It is with sadness that we announce the death of Richard Green on 23rd October 2016, aged 62.
In 2009 Richard co-founded Atheism UK. He remained a council member becoming Vice President in August 2016.
Richard was a graduate physicist. As a solicitor he made a big contribution to Atheism UK, interpreting government legislation on faith and religion in education policy and secular equality issues.
Richard wrote legally technical documents in response to government consultations including Equal Civil Marriage, Lords Spiritual & Canon Law. He also wrote several policy documents for Atheism UK including Religious Education in Academies, Religious Education, “Spiritual” in Education Legislation & Creationism. Richard wrote a critique of the Dublin Declaration on Religion in Public Life, an alternative draft and a draft declaration. Richard co-wrote a letter to record the religious beliefs of UK MPs.
Using his analytical skills, Richard was able to pinpoint the essential issues in many of our discussions – consequently, some meetings lasted a little longer than others! As a keen scholar of philosophy, he had a particular interest in morality argued from an atheist point of view. This interest helped to inform some of the key principles adopted by Atheism UK.
Richard had an excellent knowledge of world religions and this, combined with his ability to simplify arguments by looking at them from an atheist viewpoint, was a great asset to the organisation.
Richard Green will be remembered for the many incisive blogs he wrote in support of the Atheism UK strapline ‘challenging religious faith’; a strapline that was Richard’s own suggestion. Richard posted over fifty articles for Atheism UK including topics on marriage law (‘Non-religious belief-based marriage: legislation deferred’), Bishops in the Lords (‘No God – No Holy Spirit – No Lords Spiritual’; ‘Lords Spiritual – Atheism UK Responds’), education (‘Challenging Religious Faith – Challenging Faith Schools’), Christianity (‘We are a “Christian country” debunked!’), monarchy (‘Position Statement on Monarchy’), the God Virus (‘Brian Cox Exhibits the God Virus’; ‘Alas Poor Rowan, God Virus Victim!’), blasphemy laws (‘“Son of blasphemy” must be strangled at birth’), Sharia law (‘Many Laws for Many, No Religious Law for Any’) and free speech (‘Nobody has the right not to be offended’). You can read more of Richard’s blogs and articles here.
As well as being a writer, Richard occasionally spoke to non-religious groups. For instance, in 2010 he spoke to Atheist Ireland (watch the video below) and Dorset Humanists.
Our primary target is religious faith
Richard helped to define Atheism UK approach to theistic claims:
“Atheism UK approaches every issue from the premise of atheism, that is that theistic claims are false. Our primary target is religious faith per se, without it the world would be a better place – without the need to replace it with anything else.” (https://youtu.be/z5hDK9UM2io 10:25-10:45m)
Richard spoke eloquently about Faith Schools:
“ the argument [about faith schools] is not so much about their pros and cons; that is to say whether they are more academically successful, or have a better ethos, or better promote community cohesion than other schools.”
“The argument is simply [faith schools] existence is based on a false premise – and that false premise is – God exists. If they are better in some respects that is not due to God – for there is no God. It is due to other factors which can equally exist in non-faith schools” (https://youtu.be/z5hDK9UM2io 10:45 – 11:34m)
Richard Green’s sense of humour
Richard’s brilliant mind and his sharp but gentle sense of humour will be greatly missed at our committee meetings and post-meeting ‘refreshments’.
Mark Embleton & Chris Street