The Curmudgeon


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Most Grievous Default

That representative of the Eternal, that conscience of the nation, that uncompromising champion of intellectual honesty and moral rigour, the Church of England, has declared that "either overtly or by default, this country is still a Christian one". Overtly or by default - what a wealth of stern principle and spiritual sustenance is here contained! The principle in this case is that a Tyneside head teacher shall not be permitted to dodge the legal requirement that pupils in all state schools must be compelled to take part in "a daily act of worship of a broadly Christian nature", unless they happen to be attending a faith school which is attuned to a different superstition. Dr Paul Kelley of Monkseaton High School "wanted to change the way that religious education was taught, introducing tuition about a number of world views, some that involved faith and some that did not". The Minister for Faith Schools, Jim Knight, admitted that "The majority of schools do not have a religious character, and are not affiliated to any faith group", so naturally "all schools, faith and non-faith alike, must teach religious education as part of the basic curriculum". However, in non-religious schools "this will focus on learning about different religions and the role they play in today's world, not religious instruction"; hence the need for an overt daily act of worship the nature of which is, by default, broadly Christian. Dr Kelley has been told that his plans "would be popular", but that their implementation was "politically impossible" because our pious ministers, and the bishops in the House of Donors, would block any such idea. "If he is arguing for a way for individual schools to opt out of those bits of the act he does not like," said a spokesbeing for the Faith which at this moment is tearing itself apart over the question of whether to opt out of Leviticus 20 xiii, "that is not something we would support."


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