Alan Johnson’s making children worship
That’s what his attitude to collective worship in schools amounts to. We wondered whether he’d be a better Education Secretary than Ruth Kelly – that is, whether he’d be less inclined to promote faith schools and religion in general – but no, he won’t.
The National Secular Society reports that Executive Director Keith Porteous Wood wrote to Mr Johnson, having heard that faith leaders were pressing him to enforce collective worship more vigorously. Mr Johnson wrote back that collective worship provides an opportunity for pupils to “worship God”. NSS Newsline (7/7/06) reports,
In a letter to the National Secular Society, Mr Johnson makes clear that he has no intention of addressing the question of legally enforced worship in schools. “Our view remains that there are benefits associated with collective worship in schools”, Mr Johnson wrote. “It can provide an opportunity not only to worship God but also to consider spiritual and moral issues and to explore their own beliefs. Collective worship can also help to develop community spirit, promote a common ethos and shared values and reinforce positive attitudes,”
Alan Johnson, and all the faith leaders who are so keen to enforce the law on collective worship, fail to see that you cannot force anyone to ‘worship’, or to believe, or to be religious. However, they may be doing us a favour. The evidence suggests that British school children are being put off religion for life by enforced religious assemblies.