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Gary McLelland

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Gary McLelland
Born (1988-08-05) 5 August 1988 (age 30)
ResidenceLondon
NationalityBritish
EducationLL.M. Human Rights Law, BSc (hons) Psychology, DipCYS
Alma materThe Open University, Strathclyde University
OccupationChief Executive of the International Humanist and Ethical Union
Known forHumanist campaigning, human rights advocacy, politics
Political partyLiberal Democrats
MovementHumanism
Board member ofEuropean Humanist Federation (2015-2017), Edinburgh Secular Society (2013-2014), Humanist and Secularist Liberal Democrats (Chair 2014-2016)

Gary McLelland, MCMI, MCIPR (born 05 August 1988) is a leading international Humanist, atheist and republican campaigner who is the Chief Executive of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.[1]. He has spoken at the Scottish, UK and European Parliaments and the United Nations Human Rights Committee[2] and is a leading authority on blasphemy laws globally[3].

As Chief Executive McLelland plays a leading role in the global humanist movement. McLelland was also the founding chair of Edinburgh Secular Society in 2013, and former Head of Communications and Public Affairs at the Humanist Society Scotland from 2013 to 2017[4][5]. McLelland was also a Board member of the European Humanist Federation from 2015 until 2017[6].

Positions[edit | edit source]

McLelland was appointed the education officer of Humanist Society Scotland in October 2013, and promoted to the position of Head of Communications and Public Affairs[6].

McLelland started work as the Chief Executive of the International Humanist and Ethical Union in February 2017[7], after having been appointed in December of the previous year[8].

He is also a member of the Chartered Management Institute and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, European Humanist Professionals and the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations and the Liberal Democrats.

Views[edit | edit source]

McLelland was raised a Roman Catholic in the west of Scotland, and became an atheist in his teenage years[9][10].

McLelland is a regular contributor to public debates on religion in public life in Scotland and the rest of the UK. McLelland has taken part in many debates with religious leaders such as David Robertson[11], Bishop John Keenan, Richard Holloway[12] and others as well as political figures such as John Mason MSP and Patrick Harvie MSP[13].

In 2014 McLelland was invited by the Deputy Presiding Officer of The Scottish Parliament, Elaine Smith MSP, to address the Parliament[14]. McLelland, a vocal critic of the religiously based denominational education system in Scotland, delivered a 'parable on the dangers of segregated schooling'[15]

Politics[edit | edit source]

In 2014 McLelland was elected chair of Humanist and Secularist Liberal Democrats, a group within the Liberal Democrat party which promotes secularism and humanism[16]

McLelland stood as a candidate in the 2015 General Election for the Scottish Liberal Democrats in Glasgow East[17][18] against former Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran. He came fifth with 0.7% of the vote Glasgow East (UK Parliament constituency), making the candidate with the lowest ever vote for the Liberal Democrat party[19]

During the campaign McLelland made numerous statements and speeches concerning blasphemy and censorship[20]

In 2015 McLelland successfully secured a change in Scottish Liberal Democrat policy to support assisted dying[21], ahead of a vote on the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill[22]. Supporters of the policy included Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, Baroness Sal Brinton, Lord Jeremy Purvis, Jim Hume MSP and Liam McArthur MSP.

During an important debate on freedom of religion and belief proposed by Maajid Nawaz at the 2015 Spring Lib Dem conference[23][24] McLelland spoke out on an amendment to call for the abolition of laws which interfere with the right to choose, practice or change one's religion or to have no religion[25]. He said:

"numerous European countries – many of which are EU Member States – still condemn and penalise blasphemy and/or religious insult. Blasphemy laws are still in place in a minority of EU Member States (including Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Ireland) and “religious insult’ or “vilification” of religious feelings and dogmas are still an offence in a large number of Member States"[26]

This amendment was carried.

McLelland supported a 'no vote' in the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, saying at an event in the UK House of Lords that the Yes campaign had been dominated by populist rhetoric, adding "Populism is the symptom of disengagement of people from politics.[27]"

In August 2015 McLelland stood unsuccessfully as a candidate in the Glasgow City/Anderston by-election, coming fifth[28]

See also[edit | edit source]


Others articles of the Topic Atheism : Al Stefanelli
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References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Atheist conference gets under way". The Hindu. Special Correspondent, Special Correspondent. 2018-01-06. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  2. "At the United Nations, IHEU Chief Executive condemns 'shameful' caste discrimination". IHEU. 2018-03-22. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  3. McLelland, Gary (December 2018). "Blasphemy at the European Court of Human Rights: An argument for reform". Cosmopolis – via ISSN.
  4. "Leap of faith". Holyrood Magazine. 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  5. "Uncovering the Humanist Philosophy". The Student. 2015-03-24. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Humanist Society Scotland lose public affairs boss to global organisation".
  7. "Humanist Society Scotland lose public affairs boss to global organisation". Third Force News. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  8. "Selbsterklärter "Humanist" zu Tode geprügelt" (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  9. Jacobsen, Scott (2017-09-19). "In-Depth Chat with Gary McLelland — Chief Executive, IHEU". Medium. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  10. "Conversation with Gary McLelland – Chief Executive, International Humanist and Ethical Union". Canadian Atheist. 2017-09-19. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  11. 1962-, Robertson, David,. Magnificent Obsession : Why Jesus Is Great. Fearn, Ross-shire. ISBN 9781781912713. OCLC 860753376.
  12. Humanist Society Scotland (2015-09-20), Humanism and Christianity: Friends or Foes?, retrieved 2017-07-29
  13. Scotland, Humanist Society (2014-01-30), HSS Education Debate: "What role should religious faith play in Scottish education?", retrieved 2017-07-29
  14. "BUSINESS BULLETIN No. 72/2014" (PDF). The Scottish Parliament. 2 May 2014.
  15. "Scottish Parliament Challenged over 'Time for Reflection'." States News Service. States News Service. 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2017 from HighBeam Research: [https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-367282930.html HighBeam]{{dead link|date=February 2019|bot=medic}}{{cbignore|bot=medic}}
  16. "Conference decisions: support for humanist marriage; major commitment to freedom of expression and belief". Humanist & Secularist Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  17. http://www.libdems.org.uk/ (2015-03-04). "List of selected candidates". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  18. "BBC Interview". BBC News. 6 March 2015.
  19. "United Kingdom general election records". Wikipedia. 2017-07-17.
  20. Stewart-Robertson, Tristan (2015-04-16). "Glasgow Muslim group and Amnesty International hold election hustings - Ukip declined to attend". dailyrecord. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  21. "Scottish Conference decision: support for assisted dying". Humanist & Secularist Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  22. "Assisted Suicide Backed By Lib Dems". Clyde 1. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  23. "New policy in full: Freedom of Expression and Belief". Humanist & Secularist Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  24. Liberal Democrats (2015-03-15), Freedom of expression in Europe and beyond | Maajid Namaz, retrieved 2017-07-29
  25. "Conference Daily Sunday 15th March Spring 2015". issuu. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  26. "Gary McLelland speaking in support of policy motion: Freedom of expression in Europe and beyond". Gary McLelland. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  27. "After the Scottish referendum, what new opportunities are there for greater democratic engagement for whole of the UK? - North East Humanists". North East Humanists. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  28. http://www.libdems.org.uk/. "By-election Candidates ready for 6 August". Greater Glasgow Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 2017-07-29.

External links[edit | edit source]


Category:Living people Category:Scottish humanists Category:Scottish_republicans Category:Scottish atheists Category:Alumni_of_the_Open_University Category:Alumni_of_the_University_of_Strathclyde Category:People from East Kilbride Category:1988 births

three top references given[edit | edit source]

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