatus that humanists must engage with. It seems to me that the the NSS campaign on the costs of health care chaplaincy is unnuanced and rather knee jerk, one also that appears to ignore the distinctly different experience here in Scotland. It isn’t about costs but about equality and diversity allied to a very necessary humanist appreciation of patient focus and public involvement.
Hey Mike, thought we’d add you to our blogroll links on our blog. Ok with you?
Sound, I’ll put yours on mine in a bit.
I keep coming back to variousof your articles. All very interesting. I am a non believer in the odd position of working full time in a senior role for a Christian organisation. An outsider and an insider at the same time.
Thankyou very much, that does sound like a strange position. Indeed many Christian organisations are fighting for the right to discriminate against hiring people who believe differently than they do so I suppose in a way you’re in a fairly fortunate position. Your employers must be more open minded than most.
They are legally allowed to discriminate already. You see it in many job ads.
Here is another interesting one:
Under Scots law if you rent a house or flat and the owner wants to put a minister of religion in the flat you can be evicted at no notice even if you have an assured tennancy. I don’t think its ever happened, but it gives special rights to clergymen.
Sorry yes, I should’ve said they’re fighting to keep the right to discriminate.
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