..if you define a government minister as “good company”. According to the Telegraph David Milliband, an atheist, is sending his son to a faith school.
Unusually, for the Telegraph they give space to the anit-faith schools position:
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, which seeks the abolition of faith schools, said: “Mr Miliband joins the thousands of parents forced into hypocrisy by the education policies of his own government.
“It is a vicious circle because, as faith schools get a reputation for better results, the most assertive – and, I suppose middle-class – parents choose them and that pushes the results up even further.”
Got into a discussion with a relative the other day about the whole attending-church-whilst-not believing-a-word-of it thing. What do we tell the children when they ask why we are going to church?
The relative thinks we shouldn’t even let our kids know that we are unbelievers in case it gets back to their teachers. Then to the church. Then the application is rejected. Her argument is that primary teachers meet secondary teachers to discuss intake (true) and this may come up. I was a little worried and spoke to a friend who has taught in primary schools. He reassured me: when primary teachers meet secondary teachers it is usually after pupils have been accepted and it is to discuss academic ability, special needs, behaviour issues, etc. He couldn’t remember religion coming up; even when meeting representatives from the local Catholic school.
I suspect it is more to do with my relative’s belief that “atheism” is a dirty word and should only be mentioned by consenting adults. I, on the other hand, think that children should know that non-belief is an option.
I do worry that the children might come out with something at an inappropriate time or place. The options appear to be (a) lie about everything and assure them church is good, God exists, etc, etc, or (b) tell the truth about everything: your parents don’t believe but we’re doing it to get you into a decent, local secondary school so please keep quiet about it. We have explained it to the eldest and she understands. We have to be a bit more careful with the youngest.
A tricky one.
Leaving aside the myriad of inaccuracies in these stories, do they think faith-schools are so popular that they are a good way to beat the Labour Government and build support for the Tories? They should read the evidence that shows many parents don’t want faith schools (an example here).
I should stop reading the damned thing.
I’ve been doing this for a while – although I haven’t posted anything for a few weeks – and I’m beginning to get a little frustrated with it. The problem is the need for anonymity.
The posts so far are all of a general nature: my rants and reflections on faith schools in the news. It would be good to have some more anecdotal, amusing stories on the reality of attending church regularly when you don’t believe a word of it. For example, recently one of the congregation passed out during the sermon (it was dull, I grant you, but not that bad). The vicar tried to continue, but the congregation was increasingly distracted. He gave up temporarily and offered prayers for the unfortunate individual – which we were all obliged to join in with. Fortunately, someone else had the presence of mind to call 999 and some para-medics arrived and the patient was taken away. The sermon resumed, but no-one was paying attention. I think a better conclusion might have been to cut it short with Robert Ingersoll’s lines “The hands that help are better far / Than lips that pray”.
However, I need to get the all-important vicar’s signature in the near future. If I post lots of detail, the church I attend – and even I – could be identified. Then I might not get the application approved and all this attendance would have been for nothing.
On the other hand, probably no-one is reading this so perhaps I shouldn’t worry.
Which leads me to ask: What’s Right with this Blog? It’s good therapy for me, that’s what.