Letters: Religion in assembly is cross examined - Professor William Shaw

14th August 2009 at 01:00

Original paper headline: Religion in assembly is cross examined

I would suggest the Archbishop read Article 14 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that "children may believe whatever they want as long as they do not harm others".

The real issue here is the ongoing violation of children's freedom of thought by children of any age having to engage in collective worship, or to suffer RE syllabuses that are little more than squalid evangelism. Education is about teaching children how to think, and to question what is told to them. Faith is about teaching children what to think and not to question.

The sooner the two are forcibly separated the better. I encourage parents to exercise their rights to withdraw their children from these silly rituals if they find they are unsuitable. My favourite quote on the matter is by Victor Hugo: "There is in every village a torch: the schoolteacher, and an extinguisher: the priest."

  • Professor William Shaw, King's College London.

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