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Digital Subscriptions > iScot Magazine > January 2017 > ‘We’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns’

‘We’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns’

A secular Scotland is in everyone’s interests, says humanist chief

Humanist Society Scotland

IN THE first iScot Question and Answer feature of 2017, Dave Bowman talks to Gordon MacRae, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh based Humanist Society Scotland - a 14,000-member charity and pressure group that has played a key role in advancing progressive change since it was established in 1979.

From the provision of non-religious wedding services, funerals and baby naming ceremonies to campaigning on a wide variety of issues including abortion rights, same-sex marriages, anti-discrimination legislation, care for the environment and supporting the principle of assisted dying in certain well-defined circumstances, HSS has certainly been busy. But, as iScot discovered, Gordon and his team won’t be resting on their laurels any time soon.

Gordon MacRae

DAVE BOWMAN: Can you sum up what humanism is all about and how HSS hopes to change society for the better?

GORDON MacRAE: For me, humanism is the way people seek to live an ethical life with compassion and founded on secular, rational values. When I talk to friends in the pub I may say something like it’s ‘atheism with ethics’ or that it’s about being good without a god. Many people will be doing this without knowing there is the term humanism to describe it.

A humanist in my book is someone who makes a conscious effort to live by humanist values. At HSS, we aim to give humanists in Scotland a voice on the national stage, campaign to end religious privilege in areas like education and Scots law and create a sense of community for those that seek it. For many people, their main contact with HSS is when they attend a wedding, funeral or naming ceremony conducted by one of our 110 celebrants around the country.

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