Gaining Balance in RE
Should RE teach Christianity, or about Christianity?
Understanding Christianity and the study of religion and worldviews, is an academic study by former RE teacher Chris Selway which is recently published.
The paper argues that several changes are necessary if RE is to gain credibility with the public:
- It should be taught through an objective, critically-engaged and pluralistic approach.
- Education about religion should explore both the positive and negative consequences of religion in a balanced way.
- RE should take “more of a socio-historical or anthropological approach”, rather than one which is focused on theology.
- There should be a “major shift” in the funding and management of RE.
To see more visit the website of the National Secular Society.
Bishops in the House of Lords
The presence of the Church of England in the House of Lords entrenches a privileged position for one particular branch of one particular religion.
Only 16% of the population profess affiliation to the Church of England according to the 2013 British Social Attitudes survey, (and only 1.4% being in Church on any given Sunday according to the church’s own attendance figures.)
Did you know that if two members of the House of Lords wish to speak, the Bishop is given the right to speak first?
Cornwall Humanists work towards a fairer society at local and national level.
Amanda Spielman – Head of OFSTED
School leaders should promote “muscular liberalism”
The National Secular Society has welcomed a call from the head of education watchdog Ofsted for head teachers to confront religious extremists who “indoctrinate impressionable minds”.
In a speech at the Church of England Foundation for Education Leadership, Amanda Spielman told heads they had a responsibility to “tackle those who actively undermine fundamental British values or equalities law”.
Ms Spielman said school leaders should promote “a muscular liberalism” which “holds no truck for ideologies that want to close minds or narrow opportunity”. She contrasted this with “a passive liberalism that says ‘anything goes’ for fear of causing offence”.
On 25th April The National Secular Society published a press release warning that academisation risks increasing religious influence.
Three extracts from the NSS press release :
In 2015 the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group said that the Church had an “urgent need” to focus evangelism on children, young people and their parents in light of a catastrophic collapse in adult church attendance.
The earlier CofE ‘Church School of the Future‘ report set out a strategy of expanding the number of Church schools to “intensify the religious input into lesson”, calling for a new “concordat” between the Church and the Government to “reinforce and enhance” the Church’s influence throughout the education system.
The NSS has also raised questions about land ownership, expressing concern that “public land will be transferred from local authorities and placed under control of the local diocese for 125 years, and, given the permission of the secretary of state, the church could use it however it likes”.
Read the whole press release