Irrational bias of secular zealots

5th May 2006 at 01:00
It seems that not a week goes by without TES writers fulminating against the evils of academies, or "faith schools" (invariably meaning Christian schools) or, worst of all, faith-based academies.

Where such writing is rational and evidence-based it can be interesting, but articles such as Peter Wilby's contribute little because they accuse others of blind, irrational prejudice while being prejudiced and irrational themselves.

The statement that religion teaches people that "provided they are believers, they can get away with anything" is not based on even a simplistic study of most religions, let alone Christianity.

To then attack two sponsors on the basis that they are car dealers, and may have associated with the occasional backstreet "Arthur Daley" is equivalent to saying that all comedians are racist on the basis that Bernard Manning once told a racist joke.

The remark, linking Catholic schools to sexual abuse, is also shameful. One shivers to think what Mr Wilby may say about Catholic car dealers.

He then takes time to snigger about "often middle-class parents" who "try to maintain a stable family life and keep their children under control".

Isn't this what most people want for their children?

Finally, Mr Wilby introduces an anecdote about modern ignorance of Christianity by laughing about people wishing him a "Happy Good Friday".

At first I thought this might be a bizarre invention, because I have never heard this greeting myself (have any other TES readers?); however, I then realised that it was possible that a group of people had decided to exploit Mr Wilby's anger about anything to do with religion by winding him up even further. Year 10 pupils are usually good at this.

However, most Year 10 pupils would know that Easter Day is "the holiest day in the Christian calendar", not Good Friday.

Adam Grainger

Education consultant

27 Rock Avenue



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