- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
The question applies to both sides of ‘the pond’ I would suggest as, reading about such things, there does appear to be something of a rise in Christian fundamentalism in the USA.
Secular, of course, means a society where politics and religion are kept well apart – and a good thing too if you ask me, albeit I am refraining from expressing my opinion here. Sorry, forgot.
In the USA, there does seem to be a considerable amount of ‘religion’ popping up in American politics. Primarily Christian. If even half of what those of us outside the USA hear and read, then there is clearly far too much religion or, to be more accurate, religious beliefs, cropping up in American politics.
This is very dangerous ground. As soon as you allow religion to be introduced into political debate – apart from the obviously justifiable reasons, such as religious tolerance and so forth – then you are sliding down a very slippery slope indeed.
As I am a Brit I can do no more than express an observation of American politics. I know there has always been a degree of this Christian business in American politics but, is it my imagination or, is the involvement of Christian belief having far more influence today than yesterday?
In Britain, we have pretty much managed to keep religion at bay politically speaking. Ever since Henry VIII had a fall out with Catholicism, religion has taken an increasing fringe like position in our political landscape.
However, Britains ‘landscape’ is changing in some areas, and quite dramatically.
At the Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, a school program was started four years ago saying it should welcome people of any race, color, religion and those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
The idea was to educate children that everyone is equal. To educate them not to fear ‘differences’. To educate them not to be intolerant or hateful to anyone because of their skin color, religious beliefs or their sexual orientation.
This program was extremely successful until now.
Why now I have no idea. I can only presume that the parents of the children now protesting at this program, didn’t have children at the school, or of an age were they were included in it, when it began four years ago.
Three hundred Muslim parents have protested vocally outside the school and succeeded in having the program closed down.
They have stated that homosexuality is wrong in Islam and, therefore, they will not allow their children to be ‘indoctrinated’ into accepting homosexuality or any other sexual choice deviating from heterosexuality.
The parents’ anger is aimed at the school’s assistant head Andrew Moffat, who is behind the ‘No Outsiders’ lessons, as they are named. He created the scheme to teach children about the Equality Act and British values.
Pupils at the school – rated outstanding by ‘Ofsted’, which is the schools inspectorate in Britain – have five of these lessons a year, covering areas outlined in the Equality Act. Age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
The program was first piloted at the school in 2014 and is now also taught at dozens of other schools in the country.
Andrew Moffat was actually awarded an MBE for services to equality and diversity in education in 2017 and, I have ascertained through research – WOW! Me? Research? What is the world coming too? – he is currently shortlisted for a ‘world’s best teacher’ award.
Through the aforementioned research – I really should make a habit of this research thing shouldn’t I? – He was forced to resign from a previous teaching post at another school after a row with Christian parents, over lessons challenging homophobia – and is now facing even louder vocal complaints from parents at Parkfield School, where 98 per cent of the 750 pupils are said to be from an Islamic background.
So, first the teacher is forced out by ‘Christians’ who don’t like gay people, and now he is to be forced out by ‘Islamic’ parents who don’t like gay people.
It appears that religion is being allowed to influence in places that it shouldn’t.
In America, as far as I can tell, more fundamentalist Christian ideas are seeping into the political side of things and, in Britain, whilst we have the odd ‘Christian’ thing going on, it seems to be more Islam that is interfering.
Respecting the religious faith of others is all well and good but, it is beholden on them to respect our views as well.
When our liberal secular societies arrive at a stage where we are actively encouraging and educating children into not growing up into bigots, we really need to explain to the religious among us who disagree, that they are living in a liberal secular society so, they either accept it or, if they cannot, they go and find somewhere else to live and spout their religious bigotry where ever they end up.
The problem is, we struggle to say such things as we are a liberal secular society and, as such, we want to include everyone, including the religious bigots.
So, what should we do?
I have an opinion of course, but I am far more interested in what you think about all of this religious stuff increasingly harming our western liberal secular societies.