Page 5, 11th October 1974

11th October 1974
Page 5
Page 5, 11th October 1974 — Stand by for post-election

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Locations: Birmingham


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Stand by for post-election

attack on RE

After the General Election there will almost certainly be an all-out attack on religious education in State schools. There is every reason to believe that this is planned as the first major step towards preparing society for the total abolition of denominational schools.

The pressure will come chiefly from humanists who have long campaigned for these very ends. For example, the British Humanist Association is at the moment looking at a draft Bill which is designed to amend the current Education Law.

This Bill will no doubt contain the recommendations made by the annual general meeting of the BHA calling for the abandonment of the terms "religious education" and "religious instruction" to be replaced by "Education in Stances in Living."

As recent events in Birmingham showed all too clearly, such a new definition means that not only humanism but also communism will be taoght to schoolchildren. The legality of this is rather questionable at the moment and it seems likely that the way out will involve pressure on the new Government to simplify matters (in humanist eyes that is) by amending the law.

The alternative could be that certain education authorities "stretch" the meaning of "religious education" so as to permit the teaching of the various forms of atheism!

The law under attack is the 1944 Education Act which makes religious instruction and assembly compulsory in State schools. This law allows for parents who wish to withdraw their children from such instruction . One wonders therefore why the humanists (who are but a tiny minority of the population) cannot accept this Act in its present form.

It is inevitable that once the .State schools are "secularised" moves will be made to deprive us of our Catholic schools.Humanists, though counting their members in hundreds and not millions, do have a disproportionate power in society, particularly through allies in Parliament.

For this reason we must alert our friends and supporters in Parliament and elsewhere to this threat. The first task is certainly to join with our Anglican and Jewish friends to defend our right to have our own schools. And woe betide the party that would deny us that right.

Secondly, we must uphold the principle that this is a Christian country by ensuring that Christianity continues to be taught in State schools as a necessary and integral part of any child's education.

We can rest assured that the parents of Britain, given the choice, would oppose the teaching of atheism (humanist or Marxist) and welcome the continuation of Christian religious instruction.

Please do not let us be caught sleeping this time as we were on the abortion issue. If we act, we will win with God's assistance.

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