A UK religious think tank has called for Remembrance Day services to acknowledge civilian deaths on both sides as well as conscientious objectors.
In a new report entitled ‘Reimagining Remembrance’, published ahead of Remembrance Day services, religious think tank Ekklesia has called for a “more equal” remembrance which should involve remembering all those who have died in the wars in which Britain has engaged, not just those in the armed forces.
The report also calls for services to acknowledge those who were shot for cowardice and desertion and those who have died working for peace. This, Ekklesia believes would more “accurately reflect” the realities of war.
According to Ekklesia co-director Jonathan Bartley, “Remembrance that does not tell the truth or match words with actions is cheap, and fails to honour those who died. Remembrance that excludes people because we feel uncomfortable with what they did is deceitful.” He added, “We need a more honest, equal, and inclusive remembering.”
The report by the group also suggests giving greater prominence to injured soldiers, as well as relatives who continue to suffer long after the deaths of their loved ones.
‘Reimagining Remembrance’ states that atrocities should be remembered alongside acts of bravery, in an attempt to tell the “whole truth”.
Ekklesia has also called on the Catholic Church and the Church of England, which provide chaplains and bishops to the armed forces, to create a chaplain or bishop to the “unarmed forces”.
The report, released in advance of Remembrance Sunday, comes after Ekklesia in 2006 labelled the wearing of red poppies for Remembrance Services as “politically correct” and less Christian than the white variety.