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Schools must teach pupils that Britain is a Christian country

Schools must teach pupils that Britain is a Christian country

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, above, has expressed concerns that secular organisations are using the courts to gain influence in British schools which may eventually be forced to put faith and non-belief on an equal footing.

According to this report, Morgan:

Has had enough of campaign groups using the courts to try and force the teaching of atheism and humanism to kids against parent’s wishes.

So she has today published new guidance to non-faith schools which makes clear that they do not need to give “equal parity” to non-religious views; that they are obliged to teach pupils that Britain is a Christian country and are entitled to prioritise the views of established religions over atheism.

The guidance says that religious education should:

Reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are, in the main Christian.

It also states that there is “no obligation for any school to give equal air time to the teaching of religious and non-religious views” or even cover atheism during GCSE religious studies lessons.

It comes after humanists won a landmark High Court victory which found that the Education Secretary had unlawfully excluded atheism from the school curriculum.

Morgan is concerned that humanists are using the courts as part of a “creeping ratchet effect” which will ultimately see primary schools forced to teach children about atheism.

However, the guidance suggests that non-religious views can be taught in other lessons, a decision described as “significant” by the British Humanist Association (BHA).

It comes after a major inquiry into the place of religion in modern society concluded that Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is.

The two-year commission, chaired by the former senior judge Baroness Butler-Sloss and involving leading religious leaders from all faiths, called for public life in Britain to be systematically de-Christianised.

But a defiant Morgan said:

The Government is determined to protect schools’ freedom to set their own religious studies curriculum, in line with the wishes of parents and the local community. The guidance I have issued today makes absolutely clear that the recent judicial review will have no impact on what is currently being taught in religious education.

I am clear that both faith and non-faith schools are completely entitled to prioritise the teaching of religion and faith over non-religious views if they wish.

A source close to Morgan said that she has it up here with groups like the BHA.

That’s why she’s taking a stand to protect the right of schools to prioritise the teaching of Christianity and other major religions.

Revd Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer for the Church of England said:

There has been confusion about the implications of the High Court judgment [with respect to the GCSE religious studies subject content] and we welcome the publication of this guidance note which clarifies the situation and provides assurance that the judgement does not impact on the content of the new RS GCSE.

Sheila Gewolb, Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said:

The Board of Deputies of British Jews welcomes the Department for Education’s guidance, which supports the Religious Studies GCSE as it stands.

The Board believes that the RS GCSE must continue to support education about the traditional world religions. Other beliefs and world views can – and should – be taught through other subject areas.

A spokesman for the British Humanist Association said:

We welcome the Department for Education acceptance that schools need to teach not just about religions as part of RS but also about non-religious worldviews such as humanism but we fear, as a result of the Secretary of State’s original error, that many schools will continue to assume that delivering the GCSE will meet their legal obligations.

We look forward to working with the Department, as with schools and other bodies setting curricula, to find a way to make their obligations clearer to all schools, in the interests of a broad and balanced curriculum.

27 responses to “Schools must teach pupils that Britain is a Christian country”

  1. Brian Jordan says:

    So the content of school subjects is to be determined by one minister’s fiat? What next – evolution banned from biology classes, but OK to be discussed – and dismissed – in RE?
    As for schools reflecting the beliefs of parents, if it were really true RE would be on the way out, never mind restricted to superstition.

  2. Club Secretary says:

    “Other beliefs and world views can – and should – be taught through other subject areas.”

    I am not quite sure how this would work.
    I suppose that belief in the FSM could be taught in cookery classes,does anyone have any other ideas?

    “Has had enough of campaign groups using the courts to try and force the teaching of atheism and humanism to kids against parent’s wishes.”

    But it is OK to force religion on to children against their parents wishes.

  3. Stonyground says:

    “Has had enough of campaign groups using the courts to try and force the teaching of atheism and humanism to kids against parent’s wishes.”

    Has she indeed! What about schools teaching absurd fairy stories as if they were true to kids against parent’s wishes? In any case, even without the help of the courts, we are winning, every opinion poll, and even the government’s own census shows that Christianity is dying on its arse. A survey carried out in the wake of the 2011 census found that most ‘census Christians’ actually knew bugger all about Christianity. Last Christmas the bleating about retailers stocking only limited supplies of religious themed Christmas cards was met with the reply that this was because nobody wants to buy them. There has been stuff about empty churches in the news recently too.

  4. Brian Jordan says:

    Anyway, Nicky Morgan had better send off for the deed poll forms to change here name to Canute. This is one flood no amount of government effort can stop. Not even the Saudi government can resist the tide.
    “Meanwhile, secularism is on the rise within Muslim majority countries. It is not easy being a humanist in an Islamic society, even outside the Isis hell-holes, so it is hard to know how many there are. But a poll in 2012 found that 5 per cent of Saudis describe themselves as fully atheist and 19 per cent as non-believers — more than in Italy. In Lebanon the proportion is 37 per cent. Remember in many countries they are breaking the law by even thinking like this.”
    http://humanistlife.org.uk/2015/11/23/why-non-belief-is-gaining-ground-even-against-islam/

  5. Broga says:

    “A source close to Morgan said that she has it up here with groups like the BHA.”

    Morgan is living in her own fantasy. What about all the people who have had it “up to here” with religious bigots who are given jobs for which the are unsuited. Her agenda is to pursue incredible beliefs against all the evidence. That she is Education Secretary beggars belief.

  6. AgentCormac says:

    Nicky Morgan is promoting her own personal religious views by putting herself above the law and flying in the face of just about every statistic available. Britain is not a predominently christian country any more. She should shut the fuck up and start getting used to the fact that her church’s time has all but gone.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10297036/Christians-now-a-minority-in-UK-as-half-the-population-have-no-religion.html.

  7. Bill says:

    I think RE is great … I asked a bunch of my sons teenager friends if they enjoyed RE lessons. Reply .. no boring … old fashioned … crazy … waste of time … duuhuuuh … get a life … no way … are you serious religion sucks … .

    Keep compulsory RE lessons … it just turns kids off religion.

  8. Laura Roberts says:

    @Bill: gotta love the skepticism of modern teenagers. And those are the ones usually who have the best senses of humor.

    I also love how Ms. Morgan makes it painfully clear that religion simply cannot compete on a level playing field. How dare those atheists and humanists demand equal time! Why, if we give them equal time, then they’ll have an unfair advantage!

    Yes. Yes we will, indeed.

  9. Trevor Blake says:

    Atheists such as myself will express our disagreement with Education Secretary Morgan by writing about it. Were she to say the same thing about Islam, that it is not to be put on equal footing with Christianity in England, then Muslims writing about it would be least of her worries. Far easier to be critical of atheists than Muslims. Just as it’s easier to blame the small number (relative to the general population) of homosexuals who want to marry for the death of the family than it is to blame absent straight fathers and divorcing straight mothers for the death of the family.

    Between the Roman Empire and the British Empire, Christianity was in the past the strongest and most wide-spread belief in human history. Now it whines and picks on the weakest of its foes (we atheists) and can’t be bothered to defend their own kind in Muslim-majority nations. Pathetic. I almost feel bad for picking on Christianity.

    Almost.

  10. Colin Davidson says:

    The BHA’s comment has me scratching my head. I can’t see how they welcome the SoE’s comment. They needed to clearly assert that the SoE is out of touch with British society and make a general statement that politicians should not misuse their position to promote personal beliefs.

    I am not in favour of the argument from quantity i.e. the majority of Britons are not Christians. A tyranny of the majority – whether it’s us or them – is not on. The argument must be that education has to recognise diversity and promote equality under the law for all. Which means any religious studies course has to cover atheism and its offshoot philosophies such as humanism. Atheism may not be a religion but a balanced and comprehensive education must recognise that it is a valid alternative to religion.

    I have tremendous respect for religious figures who embrace this view and I am sure they recognise that it is likely to ensure reciprocity. Sadly the Nicky Morgan’s of this world are typical self-centred religious bullies lashing out at their declining privilege. In doing so they lose out on an opportunity to build bridges.

    Not that I’m surprised of course…

  11. Angela_K says:

    Ms Morgan – the same bigot who voted against equal marriage – is doing what her boss tells her to do, that boss being the Arch Bishop: “We’re going to indoctrinate christianinsanity into your children whether you like it or not”. These dangerous religious fools are losing the argument so resort to every nefarious means possible in an attempt to get children into their cult. We had a family get-together last night and I was encouraged that all three of my nieces are atheists, one a recently qualified Barrister and one a Teacher – there is hope.

  12. L.Long says:

    She’s 100% right!!!! They should be told this as it is important that they know about the hate-filled bigots that think they are special and we should have their xtian Sorry-ass Laws put into place, and prepare for the coming of their imaginary friend.

  13. Stuart H. says:

    Look on the bright side – things could go the way of my daughter’s school, where after 10 years a local church has just stopped funding an annual prize for the highest mark in RE GCSE, which is a compulsory subject. A senior teacher finally let them in on a private joke amongst staff – that every year the prize has been won by an outright atheist, most of whom approach learning about Christianity in RE the same way they learn about anthrax in science.
    By the way, most religious kids struggle to get more than a ‘C’.

  14. Vanity Unfair says:

    “…the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are, in the main Christian.”
    …such as decking the halls with boughs of holly and ivy, bringing trees indoors, burning Yule logs, hanging mistletoe sprays, lighting candles (now electric lamps), giving presents, master/servant inversion, appointing a Lord of Misrule (I miss that one), feasting and drinking and, of course, Christmas crackers and pantomime.
    It’s all in the Gospel According to….er….

  15. Peter Sykes says:

    BarryD:
    Where did you get that photo? Perfect, no more needs saying!

  16. Brian Jordan says:

    @olin DAvidson
    “The BHA’s comment has me scratching my head. I can’t see how they welcome the SoE’s comment.”
    Me too. It sound more like a response to their winning the court case against the DfE. Shurely shome mishtake.
    Barry: could you let us have a link to the BHA statement please? I can’t find it on their web site and they so often seem backward at informing members about things like this. I’d hate to think that they take Morgan’s vicious reaction as a reflection of their success.

  17. AgentCormac says:

    BTW – what’s the betting these eejits turn out to be god-loving zealots rather than inept thieves. I mean, who blows up a roadside condom machine? Come to think of it, a roadside condom machine??!!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35189938

  18. 1859 says:

    “The Government is determined to protect schools’ freedom to set their own religious studies curriculum, in line with the wishes of parents and the local community.”
    So, in other words, let the same old indoctrination of children continue. No hint in this statement that children should make up their own minds – free of parental and community pressure. Only after they have studied ALL types of worldviews, religious and non-religious, can children make an informed choice. But this is exactly what the religious do not want – children and people who are ‘informed’, people who are ‘rational’. Ms. Morgan’s view of British society is that it is a static dream brimming with traditions which must not change. Wake up Ms. Morgan, people, societies change – your job is to ensure they change for the better. Having a society of open-minded people rather than one brimming with bigots, would – in my view of the world – be a far better place.

  19. andym says:

    And there we have it. “Militant secularism” is evil , and must be resisted. But it’s OK for militant Christians to misuse their position in order to promote their beliefs.

  20. Broga says:

    %Stuart H.: I won the Divinity prize at my Grammar School when I was an atheist. The prize was “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. I still have the book. I think atheists generally know far more about religion than the religious. That is why we are atheists.

  21. Gerald says:

    There is something badly wrong with a religion with all its “attendant benefits” and promise of godly elevation in the hereafter when it has to rely on governmentally sanctioned ensnarement of children for its survival. If ’twas that good people would surely be flocking to it, indeed falling over each other to embrace it.

  22. Barry Duke says:

    Peter Sykes, here’s the link to that photo.

  23. Angela_K says:

    That photograph of Ms Morgan is almost as bad as that other Christian loon: Andrea Mushybrain-Williams. Morgan’s expression looks as though some one has told that her god doesn’t exist.

  24. Ronco says:

    “The Government is determined to protect schools’ freedom to set their own religious studies curriculum, in line with the wishes of parents and the local community.”
    Good, let’s now see Ms Morgan calling for the parents to tell her what they want their children taught! She could be in for a surprise!

  25. Brian Jordan says:

    @AgentCormac,
    “This might be what you’re looking for. I think.”
    Yes, that’s the BHA’s response to their victory in the courts. Quite different, I would hope, from their response – still to be revealed – to Morgan’s diktat. It’s getting to be quite a habit, isn’t it: first Pickles trying to overrule the courts, now Morgan.