Page 7, 4th March 1977

4th March 1977
Page 7
Page 7, 4th March 1977 — Council queried

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Council queried

I take it that Mr Edward Oliver (February 25) is defending the Social Morality Council's reports on religious education, not Humanism. I note that he does not question one statement of fact that I made (February 1 1). He questions the logic of my saying that the reports "inspire no confidence" because they were drafted or edited by the former director of the British Humanist Association.

If Mr Oliver insists on logic (in which he has my full support), the least he could db would be to include everything relevant in my premises. Having shown that the Humanist position is antagonistic to Christian education, 1 pointed out that the reports were drafted or edited not merely by a distinguished Humanist but by one who has written that Humanists must wish and work for a world without religion.

I wonder what Mr Oliver's logic would have me write — that this does inspire confidence in the future of Christian education? He thinks that the only way to criticise these reports is by quoting from them in context. He further invites me to do so.

I have already done so, and refer him to my article on the Humanist threat to Christian education (Christian Order, September, 1976). He will find there, among other useful information, a case made out with an abtindance of quotation and context — for holding that the first SMC report forms an excellent lead-in to "Objective. Fair and Balanced", the BHA booklet launching the Humanists' proposed new legislation for religion in education — not, please note, for education in religion.

I shall in due course publish in detail my views on the SMC second report which, from the Catholic point of view, I find most unsatisfactory.

But here is something far more important than wrangling about logic. Mr Oliver wrote as secretarygeneral of the Social Morality Council. I would find it most helpful — and I imagine many of your readers would — if Mr Oliver would give us the SMC answers to the three questions raised by Mr St John-Stevas (January 14).

Never mind, for the present, about the justification the SMC would offer for the answers space is limited in correspondence columns. All I ask is a statement of position. I have stated the Humanist position in four sentences. Mr St JohnStevas stated his position in three sentences. I can state my position in three sentences.

May I invite Mr Oliver to give us the SMC's answers to those questions?

(Fr) John Tracy, SJ

London, WI.

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