The funeral seems to be dying in Canada. It is not just the case that the funeral is becoming less religious, but that the actual concept is fading. This is giving Canadian secularisation a distinctive hue, and points one way in which nations with rapid religious decline may develop.
Gay marriage is generally supported by the worldwide movement of humanists, and generally also groups of atheists, secularists and freethinkers. But there are some who oppose it.
Nigel Bruce was born in London in 1921. From the 1950s to the 1990s, he published many pamphlets and books, including Radical Readings: A Guide to the Humanist Perspective; A Student’s Guide to Secular Humanism; and Face to Face With Families. He was a frequent letter writer to The Scotsman newspaper. He was a leading campaigner for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and organised the erection of a statue to the philosopher David Hume. In the 1990s he contributed to the redesign of religious education in Lothian Region Schools, and to the design of the children’s courts system in Scotland. Callum Brown interviewed Nigel in his Edinburgh home in April 2010.
Khushi Ram was born in an isolated village in the Punjab in India in 1921. He emigrated to Canada in 1986. Callum Brown interviewed him in his home in Vancouver in October 2009.
My name is Khushi Ram, and I was born in India, Punjab. Social stratification is all over the world, but the peculiarity about the social stratification in India is that it is hereditary, it goes from birth to birth. My family belongs to the lowest strata of society in India. So much so that some people called us outcastes, not within the caste system. We were very poor, my father was a landless agricultural labourer with even no house of his own. The landlord will give him certain land and he will build a hut and we will live there. Somehow I shone in my class and some teachers almost fell in love with me, they tried to support me, up and up. I was working with my father on the farmer’s land but somebody, that seven kilometres school headmaster sent one of his teachers to me, because I was well known in my area by that time as a brilliant student. I broke all their previous record at the entrance into university, we call it high school final. I got very good marks.
Jutta Poser was born in 1925 in Berlin and went to Canada in 1950, settling in Montreal and then later Vancouver where she and her husband Ernest have been active members of BC Humanists for many years. Callum Brown interviewed Jutta in her Vancouver home in October 2009.
My family was a mixed marriage. My father was an assimilated Jew. His parents had been baptised in Germany for reasons that there were very few openings in the profession that my grandfather was in and he was a banker. And this was a private bank in Bonn so in order to get all the acceptance that he needed he became baptised into the German Protestant Lutheran Church along with his wife and their progeny, all three of them, were baptised too so that none of them remained in the Jewish faith.