Fife Interfaith Group was first formed in 2004 by Fife Council but since 2010 has operated independently running its own affairs. 2012 was the culmiunation of much planning when the Interfaith Peace garden was opened in Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy and is still a peaceful place to sit and meditate in the lovely surroundings. The Peace Garden which includes a Peace Pole was sponsored by Lottery Funding Scotland, Fife Council, Park Hotel and local tradesmen who donated and carved the Peace Pole. Since then many events have been held including an annual Interfaith Lecture held in Scottish Interfaith Week in November which is now in its 7th year. The aim of Fife Interfaith Group is bring together people of all Faiths in Fife and advance public knowledge and practices of the different Faith Communities in Fife.
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Future Events Planned
We regret that the Interfaith Picnic planned for 9 June 2019 has been cancelled as we felt there was too little time to do the event properly. However we do plan to hold this exciting event on the 30 May 2020, further details will be given in due course
Interfaith Drop In Centre at Mercat Centre Kirkcaldy 7 September 2019 11am - 3pm during Diversity Week - Fife
"Put the Kettle On" Dunfermline Mosque 8 October 7pm
Visit to Edinburgh Gurdwara in November during Scottish Interfaith Week
Community Help Event during Scottish Interfaith Week
We will be holding Monthly Meetings every Second Tuesday in Kirkcaldy or Dunfermline
WATCH OUR WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK PAGE FOR FURTHER DETAILS IN DUE COURSE.
Next Monthly Meeting
Monthly Meeting 9 July 2019 at 7pm
New Volunteer House 16 East Fergus Place Kirkcaldy KY1 1XT
Talk by Ruth McCabe of Fife Council - "Dementia Friendly"
Everyone Welcome - Refreshments will be served
Talk on Secularism by Stephen Evans
The National Secular Society (NSS) was founded in 1866 by Charles Bradlaugh. He was elected as an MP but as he was an atheist he was not allowed to take the religious oath even though he was willing to do so. He was subsequently elected as an MP four times and when he was finally allowed to take his seat he was instrumental in bringing about a change in the law to enable MPs to affirm rather that swear a religious oath.
Secularism It is not the same as atheism. It is the idea that everyone is free to worship or not, it is up to the individual and should not be compulsory one way or the other. Secularism protects free speech, democracy and everyone’s religious freedom. In the past religion and state were often entwined. Unlike many other modern secular states, the government in the UK tied to religion by the established Church of England. The law today is secular although 26 Anglican bishops still have the right to a seat in the House of Lords given them unique political influence and power. Iran, a theocracy, is the only other legislature to give automatic seats to clerics.
The relationship between religion and state differs from country to country. Officially secular states include Nepal, India, France, USA and Turkey. Each of these countries has a different flavour of secularism, informed by its own particular history and circumstances. Turkey was an example of a secular state which worked well for everyone but unfortunately the current President has Islamist tendencies is dismantling secularism to increase the influence of religion over state affairs. France was declared a Secular state in 1905 and the United States was founded on secularist principles through Thomas Jefferson. In England disestablishment of the Church of England would mean cutting the ties between religion and state and an end to religious privilege. The UK has a strong Christian heritage, but recent polls suggest around the population do not hold religious beliefs. The kind of Secularism the NSS campaigns for can be summed as live and let live, but within limits.
Secularism is against the state paying for schools run by a particular faith. In England the Church of England schools are the most common, but the state also funds Roman Catholic, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh schools. Schools in Scotland are Roman Catholic (denominational) or non-denominational.
Faith schools can divide and isolate children, and the views of the teachers can be strongly put over in the education process. Faith schools can limit the choice of parents and encourage sectarianism. Inclusive secular schools encourage integration and inclusivity Article 9 of the Human Rights Act protects everyone’s religious freedom. All beliefs are protected, including the right not to believe. The right to manifest a belief is a limited right to ensure beliefs are not impose on others and everyone’s rights are balanced fairly. Religion should not provide an excuse not to live by the law of the land.
Secularism offers us the best chance to live together in peace. It is a political philosophy that protects believers and nonbelievers alike. Everyone should be treated equally, living their own choices within the law.