FEBRUARY 03, 2017 by Stephen McLaren

'OCH' at the Scottish Parliament

“My thanks to the Presiding Officer, Willie Rennie and members for the opportunity to present ‘Time For  Reflection’ today”   (31/1/17 Ron McLaren)



My tribute is to you & the Parliament.   In recent years via my inclusion as a secular humanist contributor to 4 NHS related initiatives & publications,  2003 brought cross-party concern re NHS cost inflation. It inspired a Scoping Study.  Who at the biological garage cares for the non-religious ?  It affirmed a secular whole person approach to all faiths/none, broadening chaplains role, testing their single faith allegiance & comfort of their spiritual homes.  Spiritual Care was born, transformational, NHS allied professional silos set aside. eg. A non-religious patient seeking help…“Sorry but I’m not religious”….brought… “Neither am I”  …from the spiritual care/chaplain. Civvy garb with no clerical code in sight, a secular NHS alive & well.

Harmony project   involving mainstream faiths/beliefs   Where’s the common ground ?  Secular approach needed, no-one privileged but  all eager to accept each other’s right to be. Reluctance to bridge foundational differences, so on what would all agree?   Unanimity emerged, the ‘Golden Rule’. Jo Cox MP. was the epitomy of secular inclusion, her words of unity more relevant now than ever before. Probably the best role model as the  individual who inspired relationships into buttresses of inclusion. Her community of  ‘everyone was a member’, creed/race/colour/gender etc didn’t  matter. All treated as part of Jo’s human family, 24/7, no barriers to engagement.  Sadly, brought to an untimely end by  that mind set of extreme political ideology which envied her outreach & in-reach, our democratic rights viewed as evil.    Belief in Dialogue  Again, a secular vision needed for its  focus on changing social society, its diversity mix of faith/belief/none.  Importance…dialogue…understanding…acceptance. A wedding conducted at Auchtermuchty, under the nearby gaze of Sir Jimmy Shand’s statue. Everyone was from ‘Muchty’.  Auchter?...dismissed ! An auld Scots dictionary revealed…‘Auchter’…..’high ground above pig rearing’ ! Scanning further,  a game changer.  ‘Och’… “a  frustrated.. oh yes”…  “Och TV’s crap…em awa tae ma bed”   “Och yer havering… em awa tae the pub”    OCH.. yes …. The acronym…  Aviation-Obstacle Clearance Height   Astrophysics-Orbiter Common Hardware. Then it suddenly dawned on me…OCH ?? ….Our Common Humanity! A universal label. Our single species, given requisite fertility in members from opposite ends of the earth,  procreation is assured. How common is that ?  Undeniable !

TFR is an all inclusive mantra. It affirms secular inclusivity for all.   No privilege   except via the democratic process.  But sadly,  secular is often misrepresented.   Wrongly tagged as aggressive, posing a threat? To ensure superior moral monopoly is preserved ?  NOT AT ALL !   Its militancy is a myth   It’s inclusive   It’s secular ! 

MSP’s, Scotland needs you to go well, for our common good.  My hope is for you to become truly secular. Outcomes will get better,  better  & better.  OCH !  Thank you. "OCH"

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