Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More persecution-lite

I think it would be fair to say that religion in schools - along with uniforms, phonics and choice - is generally considered to be a Good Thing by the political class in Britain.  In Scotland, the education secretary Mike Russell assured a CHAS conference that he sees faith schools as part of the 'bedrock of education'. Alex Salmond agrees and thinks there should be more of them, a view shared by David Cameron who sends his daughter to a religious school.  Admittedly Clegg has voiced opposition in the past but he isn't so hostile as to rule out the possibility of his own offspring attending one - and no-one cares what he thinks anyway.  You didn't need to be told Gove is in favour and given Labour's tendency to ape absolutely every Conservative education policy, regardless of how barmy,  it shouldn't surprise anyone that Miliband thinks they're fantastic 

 You'd think this would make any advocate of religious schooling feel secure but apparently not.  The Bishop of Oxford, for example - who explicitly calls for schools to be used as platforms for evangelism - is among the surprisingly high number of privileged Christians in the Church of England who has developed something of a persecution complex.  C of E schools are 'under attack', he says.  We've already established that these are not coming from anyone in power who might be in a position to do anything about the status of faith schools but it is also informative to note what constitutes an 'attack' in the eyes of the bish:
"The bishop highlighted campaigns to force the Church to relax its entry criteria to its schools, which reserve places for churchgoers, and calls for state funding to be removed from faith schools."
Translation: tax-payers should continue to fund schools that exclude their children and any suggestion that this should be at least modified qualifies as a full-frontal assault. Anyway, surely the bishop should rejoice an be glad because great is his reward in heaven - for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before him.

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