Campaigning against religion can be socially counter-productive. If teachers take the uncompromising line that God and Darwinism are irreconcilable, many young people raised in a faith-based culture will stick with their religion and be lost to science. Moreover, we need all the allies we can muster against fundamentalism – a palpable, perhaps growing concern.
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Two stories that have been in the news have attracted lots of attention; the French burqa ban and the Big Society.
Eric Pickles and Sayeeda Warsi seem to imagine that religious organisations are the best ones to provide public services in the Big Society. In yesterday’s Guardian, Rahila Gupta wrote,
“Faith” has increasingly become the new way of constructing racial minorities, a trend that started under Tony Blair and continues under the Tory-led government. Secularism is seen as so intrinsically western that it is unimaginable for policymakers to conceive that it might be welcome within minority communities, especially the powerless among them.
The burqa ban continues to attract a lot of debate. Many think that we should have a similar ban here. I blogged against the idea and was answered by blogger Kausik Datta in the US, who disagreed with me.
What do you think?
In the Independent, Adrian Hamilton writes,
… this Easter week, I can’t help feeling more than ever that the Church of England will not survive my children’s lifetime and quite possibly not even my own.
He opines that the C of E may do better if it severs its ties with the state. We’d like disestablishment too, wouldn’t we?
At its AGM last week, the Suffolk Humanist & Secularist group failed to elect a new chairperson, as no one wanted the job. It was agreed that a chairperson would be nominated from the attendees at each meeting, while the committee would take it in turns to chair their meetings.
The new committee consists of Denis Johnston (secretary), John Mellis (treasurer), John Palmer, Tom Boles, Colleen Nunn, Michael Imison, Tom Boles, Sue Hewlett and Peter Davidson. This is the largest committee that the group has ever had.
As to Martin Rees accepting the Templeton prize, it’s rather like the Pope accepting the secularist of the year award.
Group members will be consulted about the BHA’s proposal to change the relationship with us, signing up to a detailed agreement. We are currently affiliated but could become a partner. We’ll be deciding when and how to consult members.
Our guest Esther Fidler, a Suffolk primary school teacher, thinks not. Come and hear why. For more about the proposed school, type “Steiner” in our search box.
Members enjoyed talking about the books they’d read at our May meeting, so they wanted to do it again. This time, we may talk about films too, maybe even films of books. Share your recommended reading or films.
Prof. John Midwinter (BSc & PhD in Physics, Hon. DSc, Fellow of the Royal Society) will address the following questions:
- What is the truth about climate change? (the scientific evidence)
- What are the implications for us?
- How can we reduce our personal fossil fuel consumption?
- What are the possibilities for large scale renewable energy in the UK?
- Tipping points – the real worry behind the climate change debate.