Category: Diary

Pink Humanist

Pink HumanistThe latest issue of The Pink Humanist, the only LGBT magazine for Atheists, Humanists, Sceptics and Freethinkers, is out now. This issue has a strongly international flavour, with articles on Christianity and Fascism in the Ukraine, The Exemption of Gays in Turkey from Military Service, and Religious Law, Democracy and Human Rights in Africa – the last by the courageous Nigerian Humanist Leo Igwe.

A humanist on BBC Radio Essex

A discussion on BBC Radio Essex about the monarchy and religion. Contributors are Margaret Nelson from Suffolk Humanists & Secularists and the Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell. If you’re not in Essex or South Suffolk, you can listen via the BBC Essex website or listen again on iPlayer.

Ipswich Science in the Pub

John Benton says, “If anyone is unclear about the interactive nature… basically we’ll be drinking beer, talking about science, and browsing the web :)”

The proposed Fullfledge school – Steiner, or not?

A guest post from Melanie Byng, aka @ThetisMercurio on Twitter:

Looking at the Fullfledge Ecology School site I see that: ‘Our teachers will be creative, dedicated and both Steiner and State qualified‘.

There is no reason for Fullfledge teachers to be trained as Steiner teachers – unless Fullfledge is to be a Steiner Waldorf school. Steiner teacher training courses are based on Rudolf Steiner’s religion/belief system, anthroposophy. Here is another example, this time from the UK: The London Waldorf Seminar – Steiner education teacher training.

Does Fullfledge intend to create its own Steiner teacher training course, without the anthroposophy which underpins the entire education system? If so, what exactly would be left? If teachers at Fullfledge are trained on Steiner teacher training courses as they exist now, surely prospective parents should be informed about anthroposophy – especially as Fullfledge is already (in our opinion) describing itself dishonestly as not-a-Steiner school. This lack of honesty, however well-meaning some involved may be, will only make things more bewildering when life at the school goes wrong for staff or families.

As Esther Fidler commented in her post at UK Anthroposophy (and note that Ewout Van-Manen is still listed on the Fullfledge site as one of those responsible for ‘Vision and Curriculum’, as a Director of School Development at Greenwich Steiner School and – perhaps surprisingly – as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts):

In my opinion, the only thing setting Fullfledge apart from a regular Steiner school is that the initiative is not a member of the UK Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF), a prerequisite for including Steiner in a school’s name. Van-Manen said that many parents felt secure with the Steiner curriculum but that SWSF schools have become ‘associated with dogma’ with which Fullfledge did not wish to be associated, as (he said) “Most of the things you read on the internet about Steiner schools are true”.

Steiner Free School in Suffolk one step closer

The people behind the Fullfledge Ecology School, a Steiner school planned for the Woodbridge area, report:

Our proposal has passed the first stage of approval and we are now on the second stage, which is an interview with the DFE. We are preparing for this now.

Five members of the project team will represent Fullfledge Ecology School at the interview.

The DFE will inform us ‘in the summer’ whether we have the final go ahead to start the school in September 2013.

Click here to read our previous posts on this proposal, any why it’s not good news. Click here to read what the Steiner Waldorf critics say.

Lunacy in Jerusalem

The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.

Which version of Easter do you prefer?

Easter eggsFor a majority of people in the UK, Easter is mainly about a long weekend, chocolate eggs, and spring. The origins of the spring holiday are disputed but they go back to pre-Christian times, when Pagans celebrated the spring equinox, which was on March 20th this year, and the end of winter.

The word Easter is derived from the name of a Germanic Pagan goddess of Spring, variously known as Ēostre, Ēastre or Ostara. The Easter bunny, accordng to some, was actually a hare, but either way it was a symbol of fertility, and likewise the egg. Chocolate manufacturers, including Cadbury’s, saw the opportunity to increase their profits by creating chocolate eggs as a substitite for the painted eggs that were previously given as gifts.

No one knows if or when the Christian’s Jesus was crucified (a common form of execution by the Romans between 6BCE and 4AD), but it probably wasn’t at Easter. Just as the early church adopted the pagan midwinter solstice festival and renamed it Christmas, they almost certainly did the same with the spring festival.