The video footage of me leading the fourth humanist Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament;
Full text is:
“Members of the Scottish Parliament, I would like to tell you a story about a wee boy from a land far, far away.
It was a wonderful land, made rich by the many different cultures and practices that had developed over the course of its ancient history.
This wee boy though, was born into one particular clan that was marred by division and differences, so they largely kept themselves to themselves: even their children were only allowed to play with others of their clan.
This wee boy loved his clan, but eventually he decided to go out into the world and seek adventure. As he wandered far and wide, he was astounded to discover that there were other clans, who believed different things, but who believed them with just the same passion as his own.
Even stranger – he met some people who said they didn’t belong to any clan at all. They also spoke in a strange language, and there was a phrase they used that stuck in his mind.
“For a’ that, an’ a’ that, it’s coming yet for a’ that”, they said, “That Man to Man, the world o’er, Shall brothers be for a’ that”.
The wee boy, now a young man, liked that idea a lot. He saw that this could be a way of uniting the clans, by telling them that they were all part of an even greater clan: the clan called humanity, in which everyone was equal: men and women, black and white, gay and straight, able and disabled.
He began to tell people about his big idea, but to his surprise, some of them weren’t interested. They told him that the old ways were the best ways, and that anyway, the man who’d written the poem he liked so much was a scoundrel and rogue, so they werenae gonnae be telt how to behave by the likes of him!
The young man was frustrated, but he decided that when he grew up, he’d do everything in his power to ensure that the children of his land would grow up to look for the things that made them like other people, rather than different from them; to learn to wonder, to think for themselves, and to question what the words ‘fairness’, ‘equality’ and ‘democracy’ really mean. What they mean to me is secularism: the only guarantee that everyone will be the treated fairly and equally, whatever they belief.
As only the fourth humanist to address this parliament, and as part of an organisation that works to promote secularism in public life and reflects the views of the millions of Scots who value ‘fairness’, ‘equality’ and ‘democracy’ in public life, I leave you with those questions and thank you for listening.”