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← Shocking news on state-funded religious schools

Stephen of Wimbledon's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Stephen of Wimbledon

In response to Comment 12 by Richard Dawkins

That is very true, and too often overlooked. I am in touch with my local Liberal party, and I believe this to be so important that I have written to their candidate in the last election too (see below). I urge all UK RDFRS supporters to do likewise.

If you don't know your Liberal candidate, don't worry, you can find the group e-mail address for your neighbours who are in the Lib-Dems by simply entering your post code here: Lib-Dem Search.

I have sent the following e-mail:

Dear [Liberal Candidate],

I have written to [Conservative MP] about this and, through the British Humanist Association, to Michael Gove [Sec. of State for Education]. However, I believe this subject to be so important that I urge you as a Local Representative of the Liberal part of the governing Coalition to also take up this challenge. The text of my letter to [MP] appears below.

  • letter start
  • Dear Sir,

    I wish to express grave concern at how the Church of England is drawing up plans to become the largest provider of state-funded schools and, in particular, has seemingly gained support from the Government for this massive expansion.

    This expansion appears to mean the majority of State schools will be able to discriminate religiously in admissions, in employment and in their curricula.

    All schools should be religiously neutral – and inclusive of pupils and teachers of any religion, or no religion. Our experience of 'faith' schools in Northern Ireland is being ignored - 'faith' schools directly support sectarianism. I cannot understand how the Government can ignore this clear and unambiguous evidence - and condemn our country to a future of sectarian strife that could so easily descend into violence.

    In addition, there appears to be no safeguard for those of us who do not want a Christian education for our children.

    Those who want a religious education for their children can do so through their religion. There is no reason for the State to become involved in spending taxes on religious education when they already enjoy tax benefits not available to other organisations.

    I understand that the Government is now working with the Church to change the rules in order to make it easier for the Church to take on control of schools by allowing inclusive community schools to convert directly into a 'faith’ Academy.

    With the Church actively encouraging the practice, many community schools are likely to become religious Academies. This will leave parents and staff that chose inclusive education suddenly finding their children and careers at a 'faith’ school.

    This matter is of the utmost importance and I urge you to take it up with Michael Gove, and work to ensure the Academies programme does not present religious groups further opportunities to expand their role in education, which I believe will create even greater divisions in our society.

  • letter end
  • While I understand that the Liberals are the junior partners in the Coalition, and that coalition government necessarily requires compromise, I urge you and your party to set this item high on your agenda.

    I will look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards, Stephen of Wimbledon

    Thu, 05 Jan 2012 15:10:50 UTC | #905530