Category: Diary

The BBC will have to consult us – hooray!

Andrew CopsonFrom the Independent:

Religious broadcasting has taken an unexpected turn at the BBC, leaving secularists last night claiming a breakthrough. An important new committee that the corporation will consult on religious broadcasting is to include a humanist.

Read more about it on the BHA website. The humanist who’ll sit on the Standing Conference on Religion and Belief will be Andrew Copson, the BHA’s Director of Education & Public Affairs.

The atheist bus campaign, and hell

Fire

The campaign was the idea of comedy writer Ariane Sherine, who’d seen some Christian bus ads with a link to a website with an unpleasant message. How unpleasant? Judge for yourself. I especially dislike the bit about God’s wrath if you reject him – 

You will be condemned to everlasting separation from God and then you spend all eternity in torment in hell. Jesus spoke about this as a lake of fire which was prepared for the devil and all his angels (demonic spirits) (Matthew 25: 41).

It’s staggering that people who can walk and talk and (presumably) tie their own shoelaces still believe in fire and brimstone in 2009.

Urgent response required – extreme religion in the classroom

A few years ago, while visiting a local high school, one of the girls told me that her little sister had been told that their parents would go to hell because they were atheists. Who told her? Her primary school teacher. Did they complain? I believe they did, though I don’t know what the outcome was.

In another local primary school, a class had been doing some science about colours. The head teacher visited the classroom and was admiring a picture of a rainbow. She asked the artist where the colours came from. As the child began to explain what she’d learned about the refraction of light, the head teacher interrupted her. “No, no, no,” she said, “God did it!”

With examples like this of religious nuts imposing their beliefs on children, it’s good to know that such behaviour is generally frowned upon in state schools. Teachers who aim to make the classroom a religiously-neutral zone should be supported. However, religious bullies can make life very difficult.

In Surrey, Muslim parents who’d accused a primary school headteacher of “Islamophobia” were allowed to drive her out of her job and wreck the school’s religiously neutral ethos, while the county council “failed in its duty to protect her”, according to the High Court, who awarded £400,000 damages.

In Devon, a headteacher who reprimanded a child for suggesting that non- Christians would go to hell has been bombarded with threats against him and his family.