I was very interested to read Professor Richard Dawkins' views on "The danger to civilisation as we know it" presented by those of us who work in church school education.
We could of course turn the argument around and make similarly sweeping and biased comments about the scientific area in which Professor Dawkins operates: "Given the great harm that scientists do ... in the way of inventing bombs, technologies which lead to global warming; unnecessary experimenting on animals; designing gas chambers for Holocaust victims; (not to mention to fluoridation of water) I object to my taxes being used to the end of teaching Key Stage One children about magnets!" More seriously, the churches put a great deal of extra finance and personal resources into church schools, in addition to that provided by the state. It is hardly surprising therefore that many church schools even in disadvantaged benefits from this. As a non-Anglican, this vast gift from the churches to the life of the nation is made only more significant by your report that so many Anglican dioceses are in the red and must be making great sacrifices to maintain this charitable support.
Professor Dawkins claims to be an atheist. If he affirmed a religious commitment, then his rubbishing of other people's views would be rightly dismissed as fundamentalist. I suggest that less objecting and more objectivity on his part would lead to a more constructive contribution to this debate.
Revd B J Thomas
Schools' RE Adviser