The Times Educational Supplement is reporting this morning that the Prime Minister is planning to send a King James Bible to every school in the country, complete with a foreword by Michael Gove, the Education Minister.
Mr Gove is quoted as saying that the King James Bible was the most important book written in the English language. “It’s a thing of beauty, and it’s also an incredibly important historical artefact. It has helped shape and define the English language and is one of the keystones of our shared culture. And it is a work that has had international significance.” (Source NSS)
Freedom OF religion means that we should be free to practice (or not) our own religions (or none) without Gove and Cameron intervening in a bid to surreptitiously inject Christianity into our childrens’ lives. I quite agree they should learn ABOUT world religions, but that should cover them all equally and without expecting the kids to believe them. They should also learn that their religion stops with them. We already have RE lessons: the fact they are biased means our curriculum should be adjusted.
The works of Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Dylan Thomas (for whom my son is named), Wilfred Owen, Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell etc are just as valuable (and more relevant) to English literary heritage but you don’t see them handing out (or making an issue of handing out) copies of those books. The fact that it is this one version of ONE holy book is extremely telling of the agenda of Creepy-Cameron and the Tories. I won’t be objecting to religious speakers at my sons’ assemblies and RE lessons either but I shall be insisting that all major religions are represented, as well as the less ‘present’ beliefs including Deism, Pantheism, Humanism and those with a total lack of belief.
There is a difference between religious people and people of faith. People of faith have their religion and are content to follow it without expecting others to do so. It makes them happy, it doesn’t impinge on the lives of others and they respect the rights of others to lead their own lives and follow their own beliefs in peace. People of religion, on the other hand, cannot rest until the rest of the world believe and live by their chosen brand of whichever religion they cling to. They go door knocking and some even go as far as to publicly and viciously lambaste the ideas of secularism (Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury), and members and ‘morals’ of those of others religions and of no belief (the EDL). They try to make laws (or in the case of the EDL, inspire pogroms) and bring in legislation (such as the incredibly dangerous ‘blasphemy’ law) based on their own belief systems as a means to force their own choices on the rest of us by stealth. They are who we need to guard against and the best means of doing that is to keep any form religious worship at home (or churches/mosques/temples/synagogues etc) and out of politics and state funded education.