The Church of England will concede in a statement that it was over-defensive and over-emotional in dismissing Darwin’s ideas. It will call “anti-evolutionary fervour” an “indictment” on the Church”. The bold move is certain to dismay sections of the Church that believe in creationism and regard Darwin’s views as directly opposed to traditional Christian teaching.
Europe’s first state-funded school for Hindus, which receives its spiritual guidance from the Hare Krishna movement, opens today in London amid continued concern about the divisive nature of faith schools. Krishna-Avanti primary school, in the north-west borough of Harrow, home to about a quarter of the UK’s Hindu population, is welcoming 30 children to its temporary base at Little Stanmore primary school.
The OCR exam board planned to become the first to include the subject alongside six major religions in its draft GCSE syllabus. But its proposal was rejected by Ofqual, the exams regulator, which ruled that humanism was a “body of belief” and not a religion. The British Humanist Association (BHA) described the decision as a “kick in the teeth” and is seeking a judicial review.
Discrimination on the grounds of faith, race, gender, sexual orientation and disability is outlawed under UK and European human rights law. There would be an outcry if any school overtly refused entry to a black child, or turned down an Asian teacher on the grounds of race, yet schools can routinely refuse entry to children on the grounds of their religious adherence, or lack of it, because faith schools are exempt from the equalities legislation.
I’ve been tipped off that a nasty atheist has been making trouble locally. My source informs me,
A self-confessed atheist took issue with a Christian neighbour who had placed a metal fish on the rear of her car. He went on to subject her to months of harassment and intimidating behaviour.
The anti-social atheist was in court today.
In anticipation of any “There, you see! Atheists are all nasty people!” stories in the local media, with indignant Christians queueing up to say they told us so, here are a few points you might raise, if necessary:
The National Secular Society, together with the International Humanist and Ethical Union, has been working over the past year to try to raise the alarm about the concerted efforts by Islamic groups to write blasphemy laws into international human rights legislation. Our efforts seem to be paying off, as other countries and organisations begin to appreciate the profound dangers to free speech posed by proposals from the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).
A statue by Terence Koh of a tumescent Christ in Gateshead has led to predictable howls of outrage, followed by the now familiar scratchy noise of lines being drawn in the sand. “Enough gratuitous offence to believers!” says one side; “enough kowtowing to religious sensitivities!” say the other.
Americans have an unhealthy desire to see average people promoted to positions of great authority. No one wants an average neurosurgeon or even an average carpenter, but when it comes time to vest a man or woman with more power and responsibility than any person has held in human history, Americans say they want a regular guy, someone just like themselves. President Bush kept his edge on the “Who would you like to have a beer with?” poll question in 2004, and won reelection.
Children start their new schools this week for the 12th year under Labour. Who could have predicted that more pupils than ever will be going to religious schools this term, as the churches boasted gleefully? Pews empty but faith schools multiply. There are about 14,000 non-religious schools, and nearly 7,000 faith schools.
SO CARDINAL Sean Brady still expects us to believe that the Catholic Church has no desire to interfere in the political process. The Church’s often-repeated mantra to that effect is about as objective and accurate as the mendacious and misleading statement that secularism is hostile to religion.