Tag secularism

The protection of minors against excesses of sects

H/T to Gandolf for this one, in response to the article about the girl being taken out of a Christian school because she didn’t look girly enough. God move for the European Union to be tackling such issues.

This is from the Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. Read the hole thing here.

‘Islamic takeover plot’ in Birmingham schools investigated

As a teacher, I cannot tell you how much this worries me. I will be striking later this month in opposition to this government push on ‘free schools’ an academies which is thinly veiled attempt to privatise education and politically liberalise it. I could bore you for hours on the ramifications and implications of such a stupid approach to education, not least adding in the utter stupidity of scrapping a national curriculum and assessment framework whilst neglecting to be organised enough to have something in mind and prepared to replace it. Total idiots. And yes, if I meet Education Secretary Michael Gove in a dark alley…

Scaramanga takes on Accelerated Christian Education. And wins.

Jonny Scaramanga came to do a talk about his experiences with Christian education at Portsmouth Skeptics in the Pub recently. I was gutted to have missed it – I was really looking forward to that one. However, keeping a tab on his blog, it seems clear that he is embroiled in a right ding-dong with his arch nemeses, Accelerate Christian Education, or ACE. Here is his article ion the subject which he wrote for the Guardian.

David Marshall gets owned in debate so the church refuses to post video…

A moment of Schadenfreude: David Marshall recently debated Phil Zuckerman on the issue “What provides a better foundation for civil society: Christianity or Secular Humanism?” and Marshall apparently got creamed. The debate was recorded and the church that organized it planned to upload it. But after their guy lost, they changed their mind on that. Zuckerman asked them when they will finally keep their word and upload the video material of the debate, this is the reply he got:

Scouts Change their Pledge

A letter from the president of the BHA. Very welcome news.

Dear all,

Many of you will know that a long-standing campaign of the BHA has been to get the Scout Association and Girlguiding UK to change their membership pledges, known as Promises, to be inclusive of the non-religious. Until recently, both organisations have required all members to pledge to ‘do my duty to God’ (or some variant). We were thrilled when both organisations announced last December that they were to consult on changing their Promises, and even more so when both organisations approached us to work with them in this.

Concerns raised about gender and religious discrimination at Derby Muslim Free School

The Derby Telegraph has reported that Al-Madinah School, a Muslim Free School that opened in Derby in September 2012, is forcing all female members of staff to wear a hijab (whether Muslim or not), and is requiring girls to sit at the back of classrooms. The Sunday Times is further reporting that reading fairy tales, singing and stringed instruments are banned due to being ‘forbidden in Islam’, and the school’s (non-Muslim) head and deputy head were bullied into resignation by the governing body due to the latter being belittled and sidelined as a result of her lack of faith – leading to both lodging official complaints of bullying with the Department for Education (DfE).

British Social Attitudes Survey shows 48% of Britons non religious

The results of the 30th British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA) released last week show almost half of the population say that they do not belong to a religion. The increase in the non religious is almost entirely mirrored by a decline in the proportion of people who describe themselves as belonging to the Church of England, down from 40% in 1983 to just 20% now. Results show that religious identity in Britain has been in stark decline over the past three decades.

Primary school heads removed over religious row

It is good that appropriate action has been taken over this, bad that US style evangelistic churches and movements are springing up and gaining traction in the UK. Sheesh. From the BBC:

Senior teachers at a South Lanarkshire school have been removed following a parent outcry over the involvement of a US-based religious group.

Pledge of Allegiance challenged in Massachusetts Supreme Court

A family in suburban Boston hopes to change the phrasing of the Pledge of Allegiance to remove two words they claim violate students’ rights.

The family is challenging the pledge, which students recite daily in U.S. public schools, claiming the words “under God” violate the state’s equal rights laws.

The plaintiffs, who have requested anonymity through their lawyers, are taking an unconventional approach to challenging the pledge. Past cases argued the words “under God” violated the Constitution’s separation of church and state.

Faith schools cannot continue their immoral policy of discrimination

“How are the mighty fallen!” is a biblical verse that will not only be well-known by the Roman Catholic state school, the London Oratory, but now applies directly to them. The school – famously chosen by both Tony Blair and Nick Clegg for their sons – has just been criticised by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator for breaching the schools admissions code and ordered to change its policy.

Secularism For Beginners

Jesus of Nazareth is attributed with saying many things. “Blessed are the meek” was one. “My kingdom is not of this world” was another. As far as we know, he never said, “This thing’s never gonna fly unless my followers can secure a whole raft of legal, political and economic privileges.”

Rudd replaces first Aussie woman Prime Minister and open atheist. Boo!

The Australian Labor Party have ousted their PM ahead of the elections which they will probably lose. This upsets me. I have always admired Gillard. Forthright and a good leader, in my books. And an atheist, too.

When interviewed in 2010, she said:

“I think it would be inconceivable, if I were an American, for me to have turned up at the highest echelon of American politics being an atheist, single, and childless.”