BHA2106 – A Republican Amongst Humanists; Shared Values.

The events of the past week have shown only too clearly the dire state of the UK Constitution and the danger of racism and fanaticism which lurks close to the surface of our society. So, though this post is a little overdue, I decided that the importance of both the Republic Campaign and British Humanist Association organisations made it worth pursuing. Here are my brief impressions of the BHA Conference 2016 held between 10th and 12th June (only last weekend, surely!!).  This year the Conference was held in at the International Conference Centre in Birmingham and the local Republic group seized the opportunity to have a presence by means of a stand in the main hall.  Along with the co-ordinator of Republic Birmingham it was a great pleasure to attend for the Saturday, commitments preventing me attending on the Sunday.

What was particularly significant is that Humanism and modern Republicanism share a common heritage in the Renaissance, inspired by the governmental writings of the classical world, especially Aristotle, Polybius, and Cicero. Indeed, Classical Republicanism was a synonym for Civic Humanism. Since these beginnings in the Italian City States  of the 15th and 16th Centuries  Republicanism and Humanism have drift apart slightly in terms of their objectives, with modern Republicanism placing the advancement of liberty in political and constitutional terms as its central concern. This allows religious groups such as Quakers to espouse Republicanism but not Humanism.

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