CAFFEW – Choice & Freedom from Enforced Worship campaign
From Martin Henderson, North Yorkshire Humanists Campaign Group:
There have been some developments recently on enforced religious worship in schools, as required by the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act. This has been highlighted by the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee advice to the government in relation to ECHR Section 9. The government seem poised to largely ignore this advice in order to preserve the status quo. See the BHA submission on their website.
A concerted lobbying campaign may assist in raising the issues in the media, alerting our elected government representatives to discontent with the present situation, and raising the profile of the BHA and other secular groups. We would ask members sympathetic to this campaign to take one or more of the following actions:
- Write to their MPs, who can be found via Secularists UK.
- Contact members of the Education Department, such as Education Secretary Alan Johnson, Lord Adonis and Schools Minister Jim Knight, and the Department of Education and Skills.
- Write to local and national newspapers.
- Write or e-mail other media, such as the BBC.
We ask members to compose their own letters, as this will deter the recipients from sending a standard response, but try and include some of the following points.
- Schools should be able to adopt their own policies regarding whether or not they hold acts of worship.
- All children of an age at which they can be deemed capable of making informed choice should be able to absent themselves (regardless of their parents’ wishes) from acts of collective worship and/or religious education.
- Religion should be taught in a factual manner, which should include non religious life stances, and none should be given preference.
In addition, keep your eyes and ears open, and be prepared to respond to actions which would oppose the BHA proposals.
We appreciate that MPs can take some time to reply (if they do at all), but hope that if they are contacted in the next week or two it may concentrate their minds.
If any participants wish to send any feedback to us, we will collate it and circulate results in due course.
To respond to this message, contact us and we’ll forward your message to Martin.