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.
Maryam Namazie, Human rights campaigner
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.
Stephen Law, Philosopher and author.
If we are aiming for an inclusive society, the fewer divisions we can impose on our growing children the better.
Virginia Ironside, Journalist, agony aunt and author
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.
Peter Atkins, Writer and former Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford
I am happy to join the No More Faith Schools campaign. Education must be secular.
Lord Desai, Economist and Labour politician
I think it's a disgrace that my child's school is being closed down and that he is being forced into a religious school. I do not want organised religion rammed down my sons throat.
Natasha, Great Yarmouth
Education should be open to and equal for all, integrating our young people across their diverse backgrounds and teaching about different religions, beliefs lifestyles and traditions in an informative and objective way. Faith schools present an unnecessary barrier to integration and perpetuate divisions in society. They should have no place in our state funded education system.
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.
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.
Professor Paul S. Braterman, Science adviser to Scottish Secular Society
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
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Posted: Wed, 13 Jun 2018 09:43
Megan Manson on how parents are fighting back against religious favoritism/proselytizing and systemic...