This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Nofaithnoworship - epetition response

Nofaithnoworship - epetition response - Comments

submoron's Avatar Comment 1 by submoron

I signed; this is what I expected, but we won't give up.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 12:58:00 UTC | #408238

PrimeNumbers's Avatar Comment 2 by PrimeNumbers

Somewhat expected, but what a BS answer. Don't the stats now show the UK is not broadly Christian?

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 13:06:00 UTC | #408240

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 3 by Apathy personified

From the official response -

We believe that collective worship provides the opportunity for pupils to reflect on spiritual and moral issues and to explore the concept of belief. It also offers a unique opportunity to develop and celebrate the school’s ethos and establish shared values within the school community.

Really, is that what you believe? Prove it. What utter shit.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 13:17:00 UTC | #408243

A's Avatar Comment 4 by A

Hmmmm . . . . asides the posthumous apology to Alan Turing does anyone know of any successful petitions ?

By that I mean one's that have steered or introduced legislation (rather than the symbolic apology) ?

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 13:24:00 UTC | #408247

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 5 by Cartomancer

We believe that collective worship provides the opportunity for pupils to reflect on spiritual and moral issues and to explore the concept of belief. It also offers a unique opportunity to develop and celebrate the school’s ethos and establish shared values within the school community.
If those are the reasons for it then they could be addressed much more coherently in an obligatory moral and ethical philosophy class. Or, indeed, ten minutes of free time. And what if the school neither has, nor wants, a theistic ethos, much less a christian one? In fact, the very stipulation that there be worship of a broadly christian character mandates the introduction of a very specific kind of theism into these proceedings. Far from allowing free reflection on morality and exploration of the concept of belief, it in fact stifles those things. One is not reflecting on a concept when one is worshipping it, and worship is a concept largely alien to any sensible discussion of morality. Furthermore, the stipulation of theistic christianity mandates exactly what those "shared values" in the community should be. And they are not pretty. I would perhaps venture to suggest that the need for a reform of our shared communal values has arisen largely in response to the cultural values religion has left us with - simmering intolerance, misogyny, homophobia, racism and a lack of critical thinking.

No, they've got it completely the wrong way around. Parents should not have to specifically object to the harm that collective worship causes.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 13:48:00 UTC | #408254

JackR's Avatar Comment 6 by JackR

All community, foundation or voluntary schools must offer a daily act of collective insanity which is broadly of a Christian character, in keeping with one particular variety of collective insanity that used to be far more widespread in this country. This should be appropriate to the age and family background of the pupils but obviously can be no such thing because I just said it should be broadly Christian in character, so tough luck Muslims, Hindus, Jews and atheists.

Collective insanity is a long standing aspect of school life and the government believes that sort of fallacious appeal to tradition ought to persuade you to shut up. Many parents want their children to benefit from collective insanity whether or not they have a strong insane belief themselves. The fact that many other parents want no such thing is irrelevant to this government's religious prejudices, so kindly shut up. Schools can apply to the SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education) for a determination to have the requirement for collective insanity lifted, if it is not appropriate for the pupils in their school. We choose not to consider the doublethink necessary in order to, on the one hand, admit that collective insanity can be 'inappropriate' for a school, yet on the other hand to insist that the default position should be that it is perfectly appropriate.

We believe that collective insanity provides the opportunity for pupils to reflect on spiritual and moral issues and to explore the concept of belief. We do not consider the sheer offensiveness of making such obviously highly personal thoughts and considerations compulsory for everyone and imposed via mass ritual. This is because we are spiritual fascists; deal with it. It also offers a unique opportunity to develop and celebrate the school’s ethos and establish shared values within the school community, but we insist that ethos and those values must be broadly Christian, and the kids will be compelled to "share" them. Aren't we the cutest?

Parents have the right to withdraw their child from collective insanity, and pupils in the sixth form have the right to withdraw without parental consent. This right should be freely exercisable and a school must agree to any such request (did you catch how that last bit totally undercuts the rest? Damn, we rock). Parents do not have to state their reasons for wanting to withdraw their child from collective insanity. And you'd better believe we're not going to state any reasonable reasons for opposing such withdrawal. Now fuck off, you unchristian swine.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 13:52:00 UTC | #408255

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 7 by Jos Gibbons

I signed this petition and received the response a few days ago, and was outraged by the non-answers it provides. It reminds us that collective worship is compulsory (which is what we're objecting to), points out it's been that way for ages (as if that's ever been a productive way of doing politics), confuses letting parents put their kids into prayer groups with helping them by putting them in school (as opposed to the churches, mosques etc. to which the kids already go), and professes belief about what to do without defending it. And then it makes the aforementioned confusion again.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 13:57:00 UTC | #408257

j.mills's Avatar Comment 8 by j.mills

Ya nailed it, Jack Rawlinson!

What a cowardly piece of dishonest bullshit.

We believe that collective worship provides the opportunity for pupils to reflect on spiritual and moral issues and to explore the concept of belief.
It did no such thing for me. It bored my pants off and made me resent mumbling through stupid gobbledegook prayers and singing weary hymns and listening to the insipid platitudes of RE teachers stuck with the job of leading the assembly. But perhaps I'm arguing for "collective worship"...
It also offers a unique opportunity to develop and celebrate the school’s ethos and establish shared values within the school community.
Wank, but if it were true, in what way does this require the assumption of the existence of gods?

This not-listening, not-listening kind of response from governments is exactly what makes people despise politicians. This isn't 'democracy in action', it's squalid and demeaning stone-walling.

EDIT: There was one boy at our school who didn't go to assembly but sat alone in a classroom, for obscure reasons (Jehovah's Witness). It gave him an edgy celebrity. Looking back, how much better it would have been to spend 20 minutes each morning reading a good book, while my classmates trudged off to their collective boredom. UK atheists: withdraw your kids!

Mind you, assembly was also where school news was announced, prizes awarded, stuff like that. You shouldn't have to miss out on the secular stuff to avoid the god-bothering. It's a bloody stupid system.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 14:12:00 UTC | #408259

GordonGoblin's Avatar Comment 9 by GordonGoblin

They have a tendency to go for gutless answers on petitions like this. In this case it is almost like they didnt read the petition...

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 14:23:00 UTC | #408264

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 10 by Nunbeliever

I read the goverment's response three times, but could actually not find any real arguments... just meaningless words...

It also offers a unique opportunity to develop and celebrate the school’s ethos and establish shared values within the school community.

What on earth does that mean? Shared values? Are they really so arrogant that they openly suggest christian values should be the basis for all public schools' values? And what has collective worship got to do with celebrating and developing the school's ethos???

Are they using some sort of automatical response software? I find it hard to believe that thinking human beings can come up with GIBBERISH like this.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 14:26:00 UTC | #408266

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 11 by TIKI AL

It must be pretty sad, frustrating, and disgusting to be subjected to a godbot policy that couldn't even hold up here in Jeebusland, USA.

Do they also have 10 commandment monuments in public places, like we fought for years to get rid of here in the states?

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 14:51:00 UTC | #408272

blakjack's Avatar Comment 12 by blakjack

It is ridiculous that school children are required to attend collective worship, but if anything, it turns them off religion so much that they subsequently become “good atheists”. There is a parallel argument about “faith schools”. I was sent to a Catholic Primary (with all the bells and whistles) and that clearly set the seeds for my subsequent disbelief.

So ironically, I am happy for collective worship, faith schools, etc.; that provides the happy breeding ground for atheists. My own children went to a C of E sponsored school simply through lack of choice (I live in a country area where schools are few and far between. I didn’t particularly like the idea but that education certainly didn’t turn them into Christians – very much the reverse. But I had the benefit of the Church’s money (sponsorship). If the Church is stupid enough to put money into producing atheists, then so be it. Why should I complain?


Sun, 25 Oct 2009 14:51:00 UTC | #408273

mrjohnno's Avatar Comment 13 by mrjohnno

Wankers. Shoot every last man jack of them.


Sun, 25 Oct 2009 15:14:00 UTC | #408277

ZIwxBeheld's Avatar Comment 14 by ZIwxBeheld

In my school, assembly is used by three atheist teachers (including me) as a chance to discuss common moral issues and sing vaguely season-based songs. If anything, we have a mixed consequentialist-pagan ceremony! :)

Small comfort, but few UK school 'collective worship' ceremonies are actually religious.

More interesting to me is that no parents (during my ten years of teaching) have ever removed their chidren from these collective worship sessions. Do you remove yours?

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 15:29:00 UTC | #408279

blakjack's Avatar Comment 15 by blakjack

Quote: "Do you remove yours?"

That’s history now, but I never did remove them. I was happy for them to be exposed to all that nonsense. Three happy non-believers are the result.


Sun, 25 Oct 2009 15:37:00 UTC | #408280

Stella's Avatar Comment 16 by Stella

Having lived in the UK from 2001-2005 (and loved it!), I am continually dismayed at the government's failure to keep up with the people. The social religious pressure in the US suffocating, but at least the law is on our side. I mean... shit.

I can't believe a "Labour" government in a western democracy is still propping up this tired, old, established church BS. It's clearly a violation of children's human rights.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 17:34:00 UTC | #408293

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 17 by the great teapot

What a waste of precious time and resources.
How long has it been daily, my school in the seventies and eighties only did it weekly, and my sixth form didn't do it at all.
Thank god. All that miming, mumbling and 300 kids pretending to pray was embarrasing beyond belief.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 18:05:00 UTC | #408302

DarwinsChihuahua's Avatar Comment 18 by DarwinsChihuahua

"no faith now or ship"

What does that mean?

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 19:04:00 UTC | #408320

sara g's Avatar Comment 19 by sara g

DarwinsChihuahua, duh, it means if you don't get rid of your faith now, you should ship out. ;)

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 19:07:00 UTC | #408321

Rawhard Dickins's Avatar Comment 20 by Rawhard Dickins

"Schools must offer a daily act of collective worship which is broadly Christian"

In other words: Schools must offer a daily act of. ..

.. . . talking to voices in your head that you pretend to be some sort of superman that made everything including himself and one man in the remote and backward part of the middle east 2000 years ago was his son who apparently had magical powers.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 19:39:00 UTC | #408332

nalfeshnee's Avatar Comment 21 by nalfeshnee

Jack, that was possibly one of the best posts I read on any forum all week.

Superb, sir.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 21:01:00 UTC | #408354

GalacticAtom's Avatar Comment 22 by GalacticAtom

the great teapot wrote:

How long has it been daily, my school in the seventies and eighties only did it weekly, and my sixth form didn't do it at all.

The requirement for a daily act of worship dates at least from the Butler Education Act of 1944. Your school, like mine and many others, was breaking the law.

What a doubly bad example to set our kids: a legal obligation to impose sky-daddy fantasy on them, and then the sight of the government's own schools breaking its laws!

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 21:47:00 UTC | #408370

Inside centre's Avatar Comment 23 by Inside centre

@ the great teapot and GalacticAtom

For me it was every day at primary school but once a week at secondary and VI form. Plus 'harvest festival' (whatever that is), christmas and easter.

Mostly it was dull rather than anything else. In fact I distincly remember getting thrown out of assembly in 1994 for changing the words of a particularly dire dirge of hymn to reflect the teams in the football world cup later that year.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 22:07:00 UTC | #408381

davem's Avatar Comment 24 by davem

It was during a school assembly that I realised that I was an atheist. It was the being incredibly bored, all that singing of dismal hymns, and realising that I had forgotten the words of the Lords Prayer, despite having recited them mon-fri for years on end that did it.

Long live compulsory religion - atheism's best friend!

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 22:30:00 UTC | #408391

Notstrident's Avatar Comment 25 by Notstrident

I recall that the great (though fictional) twit, Bertie Wooster, won a prize for Scripture Knowledge when in school. Only thing he ever accomplished in the long useless life P.G. Wodehouse invented for him. At least he didn't have to be Born Again, as he would have if he had been here in the U.S.
I always figured the English politicians must be as bad a bunch of mealy-mouthed gasbags as they are here, but I didn't realize that The Redeemer had reared its ugly head to that extent for you too. We all have a long way to go, but we must not quit trying.

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 23:27:00 UTC | #408411

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 26 by aquilacane

How would they deal with a kid who refuses to worship?

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 04:16:00 UTC | #408491

Ilovelucy's Avatar Comment 27 by Ilovelucy

The number 10 petition initiative is useless. It is just another Blairite platitude, a sop to make voters feel that they did something pro-active towards a certain issue.

Have any of these petitions ever had an effect on anything since they were introduced? All they seem to generate is a vapid response from a put upon civil servant, looking up the official policy and then parroting it back to us with a general opening statement to imply that they have read it.

I've seen a more pro-active response from supermarket complaint departments, but I suppose that's because they stand an actual risk of losing your money.

I repeat, the number ten petition site is there for their convenience and not ours. It's a nice little tactic for delaying and dissuading real affirmative action.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 10:45:00 UTC | #408542

mixmastergaz's Avatar Comment 28 by mixmastergaz

Of course, Jack R has nailed it but I think he overlooked a bit:-

"Thank you for your petition but the thing is, we're in a bit of a dire position in the opinion polls at the moment. Honestly, we only set up these online petition thingies in order to find a few populist vote-winning causes we could pretend to be concerned about. Of course you're completely right, these daily acts of collective worship are an aberration but they keep the horses happy and we don't want to upset them, or more importantly, lose their votes by appearing to agree with godless scumbags.

You'd be better off with a petition to the BBC about 'Thought for the Day' or something else, because all you've done here is give us the chance to demonstrate, yet again, our commitment to giving special privileges to the religious and disregarding the rights of the non-religious. Not that most of us are actually religious ourselves you understand, but we are breath-takingly hypocritical.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 10:52:00 UTC | #408544

der_lane's Avatar Comment 29 by der_lane

darwins chihuahua its no faith no worship. i got it right away. i went to a catholic primary and secondary in Ireland. i got sick of that nonsense at a young age. i may have always been an atheist. i always hated religion class. we had to pray at the start of the day. i share the same name as dermot lane the theologian. that really pissed me off when i found out in the books my RE teacher wrote.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 12:58:00 UTC | #408570

pipsy's Avatar Comment 30 by pipsy

If only 'Thought for the Day' was something useful. Like a snippet from Philosophy or Science or about something that had occurred on that particular day in History that was of genuine use.

Mon, 26 Oct 2009 13:02:00 UTC | #408571