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How, realistically, do we get rid of faith schools?

I am disturbed and dismayed by the fact that religious privilege and exceptionalism (i'll focus here on the UK) not only persists, but is supported by ALL the major corporate actors in our political landscape: National newspaper editors; teaching unions; the NUS; the BBC ( a publicly funded body), along with the other major media outlets; the CBI; and ALL of our main political parties - in short, all of our major opinion-forming organisations, support the continuance of religious privilege and exceptionalism.

It goes without saying that none of these bodies are dominated by those who pay serious attention to religious scripture. They all have essentially non-theological reasons for advocating the continuation of religious privilege and exceptionalism. This little self-evident fact is frequently overlooked, and because it is overlooked, too much vague hope is placed upon the alleged potency of altering the zeitgeist. The "strategy" of many seems to be that if the proportion of atheists, sceptics and agnostics can be significantly increased among the general population this will result in public policy which no longer allows religious privilege and exceptionalism to continue.

But there is no reason to believe that this will happen, for the simple reason that, as i've already said, none of our currently most powerful political actors are religious in any meaningful sense. We already have a political class that is essentially non-religious, and as we already know, they are quite happy to defend the continuation of religious privilege and exceptionalism. So simply altering the zeitgeist in favour of atheism and agnosticism isn't going to work.

There are numerous instances of religious privilege and exceptionism currently in force, but for brevity i'll simply highlight one: Faith Schools.

To the best of my knowledge none of the political , opinion-forming bodies mentioned above oppose faith schools. This being so, it is very difficult to imagine any event or arguments which could persuade such organisations to change their minds. The only possibility I can imagine is if faith schools repeatedly came low on all the major indices regarding "performance", but i'm unaware of any data which supports such a correlation (our opponents are not that stupid!).

So my question addressed to all those who oppose faith schools is this: by what means do you imagine faith schools can ever be abolished? Are there any lessons and parallels we can draw from history whereby seemingly entrenched laws and opinions were subsequently overturned? Political norms obviously change, there were times when to advocate universal suffrage, for example, would have been greeted by laughter or moral outrage. But merely pointing out that things can change, without understanding what specific ideological and material forces brought about that change, isn't going to help anyone. Are there any specific ideological or material forces currently on the horizon which have the capacity to assist in the abolition of faith schools?

TAGGED: ACTIVISM, FAITH SCHOOLS, RELIGION


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