Letters extra : Proselytisers for secularism

9th March 2001 at 00:00

There is a strange sectarian logic about the secularist backlash against church schools (TES February 23). It seems to be agreed that national church attendance overall is falling, but that church schools are very popular.

So Richard Dawkins and A C Grayling say that parents should not be allowed to have the kind of schools they want because, according to Dawkins, such parents are 'insane' and, according to the National Secular Society, they are ignorant and need to be told what they want. Grayling objects to his taxes paying for religious schools. Many taxpayers would object to their taxes paying for schools which rubbished their faiths, as Grayling and Dawkins rubbish them in the quotes in your report.

There are many non-denominational schools in which faith is respected, and the young people whose personal and family identity is based on belief in God are educated responsibly. Dawkins and Grayling evidently wish schools to be proselytisers for secularism, whose moral reductionism and exclusion of God gave us the 20th century at its worst.

No one seems to argue that the human sex instinct should be hushed up in schools, although it causes conflict, persecution and oppression, and some of its manifestations have recently been defined as crimes against humanity. Secularist reactionaries do, however, argue that the human instinct for religion should not be commended to children in case religious experience disturbs their faith in Western scientism. The post-modern irrepressibility of religion makes Dawkins, Grayling, and the National Secular Society look the late Victorian relics that they are. Schools according to their taste would be agents of antiquated Western cultural imperialism.

Richard Wilkins
General Secretary Association of Christian Teachers
94a London Road
St Albans AL1 1NX

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