Monday, 12 March 2018

Former Archdruidbishop of Canterbury sides with atheist leader against religious schools in Britain

Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged...
...And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Deuteronomy 6:1-2, 6-7

When the former Archbishop of Canterbury (who also happens to be an ordained Druid) sides with the leader of the secular humanists, that alone should be enough to tell you that there's something wrong with this position. The United Kingdom didn't have to worry about "social cohesion" before it adopted the suicidal policies of multiculturalism and mass immigration, particularly of Muslims. As reported by Olivia Rudgard of the London Daily Telegraph, March 5, 2018 (link in original):

Faith schools must not be allowed to admit more children on the basis of religion, leaders have warned.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph a group of 70 faith leaders, politicians and academics warned that lifting a cap which stops new faith schools admitting more than 50 per cent of children on the basis of religion would be "deleterious to social cohesion and respect".

The signatories, led by former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and Andrew Copson, chief executive of Humanists UK, warn that the policy, promised in the Conservative manifesto, "allows schools to label children at the start of their lives with certain beliefs and then divide them up on that basis".

"The Government rightly identifies the promotion of mutual understanding and tolerance for those of different religions and beliefs as one of the most important roles for schools. As we are all aware, children are blind to the differences and immune to the prejudices that so often divide society.

"The duty of the education system, therefore, should not be to highlight and entrench such differences in the eyes and minds of young people, but to emphasise instead the common values that we all share.

"Removing the 50 per cent cap on religious selection at faith-based free schools runs entirely counter to this ambition," the letter, also signed by Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, Professor Richard Dawkins and Baroness Joan Bakewell says.

It adds that opinion polls showed that 80 per cent of the public opposed a change in policy.

The rule, introduced in 2010, requires oversubscribed, newly-established religious schools to keep at least half of their places open for applicants who are admitted without reference to their faith.

The policy, first announced in November 2016, has not yet been implemented.

Last month new Education Secretary Damien Hinds said he would follow through on the manifesto commitment to abolish the ban on schools taking more than 50 per cent of pupils on the basis of religion.

The Catholic Church has supported the removal of the cap, choosing not to establish any new schools as long as it was in place.

In the past the Catholic Education Service has argued that it goes against the church's rules to turn away Catholics as it has a duty to educate them.

This is despite significant demand for new places in the schools.

At the end of last year it encouraged parents to write to the Government asking it to lift the cap.

However, the Church of England has said that the cap does not affect its work.

Earlier this year its chief education officer Nigel Genders said: “Neither the removal nor the retention of the faith cap will impact on our existing schools or any new ones we open.”

A spokesman for the Catholic Education Service said: “Existing Catholic schools, which can allocate all places on the grounds of faith, are the most socially and ethnically diverse schools in the country. They also educate more than 300,000 non-Catholics including 27,000 Muslims.

“All credible evidence, including the Government’s own analysis, points to the fact that the 50 per cent cap hasn’t created diversity. This is because minority faith schools are only popular with their respective community. Catholic schools on the other hand are extremely popular with parents of all faiths and none.

“All the cap achieves is that it prevents Catholic parents from having the same choice of schools enjoyed by other parents.”

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