Parent calls to remove ‘religious observance’ in non-denominational schools

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A parent in Edinburgh has launched a petition calling on the city council to look at banning religious observance in non-denominational schools.

The move has been backed by Edinburgh Secular Society.

At present, education authorities are required to provide religious education as well as opportunities for religious observance.

But mother-of-one Veronica Wikman wants things such as hymn singing and worship at assemblies scrapped.

Under the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, schools have a statutory requirement to offer religious education and religious observance. This legislation originally dates from 1872.

Scottish government guidelines state every school should provide opportunities for religious observance at least six times in a school year.

Ms Wikman has set up a petition on the Edinburgh City Council website calling for a local vote on a proposal to discontinue religious observance in non-denominational schools in the city.

She said: “Religious observance has nothing to do with education but everything to do with religious indoctrination.

Written By: BBC News
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

15 COMMENTS

  1. In reply to #1 by Rattyman1964:

    Would it be inappropriate to sign the petition if I’m not Scottish an live in England?

    No please do. The more the challenge can be given to any number of councils the more chance there is of it happening.

  2. I wonder if it would be acceptable to provide the required observance from a different religious perspective on each occasion. They could start with Roman gods, then worship an African spirit, then some Egyptian gods, then worship some trees, then the sun etc. Would this be acceptable to the authorities? If not, why not?

  3. I live in the US and tried signing the petition, but you have to enter a postal code, presumably a Scottish one (it won’t take my US one). Does this mean that I can’t sign, or is there a way around?

    In reply to #2 by ugh1979:

    In reply to #1 by Rattyman1964:

    Would it be inappropriate to sign the petition if I’m not Scottish an live in England?

    No please do. The more the challenge can be given to any number of councils the more chance there is of it happening.

  4. In reply to #3 by Capt. Bloodeye:

    I wonder if it would be acceptable to provide the required observance from a different religious perspective on each occasion. They could start with Roman gods, then worship an African spirit, then some Egyptian gods, then worship some trees, then the sun etc. Would this be acceptable to the authorities? If not, why not?

    Whilst this makes sense you will simply come up against the xtians proclaiming the U.K. is a christian country,even though it is patently not.

  5. I cured my landlord of pontificating about a dearth of religious instruction in schools by asking what was to stop the scientologists from advocating for their point of view to be taught. He said scientology wasn’t really a religion to which I agreed heartily but the government has to recognize it as such or violate the Constitution. I introduced him to the internet as a way for tracking down what calls itself religion these days and now he’s foursquare against religion in schools, at least until the government quits being so stupid about recognizing false religions. No, irony is not his strong suit.

  6. parents have a right to withdraw their children from religious lessons and assemblies

    I look forward to the day statements such as this are reversed – it’s as if the burden of proof is on the non-religious parents; poor kids must feel like freaks >(

  7. In reply to #5 by therbert03:

    I live in the US and tried signing the petition, but you have to enter a postal code, presumably a Scottish one (it won’t take my US one). Does this mean that I can’t sign, or is there a way around?

    It looks like it’s a regional petition. I tried signing, but it rejected my English postcode.

    Pity, as I strongly think religion in education should be reduced simply to teaching students the facts of modern society and cultures. Making students worship is nonsense. Religious practice is a private affair, not a public obligation, and having it for only one religion is blatantly partisan anyway. Plus, it’s inconsistent with our multicultural ethos.

  8. Oh I just love the way the holy man introduces the word “spiritual” into his comments. A term so vague and amorphous that it leaves wriggle room for the ” There must be something more” brigade !

    Of course he is also against indoctrination, HUH ! I believe I remember a piece by Richard called “Lying For Jesus” on the old site !

    Thou shalt not bear false witness unless of course Christianity requireth it !

  9. There is a similar campaign in Greece, and they are especially asking for foreigners to sign: http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/02/guest-post-updates-on-forced-indoctrination-case-in-greek-school/

    And the situation in Hungary is soon going to be similar: religious education is going to be compulsory from September, and non-religious kids will get “morals” classes (not ethics) delivered also by teachers who took only a short course at a denominational college: [Secular Hungary]
    (http://secularhungary.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/jesus-is-not-good-enough/)

  10. The Greeks have a similar petition, and they are asking foreigners to sign it. Kids can opt out of religious education (which includes daily prayer and attending mass), but this doesn’t work in practice:
    [Petiton] (https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_forced_religious_indoctrination_in_Greek_schools/)
    (And something similar happens in Hungary, but [this is just funny] (https://secularhungary.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/jesus-is-not-good-enough/).)

  11. I appreciate that you are trying to help, but please don’t sign the petition if you don’t meet the requirements, i.e. being a registered voter and Edinburgh resident. It will only help our opponents if we get lots of invalid signatures… Sofar, the petition has got 773 signatures, which is more than we actually need (provided most of them are valid) Thanks for trying to help us though!

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