Sunday, 11 September 2011

We'll make you worship you damn heathens!

An article in the Guardian raises the important question why compulsory worship of a broadly Christian character still exists in the British state system?

Read that question again and then argue that we do not live in a semi-theocracy.

This brought to my mind a small dispute I had with my children's school when this letter was handed out to the parents:

I can vouch for the fact that those worship sessions are of a broadly Christian character as parents have been invited along to them for as long as I can remember. Hands together, eyes closed and "Amen" are not found outside of Christianity/Judaism are they? No; so the end credits are distinctly Christian then.

Anyway, the headteacher is concerned at the number of children collected early so that they do not have to sit through this compulsory sessions. In fact, she shouldn't be concerned at all because there is a "get out clause" in the Act where parents can remove their children.

But this comes at a cost according to the headteacher because she will subject them to an "embarrassing" ejection from the assembly while in progress spoiling the atmosphere for her sheep sheeple loyal adherents victims of brainwashing pupils.

The headteacher makes it clear, in no uncertain terms that in future, unless it is an emergency you may not collect your children unless you have prior agreement.

Parents may well think that the headteacher has the final say on the matter or be confused as to whether they are breaking the law in removing their child from compulsory worship.

Well their rights can be found here.

Under Section 71 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 you can withdraw your child from these 'compulsory' sessions.

And this is where the headteacher's letter completely falls flat on its face and demonstrates both the arrogance of religious belief and the deliberate misrepresentation misunderstanding of what the law states.

The sessions ARE NOT compulsory for the children to attend

It is only compulsory that the schools make the provision for the collective worship

Children are not bound to attend these collective worship sessions whatsoever.


Had to post this comment from Twitter:

UPDATE 03/10/11

I've been getting a bit of stick in some places by people who cannot be bothered to read the blog post properly.

I tend to find that it is those in foreign countries who cannot get their head's around the idea that schools with religious administrations in Britain receive government funding or that there is something called a "catchment area" which means you have to travel ridiculous distances (or jump through stupid hoops) to give your child a secular education.

Even so, the standard of my children's education is actually quite good. There is no need to remove them from the school disrupting their work, their friendships and their routine.

What this issue boils down to is the following:

1. A headteacher that has either misinterpreted or misrepresented the law.

2. That even if "collective worship" remained in force, then there should still be a provision within the school for children of no faith (or non-Christian faith) to go to during this period instead of them being led out of the actual assembly in an admittedly "embarrassing" fashion.

3. That the headteacher is a fruitcake.

4. That Atheists and Secularists can be fruitcakes too...


That is all


Coffee Loving Skeptic said...

I've just emailed your school admin and headteacher to point out their error ;)
I didn't mention you.

vjohn82 said...

No problem. The more people who write to this arrogant buffoon the better.

I sent it to a journalist working for the BHA who wrote something too. I'll check back with him to see if he had a response.

Please let me know if you get one too.

Stephen Sweet said...

Information about Comic Sans here:

vjohn82 said...

Thanks Stephen!

Roy Grubb said...

And this is what leads to peace-loving atheists become militant atheists.

vjohn82 said...

Indeed. I'm hoping to get a more considered reply from her but I'm also not holding out much hope...

Anonymous said...

This appears to be a private Christian school. Don't they have the right to do this if they are a private school? If people don't like it they shouldn't have their kids enrolled there?

vjohn82 said...

The school is "voluntary controlled" which means that it is state funded.

It is considered the last remaining vestige for religious influence in children's lives outside of the family and Church.

If there was another choice, my children would never have attended the school.

I will be open about this, the standard of education they receive is quite good all things considered. However, there are issues which have slowly been building up which had led me to believe that the school is pushing a more fundamentalist message than I was first aware of.

However, this is the first time something overtly religious was put into writing. And it is so wrong I haven't even gotten to the heart of it yet.