Believe it or not, God requires respect

1st January 2010 at 00:00

Ariane Sherine raises some very important issues in her comment article on atheist teachers handling Christmas ("Deck the halls with tales of unholy", December 1825).

Dealing sensitively with religious beliefs is indeed a challenging matter for any teacher who has a strong commitment to their own beliefs. However, atheist teachers would be ill-advised to emulate her attitude. Treating your own beliefs as "truth" and those of others as "just a story" amounts to indoctrination. Mocking Christian ideas of God by suggesting that Santa is preferable as a "beardy bloke in the sky"is likely to incite legitimate complaints.

Atheist teachers concerned about these matters should look at the website of the RE Council of England and Wales, where they will find a code of practice that will help them handle controversial religious issues.

Dr Trevor Cooling, Director, Transforming Lives Project, Stapleford, Nottingham.

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