Children need religion – yeah, like motorbikes need ashtrays!
EVER wonder why the House of Lords in London have bishops sitting on its benches?
To talk drivel of course – as the Anglican Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Christopher Herbert, did yesterday when he urged the Government to take care of the “moral and spiritual development” of children.
Wittering on during a debate on the Government’s Education and Skills Bill, the bishop said the spiritual requirements of under-18s who are not at school should be considered.
For “spiritual requirements” read religious indoctrination. And what, precisely, would such indoctrination achieve?
Why, It would lead to a better understanding of different faiths, and improved “social cohesion”.
“Cohesion”? What a laugh coming bishop whose church is currently tearing itself apart over the issue of gay clergy and women priests?
According to this report, the Bill will require all young people to remain in education or training until the age of 18, but Bishop Herbert said that current provisions on spiritual and moral development only apply to schools and not colleges.
If schools are failing at this task, which one assumes from his words is indeed the case, will colleges fare any better?
The bishop seems to thing so:
What I propose is simple: all young people, not just those who are gifted or lucky enough to be pursuing A-level studies in schools, should be entitled to provision for their moral and spiritual development and should be faced with those moral and spiritual challenges that go with adult life. Human flourishing is not solely dependent on the acquisition of skills.
The bishop said he could name examples of excellent practice in colleges in his own diocese which run “imaginative and innovative programmes to engage with different faiths and encourage greater social cohesion”.
But he added:
Only half of further education colleges have chaplaincies while other colleges argue that they are not funded to provide for students’ spiritual and moral development and yet others that insist that these issues are purely a private matter.
But they are not a private matter – they affect public life at every level of society. In further education where a higher proportion of students are from black and ethnic minorities and from white working class estates where gang culture can be prevalent, these young people deserve above all an education that, prepares them for all the responsibilities and experiences of adult life.
One of the stated aims of the National Secular Society, and the Freethinker, is to have the unelected bishops ousted from the Lords precisely so that the secular business of state should proceed without vacuous interventions by the likes of the Bishop of St Albans.