Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Letter responding to Religious Education white paper.

Posted in Uncategorized by sheelanagigcomedienne on January 16, 2011

Here is a copy of my submission to the governmnent white paper on Religious Education. I did NOT receive a response.

As a Humanist member of my local SACRE in Wandsworth I am so very disappointed at this latest Schools White Paper. It has completely ignored the call from non-religious people for their philosophical and ethical view to be included in the RE curriculum. It has lost the chance, at least, to have RE incorpoated into a national curriculum. As a Philosophy graduate I am convinced that there should be philosopy on the syllabus which would, of course, include epistimology, ethics, politics, scientific methodology etc. This should be a normal part of any education system and not descriptions and glossaries of peoples supernatural beliefs and practices which constitutes RE.

I also deplore the lost opportunity to repeal the ludricous law on  a ‘daily act of worship’. It ridiculous to force non-religious children to worship a DEITY that they do not believe in and to partake in an assembly of a ‘mainly Christian character’. It completely disrespects the considered beliefs and opinions of these young people and, as always, implies that only those who believe in supernatural entities can be moral. Polls of young people reveal that about two thirds of them DO NOT believe in religion and the supernatural. Having been brought up in Ireland I am acutely aware of the dangers of living under a theocracy. Even the Queen, who realises that she is in a difficult position as supreme governor of the Church of England, makes a plea to her synod to be aware of diversity in society and recognise morality without belief in a deity.

“In our more diverse and secular society, the place of religion has come to be a matter of lively discussion. It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue and that the wellbeing and prosperity of the nation depend on the contribution of individuals and groups of all faiths and none.”
(Queen Elizabeth II, opening the Church of England synod)

The state should be secular and religion a private matter. The state has no business promoting religions and allowing children to be segregated into schools according to their parents religious/supernatural beliefs and prejudices. It is so contrary to community cohesion and equality. Please think again about this part of the curriculum.

Yours sincerely,

Jeanne Rathbone
Humanist Celebrant and Hospital chaplain.

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