These dim-wits believe in anything but God
Added: Fri, 16 May 2008 23:00:00 UTC
Thanks to Monty Burns for the link.
These dim-wits believe in anything but God
By George Pitcher
Parents should be warned that there is a growing threat to their children, undetected by the electric gates and security cameras of their schools. It is insidious because it is absolutist, intolerant and threatens the opportunity for young people to complete their education as rounded individuals with critical, discerning minds.
A parliamentary joint committee on human rights let it be known yesterday that it reckons under-16s should be allowed to opt out of the religious education component of their syllabus if they disagree with its content. The MPs claim that the Government could be breaching pupils' rights to freedom of thought, conscience and belief, as defined under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"We recommend that the Government reconsiders its objection to permitting a child of sufficient maturity, intelligence and understanding to withdraw from religious education," intone the parliamentary thought police. "As for religious worship, we recommend that children who are not in the sixth form but who have sufficient maturity, intelligence and understanding to be permitted to withdraw."
The National Secular Society (NSS), the dreary ogre behind all this kind of nonsense, chimes in: "Around two thirds of secondary school students do not define themselves as religious and their freedom of conscience - guaranteed in every human rights charter to which the UK is a signatory - is being violated by the Government. School children are a captive audience for both Collective Worship and Religious Education."
I can't be bothered to examine what a bunch of dim-witted MPs can possibly mean in this context by under-16s "of sufficient maturity, intelligence and understanding". Are they seriously suggesting that the only pupils for whom religious education should be compulsory, against their will, are the immature, thick and ignorant?
The NSS's agenda is simple: it wants to force the next generation to stop thinking about the spiritual, the transcendental and the mysterious, in favour of a negative utilitarianism. That can be the only reason for picking on this particular bit of the syllabus. I would have embraced Satan in order to give up physics at school; not because it may have flown in the face of a fundamentalist creationism that had seeded in my soul, but because latent heat and absolute density bored me to tears.
Now I'm rather glad I did it; not because I learned very much, but because I did learn what it meant to understand something that I didn't want to. That may be worth pondering when a sufficiently mature and intelligent under-16 says he or she doesn't want to study the Abramic faiths "because they're boring", which is all too often what a matter of conscience amounts to when you're young.
Sure, our ideas of society, constitution and legislature owe limitless debt to secularist Romans and Greeks and other civilisations. But to bin what the Judeo-Christian tradition has bequeathed us in terms of responsibility for the stranger, care for the vulnerable, collective consciousness and our sense of what is right and wrong is utterly ludicrous. That's before we consider what it means to appreciate how these values are inculcated in our children's friends by Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and, yes, by Humanism and Secularism. The enemy of pluralism is not religious education, but secular fundamentalists. And they seem to take no account of the danger of extremists at the margins of religion - better, apparently, to ignore than to understand how they pervert the precepts of the faiths they claim to represent.
You'll forgive me for wheeling out for another appreciation of G.K. Chesterton's old saw that those who stop believing in God don't believe in nothing, they believe in anything. We can easily substitute education for God. That's the future towards which these bossy secularists would like to lead our children.
Happily, their cruel and unusual punishments won't reach the statute book. But we should ask them one question - what is it that they are so afraid of?
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