Religious education is self-contradictory concept. Multiculturalism is too. Perhaps, then, we shouldn’t be too surprised when one of Britain’s state schools, where the aforementioned contradictions in terms are the height of fashion, sends out a letter like this little gem; read it and weep:
As “defender of the Faith” the Queen would be neglecting her duty if she spoke ill of the established Church. But in her latest defence of “faith” she resorts to bald-faced lies, special pleading and appears to have forgotten the First Commandment too!
Letter of February 16th 2011;
Dear Mr Gove,
Michael Goves free-schools initiative has attracted applications from anti-science groups
It has come to my attention that an organization known as The Everyday Champions Church has applied to found a school in Nottinghamshire under the free schools legislation. Various articles report that the aim of this project is to tout Christian scriptural dogma as evidence-based fact. The Daily Mail, Independent and various other media sources quote Gareth Morgan the pastor of the church, “Creationism will be embodied as a belief at the Everyday Champions Academy but will not be taught in the sciences. Similarly, evolution will be taught as a theory.” I assert that this statement provides unequivocal proof that the pastor is unfit to be considered to educate the nations’ children. His profound misunderstanding of the word theory, as evidenced by his flagrant misuse of the term, disqualifies his organization from receiving public funds in aid of their enterprise on the grounds of gross incompetence. After all Newton’s gravity was only a theory but it would be unthinkable to allow a school to pretend that there was a competing explanation for falling apples, especially one which should be ‘embodied as a belief’. If the department for education has any respect for itself as an authority on pedagogy it must ask the pastor to delineate the predictions he and his group have made based upon the hypotheses of creationism, then submit these for peer review and testing, prior to an educational facility being founded on the principle; although I would not hold out any hope of that coming to pass.
You have stated that, “A due diligence unit will monitor applications for new schools and arrangements in existing schools so there’s no risk of extremism taking hold.” Will this ‘due diligence’ be orchestrated with the same shambolic, laissez-faire disregard for civility which currently allows sectarian Muslim schools and madrasas to teach doctrinal Islamic jurisprudence as if it were the immutable truth, in open contradiction to British legal maxims and culture? I hope you will agree that nothing could be more extreme than the sinister lie that the foul, albeit temporal, authority of the mad-mullahs-of-Mecca has been bestowed upon us by the largesse of an infallible deity for all time; divine right is always wrong!
Sir, it is the fundamental right of any individual to subscribe to a superstitious or faith based doctrine if he so chooses, however it is emphatically not his right to present such whimsical fancy as fact, in order to pervert the intellectual development of minors. The parties of god have dined at the table of vapid ‘multiculturalists’ and ‘progressives’ for too long, at the expense of the true British values of rationalism, scientific endeavour and secular democratic law. Need I remind you that it was the advance of science and industry which propelled Britain to its greatest heights and bequeathed to the world the technological principles of modernity, from evolutionary theory to the foundations for modern computing? Further that two of the greatest chapters in the illustrious history of this nation have been at the expense of religious authority and scriptural teaching: the precepts of the Magna Carta and the abolition movement respectively. Thus to accept a greater incursion of faith based regimes into education would not only malign the very definition of the word, but deny this nations children their birth right as successors to Charles Darwin who, if he were here to say so, would back me in demanding that you reject any free school application forwarded by religiously motivated parties.
The Department for Education were commendably quick in sending a predictable, perfunctory response: