Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Some stakeholders are more equal than others

'We will enter into no further correspondence with you' | News crumb |

This story about Connor Birch's attempts to communicate with the steering group of a new Anglican academy school in Hereford is worrying. The steering group's attitude clearly indicates that, as Mr Birch is part of the National Secularist Society, his opinions on their proposals are not worth listening to, and even that they do not have to. Atheists obviously aren't 'stakeholders', like other members of the community...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Comment is free: The unbelievable privilege of faith

Comment is free: The unbelievable privilege of faith

This is an excellent article on CiF, outlining some of the arguments against faith schools generally, and certainly state-supported ones. It raises a few interesting issues:

One argument put forward by supporters of faith schools is that schools established by religious institutions predate schools run by the state. What this is an argument for, precisely, is unclear. One might as well point out that the first hospitals and libraries were all in religious institutions, and suggest that this indicates that they should be run this way to this day. Perhaps, as the Spanish Inquisition predates our current interrogation techniques, we should allow the Catholic Church to question suspects for the police...

That there have been schools set up by religious institutions far longer than there have been those set up by municipal or other nominally secular authorities is indicative of nothing more than the greater role religion played in our society in the past. A key difference is that these religious schools funded themselves, they did not expect the taxpayer to foot the bill.

Another point which caught my eye was the story of David McNab, an atheist teacher at a Roman Catholic school in Glasgow who was blocked from applying for a post involving pastoral care because he was not a Catholic. An employment tribunal ruled in his favour, but only because the school had failed to list the post as one of a 'reserved' nature, reserved for Catholics only.

It is an odd situation when, since the Religious Discrimination Act of 2004, an employer cannot refuse to employ someone for a post on the grounds of their religion, but a religious employer can refuse to employ someone in a post because of their lack of religion.

Quaequam Blog! » Blog Archive » The Great Faith School Swindle

Quaequam Blog! » Blog Archive » The Great Faith School Swindle

This is a great post, pointing out the hypocrisy of some of those who are manipulating our democratic processes, in order to build more faith schools.

"So, here we have a man lauding the power of faith schools to bring people together, while actively fighting legislation that would actually mean it happened. On a programme about a religious festival; some would call that politicisation. And he uses license fee payers’ money to indulge in this wanton hypocrisy. Doncha just love it?"