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Defence Secretary rejects Army’s Christianity-free Acts of Remembrance policy

by Tola Mbakwe

It’s been reported that the UK Army wants soldiers to stay away from using “religious elements” in Acts of Remembrance on Armistice Day.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, the Army’s policies on diversity and inclusion say Acts of Remembrance should “be agnostic of religious elements and separated from Remembrance Services. This may be achieved by holding a religious service after the Act of Remembrance.”

The British Legion website states that: “The Act of Remembrance is brief and non-religious, making it exceptionally well-suited to personalised commemorations.”

A group of retired senior officers have written to the Defence Secretary Grant Schapps expressing disappointment about the policy, claiming that: “No one should need to be reminded that this is a welcoming, inclusive and basically Christian country.”

Mr Shapps is said to be furious about the rule and told the newspaper: “…no one should be offended by having religion as part of remembrance services. You don’t have to be Christian to appreciate and respect the history and traditions of the United Kingdom.”

The controversy is part of a wider pushback against the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) diversity policies.

Leaked documents seen by the Sunday Telegraph suggest the Army's considering relaxing security checks for overseas recruits.

Mr Shapps has ordered a MoD diversity review, and has said there will be "no lowering of clearance requirements".

“We want people from all backgrounds to serve in our military but some policies appear to be more about a political agenda than practically improving the lives of our dedicated soldiers and military personnel,” he said.

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