I am a political secularist - I believe the State should adopt a level playing field when it comes to religious belief. Even many religious people now recognise that the State funding of religious schools involves giving special privileges to religious communities that are not afforded to the rest of us. This is unjust, anti-democratic, and should stop.

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Stephen Law, Philosopher and author.

I am happy to join the No More Faith Schools campaign. Education must be secular.

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Lord Desai, Economist and Labour politician

I wholeheartedly support the No More Faith Schools campaign. Education should level the playing field despite background and give access to the latest advances in science and human progress and encourage freethought and inquiry whilst religion contradicts and/or discourages all of the above. Children are not extensions of their parents but individuals with human rights. Why must they be divided and segregated based on their parents’ beliefs when no such divisions are acceptable when it comes to parents’ race, sexuality or political opinions. An end to faith schools would mean that we finally see our children as citizens and not as the property of their parents and that we as a society value them more than any faith or belief.

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Maryam Namazie, Human rights campaigner

State-sponsored superstition should have no place in the education of children, who should be left to make up their own minds on the basis of the evidence they see around them. Education should inspire rational thought and display the pleasures of deep understanding; it should not propagate the social poison of divisive dogma.

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Peter Atkins, Writer and former Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford

Faith schools contribute to the fragmentation of our education system and the religious segregation of pupils. This is not conducive to social integration, cohesion and equal opportunities for all. That's why I'm supporting the 'No more faith schools' campaign. I want to see an education system that is free from religious control and that brings together pupils from all backgrounds and beliefs.

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Peter Tatchell, Human rights campaigner

Supporting one faith, particularly in assemblies, in a school undermines respect for those of other faiths or no faiths. The agreed religious curriculum is biased towards having a faith and does not, especially at primary level, provide sufficient teaching materials, teacher training or time to considering life without a faith.

Yvonne, Colchester

I do not see that religion holds any place in defining our education system. I believe all religions should be taught in schools for the purposes of a tolerant and understanding society, but I am not comfortable having the church make important decisions for my childrens' futures.

Hana, Tunbridge Wells

I am pagan and have pagan friends that live in the affected areas. Please do not scrap the cap. I can only imagine how many families it may negatively affect. Getting rid of this cap will only divide the people of your country in terrible ways.

Denise, Lawrence

The Scottish Secular Society strongly supports the NSS "No More Faith Schools" campaign. At a time when social cohesion is a matter of great concern, it is folly to increase the amount of separation between different faith communities by segregating children according to parental affiliation. In many parts of England, faith schools already dominate to the point where parents (and pupils) find themselves with no option other than schools whose religious identities they do not share. It is not the case that the specific ethos of faith schools is universally shared; if it were, they would not need to be labelled as distinct faith schools. In our diverse society, it is an imposition on taxpayers, half of whom do not even identify themselves as members of a religion, to be forced to subsidise the indoctrination of children with beliefs that they do not themselves subscribe to. Finally, problems have already arisen within schools of more than one religion because of the influence of extremist doctrines denying evolution, despite the fact that in England the importance of evolution is recognised in the curriculum from the primary level onwards. For all these reasons, we consider that the further expansion of faith schools will work against intellectual independence and good community relations, contrary to the interests of schoolchildren, and of the wider community of which they are part.

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Professor Paul S. Braterman, Science adviser to Scottish Secular Society

Faith schools indoctrinate children into a particular religious belief system. I have no problem with religions trying to recruit members, but this should not be done with an easily-swayed captive audience of children at the taxpayer?s expense.

Mark, Glasgow

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Pencil and paper

Parent’s perspective: My son’s faith school has restricted his subject choices

Posted: Fri, 23 Oct 2020 09:55

By giving special weight to RE, my son's C of E faith school has restricted his options elsewhere, says...

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