Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Liberal Democrat education policy - a triumph for secular humanism


If the polls are correct, and the present level of support for the Liberal Democrats is sustained and translates into hard votes, a hung parliament will yield more than another Gordon Brown premiership with Vince Cable as Chancellor. Nick Clegg will be in a position to exercise more power than any Liberal leader for more than a century. And the price of coalition is likely to be two or three Cabinet posts.

Imagine if they demanded Education policy (aka Children, Schools and Families). The following document is most illuminating and establishes precisely why the Liberal Democrats are not only manifestly illiberal, but also profoundly undemocratic:

Faith Schools – a Humanist & Secularist Liberal Democrat Briefing

What is Liberal Democrat Policy?

The case for secular state education has a long liberal tradition dating back to John Stuart Mill. Current Liberal Democrat policy on faith schools was determined by the March 2009 debate on Education policy in Harrogate. The relevant sections of the motion are reproduced below:

1) Allowing parents and pupils to choose schools, and not schools to choose pupils, by stopping the establishment of new schools which select by ability, aptitude or faith, and by introducing policies radically to reduce all existing forms of selection.

2) i) Allowing parents to continue to choose faith-based schools within the state-funded sector, and allow the establishment of additional faith schools.

ii) Requiring all existing state-funded faith schools to come forward within five years with plans to demonstrate the inclusiveness of their intakes, with local authorities empowered to oversee and approve the delivery of these plans, and to withdraw state-funded status where inclusiveness cannot be demonstrated.

iii) Ending the opt-out from employment and equalities legislation for staff in faith schools, except those responsible for religious instruction.

iv) Requiring schools who choose to hold assemblies to ensure that any act of collective worship is optional for pupils who are old enough to decide for themselves and otherwise for parents.

3) Ensuring that religious education is inclusive in all schools and teaches about what people believe rather than what to believe, while leaving faith schools free to offer their pupils religious instruction in the school's own faith, subject to pupils being able to opt out where they have attained the maturity to make that decision for themselves and subject to parental decision until that point.

The basic position therefore is that the Liberal Democrats would allow the creation of new faith schools. However they would not be able to discriminate by selecting on the basis of faith. Existing faith schools, many of which select on the basis of faith, would be allowed to continue using faith based selection criteria providing that they could demonstrate the inclusiveness of their intakes. For example: does examination of free school meal data indicate that the faith school under consideration has a similar socio-economic mix to neighbouring community schools?

While we acknowledge that many ‘Faith’ Schools are in practice open to all of the local community, where they are not we recognise the restriction of the rights of other parents who find that they cannot get their children into a taxpayer-funded school because of a faith requirement.

We are also concerned that faith-based admissions (where that leads to racial and religious segregation of children) could be socially divisive, particularly in the context of the greater ethnic and religious diversity of 21st century Britain. We believe that state funded schools should not be places that reinforce existing divisions within and between communities. We recognise that many faith schools do not apply faith based admissions criteria but are no less faith schools as a result.

– extract from Liberal Democrat policy paper number 89 'Equity and Excellence'

The policy also provides protection for employees of faith schools who currently are not afforded the same protection under anti-discrimination law as employees of other schools. There would be a very narrow exemption for staff who are primarily responsible for religious instruction.

We recognise that all teachers (whatever their beliefs) have a duty to uphold the ethos of the school, but we believe that no teacher should run the risk of having their career options narrowed on the basis of their religious beliefs or their lifestyle. Nor should pupils be denied access to the best teachers as a result of discrimination on the basis of religion. Liberal Democrats have always opposed the exemption that exists in employment law allowing faith schools to reserve a proportion of posts for teachers who profess a specific religion.

- extract from Liberal Democrat policy paper number 89 'Equity and Excellence'

We would bring an end to the requirement for a compulsory act of worship. Where schools choose to continue with assemblies of a religious nature children with sufficient maturity ('Gillick competent') would be able to opt out, and if not their parents can opt out.

We would set down broad guidance on religious education at a national level and ensure that religious education in state funded schools educates young people about people’s beliefs and practise in terms of the main religious belief systems. It should not specify what pupils themselves should believe and practise.In addition faith schools would be able to offer religious instruction in their own faith, subject to a similar opt-out as above.

Praise for the Policy

The political tide is turning. It is a recognition that it is not in the best interest of children or society at large for faith schools to use pupil selection and staff employment practices that are discriminatory and divisive. ...this policy is a clear signal that the Lib Dems recognise there is a problem. It is vital for the social harmony of Britain that schools build bridges between different faith communities, not isolate them from each other. Accord welcomes the bravery of the Liberal Democrats in being the first political party to put the national good above sectarian interests.
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, Chair of Accord

This is the first time a major party has recognised and sought to address the dangers in religious segregation that will be created by new religious schools. Together with their progressive policies on RE, worship and employment in religious schools, it marks a good step forward for those in the Liberal Democrat party and elsewhere who care about an inclusive state education system.
Andrew Copson, Director of Education and Public Affairs, British Humanist Association

The Liberal Democrats education policy remains the least discriminatory and most secular of all three major parties.
National Secular Society comment on Harrogate education debate

This vote is a breakthrough. It is the first time that a mainstream political party has acknowledged that there are significant barriers that faith schools need to remove if they are to be fully inclusive. It is also the first time that a mainstream political party has pledged to tackle the barriers which stand in the way of achieving full inclusion in faith schools. As such the change of policy represents an important shift from denial that there is a problem, to acknowledgement that action needs to be taken.
Jonathan Bartley, co-director of religious think tank Ekklesia (there's a surprise...).

We respect the rights to freedom of belief and to education, and understand the desire of parents to bring up their children with the family's beliefs. However, it is not the job of publicly funded schools to instil a religious faith in children. The abolition of state funded faith schools would be entirely consistent with the Article 2 of the Human Rights Act. Countries such as France and the United States have secular state education and robust religious communities.
Lib Dem Humanist & Secularist Group policy position on faith schools (there's another surprise).

(No quotation from the LibDem Christian Group?...)

Why Liberal Democrats should not support faith schools

Publicly funded schools should not exercise undue influence over young children to adopt religious beliefs before they are mature enough to make up their own minds.
Religion is a very personal matter. It is also a matter of deep dispute: many people do not believe there is a god, while others adopt one of many competing theistic religions, and some adopt "life-stances" or "world views" that are religious but without gods (like classical Buddhism, or Scientology).

It is not for the Government, or Parliament, or some local education authority body, to decide what children should be taught to believe. This is an improper role for state schools, funded by the public, in a community that values freedom of belief and religion. Parents who wish may bring their children up in their own religious tradition, but this is their responsibility at home, in cooperation if they wish with their church, mosque or temple.

The schools provided by everyone's taxes should respect the autonomy of their pupils, providing them with information and education, not with disputed religious doctrine.

The state should support schools which offer impartial, fair and balanced multi-faith belief education (which should include non-religious, as well as religious, world views), rather than the one-faith religious instruction and worship practised in some religious schools.

Faith-based schools introduce selection by the back door, reinforcing social divisions.

Religious schools are allowed to operate admissions policies that favour children of the appropriate faith. Often, however, the reputation of church schools for academic results leads to competition among parents to get their children admitted.

At the extreme, parents move house to get into the right catchment area and start attending church and supporting parish functions for no other reason than improve the chance of getting their child admitted.

The parents who go to such lengths are unusually committed to their children's education - the sort any school would long to have. This results in church schools on average having far fewer than their "quota" of children from socially deprived backgrounds.

The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is an established measure of social deprivation. Church of England primary schools have only 60% and secondary schools 70% of their "fair share" of children from socially deprived backgrounds, who are usually more difficult pupils to educate. Roman Catholic schools get closer to the average (but still have fewer pupils from deprived backgrounds than non-faith schools), but other religious primary schools have only 50% and secondary schools barely 40% of their "fair share" of children from socially deprived backgrounds.

This does not mean, of course, that the schools lose their attraction to ambitious middle-class parents. But it does mean that the schools achieve no more with their children than any school would do. (see: Can Competition Improve School Standards? The Case of Faith Schools in England (2009) - Dr Rebecca Allen and Dr Anna Vignoles)
It therefore casts doubt on claims of inherent superiority in church schools that can be reproduced indefinitely if their numbers are increased. In fact, though on average the academic performance of church schools is slightly superior to others, individually their standards range from very good to appalling.

Faith-based schools tend to increase community and ethnic divisions.

Many schools in inner cities have been highly successful in combating racial and religious prejudice and in fostering not just tolerance but mutual understanding and appreciation between the many ethnic and religious groups among their pupils. But this is far more difficult if the children in a school are all or almost all from the same background.

Sometimes this is inevitable: for example, many areas are almost exclusively white and a few are sadly almost exclusively from one of the "immigrant" communities - often now predominantly British born and bred.

But religious schools tend to draw their pupils almost entirely from one ethnic community. Very few white or West Indian pupils will be sent to an Islamic, Sikh or Hindu school; very few Asian or white pupils to a Seventh Day Adventist school.

This religious-racial segregation was one of the features highlighted by Sir Herman (now Lord) Ouseley in his report on race relations in Bradford, written before but published after the serious riots in the summer of 2001. He said: "There are signs that communities are fragmenting along racial, cultural and faith lines. Segregation in schools is one indicator of this trend…". And he commented on the "inspiring... desire among young people for... more social and cultural interaction.“

It is not just ethnic divisions that religious schools reinforce. Notoriously in Northern Ireland divisions between the Catholic and Protestant communities are cemented at school. Similar divisions between Catholics and Protestants have been endemic in Liverpool and Glasgow both in schools and in the wider community.

Adding to the number of Church of England schools will exacerbate the discrimination against minority religions, such as Islam and Sikhism.

The Church of England wants to increase the number of its schools. In particular, it plans to raise the number of secondary schools it runs by 100 - which can only be done in most cases by taking over community schools. The Government supports this policy.

But already the Church of England has a disproportionate number of schools for its support in the population. It has 1 in 4 primary schools and over 1 in 20 secondary schools. Their average church attendance in England is only about 1 in 50 of all adults. The Roman Catholic Church, with about 1 in 40 adults attending its churches, is similarly favoured: it has about 1 in 10 primary and 1 in 10 secondary schools.

But other Christian denominations, with 1 in 33 adults attending their churches, have very few schools by comparison (about 1 in 240 primaries and 1 in 130 secondaries), while the non-Christian religions have only a handful of schools – about 40 Jewish schools and about a dozen for all other religions.

This discrimination is the understandable result of the historical development of schooling in England, but it is not defensible under the Human Rights Act, which forbids discrimination by the public authorities in the delivery of services on grounds of religion or belief.

This is part of the reason why the Government says it favours an expansion of faith-based schools, but it is a path towards greater division and less understanding in society.

Providing good moral education in a school with a "good ethos" can and should be done in all schools and has little or nothing to do with the school's religious affiliation.

Ofsted reports on community (i.e., non-faith) schools show time and again that they provide excellent social, moral and spiritual education without being committed to any particular religion or to any religious faith at all. To suggest otherwise - or to suggest that religious schools have an outstanding record in this regard - is unsustainable once the facts are examined.

There is no popular demand for more faith schools

The Church of England certainly wants more, and it’s hardly surprising that this has led to demands from some members of some minority groups, and some so-called “community leaders” for more of their own schools – as a simple matter of equity. This slippery slope leads to a seriously fragmented education system, which is not what most people want.

Survey after survey shows that parents just want good neighbourhood schools – and that anything from 64% to 96% of the general population does not want the expansion or even the continuance of faith schools. Clearly it’s not just humanists or secularists expressing this view.

Many Christians, including Anglicans, don’t support faith schools. Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Unitarians, and members of interfaith groups have also spoken against faith schools. Fewer than half of British Muslims want Muslim schools, and Asian women’s groups are amongst those who oppose separate schools, which they feel are designed to police their behaviour and keep them in traditional roles.

In a democracy, policies on state education should not be based on what vocal minorities, (sometimes minorities within minorities) want. State education should be inclusive.

Contrast all of that with Conservative policy, which is ably summarised by the Jubilee Centre:

New Academies, New Opportunities

Many parents, teachers, churches and other groups might be interested in the opportunities posed by the Conservatives' education proposals, which include a commitment to 220,000 extra school places in the form of New Academies, but the policy could result in less choice for parents as new schools may enjoy fewer freedoms than existing ones.

So concludes a new assessment published by the Jubilee Centre of the Conservative Party's proposals for reform of the education system, which says numerous questions still need to be clarified by the party about its draft policy.

The promise of freedom from the national curriculum raises new opportunities for faith schools in creating teaching resources with a Christian, relational message at their heart, rather than tacked on as a corrective afterwards. However, the party needs to clarify how parents and other stakeholders in pupils’ education will be responsible for school operation in practice, whilst retaining a safety net of accountability to maintain standards and, where necessary, prevent unsuitable applications.

The Conservatives have stated their commitment to opening more faith schools, although at present it seems that these will be ‘non-selective’. Depending on how this is clarified, it may close the door on particular types of faith school.

Research suggests that faith schools may promote community cohesion more than non-faith schools, but further study is needed into the nature and effect of different types of faith schools, and what they each contribute to education. A distinction should be made between those who see their distinctiveness in terms of: how the school's Christian community impacts pupils’ own identity; the wellbeing and spiritual development of the whole child, regardless of their membership of the Christian faith community; a moral and ethical framework for character formation and promoting civic values; and its contribution to pupil performance through beneficial learning habits.

The charity’s senior researcher, Dr Guy Brandon observed, 'One educationalist told the Jubilee Centre, "if the proposals are delivered as they stand, they will represent the most significant shift in educational policy for 50 years." All the same, a market-driven model of education to raise academic achievement can be unsustainable and harmful to teachers and pupils.'

The policy assessment, New Academies, New Opportunities, questions whether attempts to turn around failing schools should start by using proven and cheaper relational solutions like federation with other local schools and community engagement, rather than immediate replacement with an Academy.

Executive Director Dr John Hayward also warns that the inspection framework currently holds undue influence over school organisation and management, and is interested solely in academic performance. They suggest a need for broader value-added measures of ‘success’, such as pupil behaviour, exclusion rates, rates of alcohol and drug abuse, teenage pregnancy and crime, and levels of community engagement, such as through volunteering and the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The report also calls for the creation of a set of resources to help those setting up new schools, particularly given the specific requirements and rules around faith schools.

128 Comments:

Blogger Gnostic said...

It's not just faith schools this lot of jaundiced budgies are after.

...stopping the establishment of new schools which select by ability, aptitude or faith...

They are after what's left of the grammar schools too. When will these copro-encephalic nonentities realise that standards of education need to go up not freaking DOWN?

20 April 2010 at 08:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the heads up bish, I'll definitely be voting Liberal Democrat now.

20 April 2010 at 08:21  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Triumph for secular humanism? Maybe, but before you lot start putting the boot in try and convince me (and anyone else) that this is not a good thing. Not using sarcasm and put downs but by reasoned argument.

20 April 2010 at 08:23  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

To late!

Gnostic has already started the childish put downs.

20 April 2010 at 08:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Graham Davis

If you like equalitarianism, then it's a good thing. If you like freedom and individualism, then it's a perfect tragedy.

The zeitgeist is running your way. Congratuations. That doesn't make you right, though. It makes you Napoleon the Pig's useful idiot.

20 April 2010 at 08:41  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Mr Davis, so, you reckon my being concerned that a child reaches it's full potential - and I'm not talking RE here because I don't believe in religion - is a childish put down do you?

Well that explains a lot...

Maybe you'd like me to be more plain speaking? Perhaps words like juandiced and copro-encephalic are too difficult to understand? I can translate if you like - yellow sh*t for brains. Two very good reasons NOT to vote for the Limp Dims.

20 April 2010 at 08:48  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

WTF are we doing having Muslim, Sikh and Hindu schools in this country? Anyone?

20 April 2010 at 09:20  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Gnostic said....

yellow sh*t for brain

An excellently reasoned argument worthy of the Tenants Super debating society, well done.

20 April 2010 at 09:25  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Jared Gaites said...
WTF are we doing having Muslim, Sikh and Hindu schools in this country? Anyone?

What indeed? Let’s get rid of all Faith schools. Supernatural beliefs have no place in the education of children.

20 April 2010 at 09:25  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Ad Homs are evidence of a failed argument, so keep it polite or you are just making a fool of yourself.

20 April 2010 at 09:30  
Blogger D. Singh said...

This is why the Liberal democrats are the neo-facsists

‘Allowing parents and pupils to choose schools, and not schools to choose pupils, by stopping the establishment of new schools which select by ability, aptitude or faith, and by introducing policies radically to reduce all existing forms of selection.’

That is all intelligent children are to have their education suppressed to the level of the dullard.

‘Allowing parents to continue to choose faith-based schools within the state-funded sector, and allow the establishment of additional faith schools.’

Faith schools are to be within the control of the State. That is the State will tell our children how to think and what to believe. This runs the risk of turning child against parent.

‘Requiring all existing state-funded faith schools to come forward within five years with plans to demonstrate the inclusiveness of their intakes, with local authorities empowered to oversee and approve the delivery of these plans, and to withdraw state-funded status where inclusiveness cannot be demonstrated.’

That means more fascist control. They forget we Judaeo-Christians pay taxes.

‘Ending the opt-out from employment and equalities legislation for staff in faith schools, except those responsible for religious instruction.’

This is a direct assualt upon our God-given consciences and means that we Judaeo-Christians are to be driven out of the public square. Persecution!

‘Requiring schools who choose to hold assemblies to ensure that any act of collective worship is optional for pupils who are old enough to decide for themselves and otherwise for parents.’

But how can a child decide to opt out if he has not heard what our faith stands for? This is State prejudice!

‘Ensuring that religious education is inclusive in all schools and teaches about what people believe rather than what to believe, while leaving faith schools free to offer their pupils religious instruction in the school's own faith, subject to pupils being able to opt out where they have attained the maturity to make that decision for themselves and subject to parental decision until that point.’

Children cannot reach maturity unless they have first heard what our faith stands for; if they have not been taught what it stands for, then what are they opting out of? This shows the poverty of Lib-Dem neo-fascist thought.

‘We are also concerned that faith-based admissions (where that leads to racial and religious segregation of children) could be socially divisive, particularly in the context of the greater ethnic and religious diversity of 21st century Britain. We believe that state funded schools should not be places that reinforce existing divisions within and between communities. We recognise that many faith schools do not apply faith based admissions criteria but are no less faith schools as a result.’

But it is Lib-Dem secularism that leads to racism. People will always look for another reference-point for social ‘cohesion’: for example, race, class or nationalism. It is Judaeo-Christianity that suggests the butler who serves the lord are of equal value because they are both made in the image of God. That is why we Judaeo-Christians insist upon equality before the law.

20 April 2010 at 09:39  
Blogger D. Singh said...

The Lib-Dem fascists confess:

'Religious schools are allowed to operate admissions policies that favour children of the appropriate faith. Often, however, the reputation of church schools for academic results leads to competition among parents to get their children admitted.

'At the extreme, parents move house to get into the right catchment area and start attending church and supporting parish functions for no other reason than improve the chance of getting their child admitted.

'The parents who go to such lengths are unusually committed to their children's education - the sort any school would long to have. This results in church schools on average having far fewer than their "quota" of children from socially deprived backgrounds.'

In other words, parents are taking desperate measures to prevent their children from entering the State' bog standard socialist comprehensive.

Lib-Dems are in truth national socialists: they penalize success and reward failure.

Their's is the world where prizes are awarded to all in a nation where that produces more bastards (children born out bof wedlock) than any other European nation.

20 April 2010 at 09:54  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Anonymous (whoever you are)

Unlike many here I don’t do faith Not in religion, not in politics, not in anything so a I don’t expect a hung parliament to change much save for one thing and that is with PR at least next time everyone’s vote will count and that is good for democracy.

As for secular humanism, how nice it would be to live in a world where morality was based on common values and not in the crackpot beliefs dreamt up in the distant past. In the meantime Orwell’s prescience is warning to all of us to be careful with whom we place our trust

20 April 2010 at 09:55  
Anonymous Bigland said...

A school's number one purpose is to educate children. Faith schools tend to do that better than non-faith schools. Perhaps the politicians could look into why that is, and get all schools to perform as well, rather than dreaming up a reason to hamstring the successful ones.

Still, if it proves to be a triumph for secular humanism, perhaps children's education is a small price to pay?

20 April 2010 at 09:58  
Blogger D. Singh said...

‘Still, if it proves to be a triumph for secular humanism, perhaps children's education is a small price to pay?’

No.

That price becomes all the more exorbitant as each day passes. This has been proved by the present generation of 60s educated leaders who run the country and whose policies evince: two legged animals bad; four legged animals good.

20 April 2010 at 10:02  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Quite possibly the Lib-Dem have been busy taking stock of the number or ‘faith’ school and decided that it is in the interests of this Country to not to expose its children to the criminal lunacy of authority figures, pumping out ‘belief’ in new-world Christian Creationism, old-world Jewish Chosen People syndrome and barbaric stone-age Islamic teaching of mysogeny and homophobia.

Teaching and promoting a philosophy of sectarianism is a anathema to reason and social cohesion and the religionists know this. Where better to plant the seeds of disharmony and predjudicethan in the minds of impressionable children and backing them up with threats of nightmareish punishments for dissent in the future.

This is outright child abuse and deserves total condemnation.

The rantings emanating from the psychotic minds of some posters here, are ample evidence of the long term damage that can be done by encouraging belief without proof or reason.

20 April 2010 at 10:04  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

You know and I know that there is one reason why many Faith schools perform well – SELECTION. That is why many parents despite having no religious beliefs attempt to send their children to them. So don’t kid yourselves that its “God wot dun it”. And if you are so keen on them bring on the Madrassa’s, more religion and more God. Oops sorry its the wrong sought of God!

20 April 2010 at 10:13  
Blogger D. Singh said...

And there you have it, Dreadnaught’s State-controlled factory production line churning out morons. All her view should resemble the trousered ape and urban blockhead. It is her values that produce feral youth. It is her values that encourage teenagers to gang rape because they believe it is only a chimp they are abusing and throwing into the ditch.

20 April 2010 at 10:15  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Dreadnought 20 April 2010 10:04

Very well said sir.

20 April 2010 at 10:15  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Michael Novak, the preeminent American Catholic neo-conservative political philosopher. In his 1991 book, The Spirit Of Democratic Capitalism, published just after the fall of Communism, wrote that:

"One of the most outstanding characteristics of our age is that ideas, even false and unworkable ideas, even ideas which are no longer believed in by their official guardians, rule the affairs of men and ride roughshod over stubborn facts. Ideas of enormous destructiveness, cruelty, and impracticality retain the allegiance of elites that benefit from them. The empirical record seems not to jut through into consciousness to break their spell. The class of persons who earn their livelihood from the making of ideas and symbols seems both unusually bewitched by falsehoods and absurdities and uniquely empowered to impose them on hapless individuals."

20 April 2010 at 10:17  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Mr Singh

values that encourage teenagers to gang rape because they believe it is only a chimp they are abusing and throwing into the ditch

Not a fan of Mr Darwin it seems!

20 April 2010 at 10:20  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

It fascinates me to see how nonny, len, Singh et al, flock like a murder of crows to peck at the eyes of any poster who challenges their peculiar fundamentalist view of Anglican Christianity and occasionally, politics.

They seem blissfully unaware that the Church of England is positively parochial in size compared the world numbers of people otherwise engaged in Catholicism, Mohammedism, and Buddhism, Pantheism etc, or of no religion at all.

The fantasy perpetuates to the degree that they really do regard themselves as erudite and learned, in the contents and contextual meanings of some sort of ‘Boys Own book of the Bible’ exclusive to their domain of ranting mad-men, as they try to emulate the addled minded and ragged buffoons, that are the self anointed Old Testament prophets.

They quite seriously hold on to what a privileged (reference herein His Graces unstinting opus) unindoctrinated observer can clearly see are inhabitants of a weird world driven by a delusional view that assumes that political Conservatism is somehow is akin to the validity of the concept of the Divine Right of Kings; or in their case The Divine Right of Cranny’s Anglicans.

It really is the Life of Brian personified - the Judean People’s Front versus the People’s front of Judea and so forth. Such ironic self parody is beyond their comprehension – but what the hell, every village needs its resident idiot, if only to remind the rest of how fortunate they are.

However, this lends me to speculate that His Grace really is, doing society a great service, by providing the cyber-space equivalent of the padded cell replete with viewing windows.

Keep it up Chaps, or is it Men – or whatever you wish to call your selves, whether or not you recognise reality matters nought, you are providing great entertainment value and a wonderful argument for the preservation of the free speech.

20 April 2010 at 10:23  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Mr Singh

"One of the most outstanding characteristics of our age is that ideas.....”

And the alternative is...

:: No ideas
:: Believe in a fantasy world of magic and superstition with a sky fairy running the show

20 April 2010 at 10:24  
OpenID michaeltmerrick said...

A logical merry-go-round, really. For people who love to bank on about liberty and freedom, you'd think they would perhaps wonder why it is so many people like to have their children in a faith school, and then replicate it elsewhere. Instead, and in the name of liberty, they seek to essentially abolish what it is that people wish to have access to: they seek to satiate demand by dispensing with the product. After all, for these freedom-loving libertarians, state knows best!

20 April 2010 at 10:26  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Dreadnought 20 April 2010 10:23

You’re on a roll this morning! Well done.

20 April 2010 at 10:27  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

michaeltmerrick said...

they would perhaps wonder why it is so many people like to have their children in a faith school, and then replicate it elsewhere

At first glance a reasonable response but as selection (and aspirational parents) are the criteria that makes Faith schools successful academically, those that are left will inevitably receive less able or disadvantaged children and get worse.

Raising educational standards is a complex issue, selection is not the answer.

20 April 2010 at 10:36  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Ms Dreadnaught you wrote:

‘They quite seriously hold on to what a privileged (reference herein His Graces unstinting opus) unindoctrinated observer can clearly see are inhabitants of a weird world driven by a delusional view that assumes that political Conservatism is somehow is akin to the validity of the concept of the Divine Right of Kings; or in their case The Divine Right of Cranny’s Anglicans.’

You are greatly mistaken. We cut of a king’s head over that issue.


Clearly, no historian you.

20 April 2010 at 10:38  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

I like Mrs Dreadnought, when she says :

'fundamentalist view of Anglican Christianity '

Which Anglican Church does Dreadnought go to, to get the view that the C of E is this bastion of fundamentalism? Was she hit by 70 year old Mrs Gogins with fruit cake, in the after service coffee and refreshment?

Or was it the women Vicar with the machine gun and explosives hidden behind the cassock that makes her think the C of E is fundamentalist??

Also to Graham Davies, who wants to be convinced by reason and logic, you do not use that yourself old chap, so why?

20 April 2010 at 10:45  
OpenID michaeltmerrick said...

@Graham Davis - And is it not worth going one step further and wondering why aspirational parents want their children in faith schools? Could it be to do with their success, perhaps? At which point, it would be useful to employ that much-vaunted 'reason' that secular humanists like to proselytise about. After all, if the founding principle of a faith school is, errr, faith, then is it really rational to completely dismiss the role of faith in the successful educational development of young children?

Obviously, you think so. To my mind, the evidence would suggest otherwise. Either way, I hope that liberty wins out and people might be allowed to decide for themselves. I suspect he authoritarian instincts of the libertarian 'free-thinkers' would prefer otherwise.

20 April 2010 at 10:51  
Anonymous Chairman Mao for PM said...

I agree with Dreadnought and Davies, that the C of E is no better than the Taleban, which is why they shouldn't run any faith schools.

Rationality and reason are the only way to teach kids.

Onward to the march of a socialist state!

20 April 2010 at 10:52  
Anonymous Chu Fat Wong said...

" but what the hell, every village needs its resident idiot, if only to remind the rest of how fortunate they are. "

Ms Dreadnought, are you applying for this role then?

20 April 2010 at 10:56  
Anonymous Bigland said...

I don't know faith schools only perform well because of selection. My suspicion tells me politicians don't either. Does an average child improve because they are in a "good" school? Or does a "clever" child do well regardless of the school they are in? As Gnostic pointed out at the top, the Lib Dems have their targets set on schools that select pupils on "ability" and "aptitude" too. Do they have a rational reason for doing so? I see a lot of bluff about teaching R.E. and social divisions, but not much considering the education of the children.

Meanwhile, parents who do care that their children are well educated find faith schools give them what they are after. If what they wanted was elsewhere, many (most?) would go elsewhere. Politicians should focus on supplying the demand, instead of handicapping the suppliers.

20 April 2010 at 11:00  
OpenID michaeltmerrick said...

@Graham Davis - and don't fall for the trick of thinking that faith schools always cream off the best students and leave state schools to pick up the worst (though I accept in some affluent areas this could be the case). I went to a Catholic school, meaning Catholics were guaranteed a place regardless of academic achievement or potential, and being from a poor area with a healthy population of 'travellers', this meant the school make-up was a million miles away from the caricatures that the cultured despisers like to offer: faith-based selection can be a two-way street, pulling in children that other schools might well prefer not to have.

20 April 2010 at 11:01  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

I find it very strange that many posters seem to equate what the LibDems are proposing with reducing choice and liberty; I read quite the opposite into what they propose. We don't all currently have the right to send our children to a school in which a particular brand of faith is promoted or no brand at all - we're stuck (at least in rural communities) with whatever school exists.
I for one would have dearly loved to send my children to an infants school that is not significantly influenced by the CofE, but I can't, our village infants school is of the CofE persuasion.
Given that as parents we all have the right to impart our own version of wisdom to our children outside of school, surely the only fair approach is to abolish state-funded faith schools altogether, thus pleasing more people than it would displease.
Perhaps one of the previous posters who wished for freedom from this LibDem 'inteference' (e.g. michaelmerrick with his desire for liberty to win out) could explain why their 'freedoms' should trump mine?

20 April 2010 at 11:07  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Bigland said "Politicians should focus on supplying the demand, instead of handicapping the suppliers."

You're implying that parents are specifically asking for faith schools whereas I seriously doubt that that is the case; they want schools that will give their children a good education. If they see a faith school doing that, then those who do not object to the faith element will send their children there; but they won't be doing it because it is a faith school.

20 April 2010 at 11:12  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Burgess

You state: ‘If they see a faith school doing that, then those who do not object to the faith element will send their children there; but they won't be doing it because it is a faith school.’

Please could you supply us with the research that supports that?

‘Like moths to the light they come.’

20 April 2010 at 11:26  
Blogger The Merry Man said...

Your Grace,

It looks likely that we will end up with a hung parliament,it which case education will end up as a mishmash of the three parties policies.

Homeschooling increases it`s appeal.

20 April 2010 at 11:29  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Yaaay MrG!

20 April 2010 at 11:31  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

As some of the secular fundamentalists here are proving, don't let the evidence get in the way of a good prejudice.

The evidence suggests that faith schools produce better result educationally and socially. Only the dogma & prejudice of secularists & humanists can defy it.

The CofE primary my children attend has it's intake from a sink estate. Yet it's the best school in area and one of the best in the region. [The best in the region is also a CofE school with a socially poor intake]

What makes the diffrence? It can't be the faith element because our secular prejudices say it can't be.

20 April 2010 at 11:37  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

What should I choose if I want a school free from the indoctrination of my children into the precepts of secular humanism?

20 April 2010 at 11:39  
Blogger D. Singh said...

It appears that Dreadnaught has made an evolutionary advance. She has been reduced to monosyllabic banality.

20 April 2010 at 11:40  
OpenID michaeltmerrick said...

@Burgess - well, if we bring it down to the level of the personal, we could chase our tails forever - why should a secular humanist's 'freedoms' trump mine? After all, I pay taxes too... etc., ad infinitum. Whilst one might say that doing away with faith-based schooling would be fair, because then no one particular worldview is favoured, another person might come along and say this is terribly unfair, because one particular worldview is indeed being favoured, that of the secularist.

And don't be so quick to assume that abolishing faith schools would have more supporters than opposition. If this were true, you can bet your life that New Labour would have attempted to get rid of them, just before smartly packing off their own children to private schools. And after all, the reason the LibDems want to go for faith schools is precisely because of their popularity amongst parents, which they think means they can practice academic selection by stealth. Which in some cases might well be true, but in others not so.

20 April 2010 at 11:43  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello D.Singh,

No, I can't provide you with the research to support my statement. Unless you are able to provide me with the research to suggest that parents do choose faith schools because they of the faith elements rather than because of their results, then we will all have to do what I did before making that statement, which is to make a judgment.
My reasoning went along the following lines:
* The vast majority of people in this country do not attend any form of religious service on any regular basis. We can deduce from that, that religion is at best, of mild interest/significance to them.
* The vast majority of parents want their children to have the best possible education.
* Thus the strong likelihood is that it is the results of a faith school that is the determining factor in its selection by a parent as opposed to the fact that it is school that embraces a particular faith.

If you hold the opposing view I would be keen to see research to support it or the logic behind your judgment.

20 April 2010 at 11:45  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

michaeltmerrick said...

is it really rational to completely dismiss the role of faith in the successful educational development of young children?

No it isn’t. It is possible that longstanding association between religion and morality, although spurious, results in parents who are concerned about the moral development of their children will send their children to a Faith school even when they have no religion themselves. In fact I know this to be true as friends have done exactly that.

However that is still selection and by definition those who are not selected (by this or any other method) are likely to be disadvantaged.

As regards the authoritarian/libertarian argument, my instincts are libertarian and therefore the State must have a very good reason for denying choice to anyone. However our responsibility must be to all children and to ensure that they are allowed to develop without the sometimes corrosive indoctrination that is evident to a degree in all religion. This of course has to be balanced with the possibility of a similar threat being posed by the State itself.

Secular humanism is a very simple idea. Individuals and societies have a pretty good idea of what constitutes moral behaviour, do unto others etc. As there is no evidence for God or the supernatural then all religious teaching emanating from that belief is false or at least flawed. Therefore in an enlightened society decisions on education for example should be made on rational, non sectarian grounds with the view enabling each child to prosper. Skewing the system is simply not fair.

20 April 2010 at 11:49  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello Rebel Saint,
I'm a humanist and secularist but I don't dismiss out-of-hand the possibility that faith schools perform better than non-faith schools, and I'm not completely convinced that improvement in performance can be explained by selection either.
What I would be interested in is to hear what posters here think is the reason that faith schools perform better. I've scanned the postings but I can't see that anyone has attempted to explain it.
If we can distil the reason then we can potentially share the learning with all schools.
Any takers for putting forward reasons?

20 April 2010 at 11:49  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Burgess you make another bald assertion without the supporting evidence:

‘The vast majority of parents want their children to have the best possible education.’

No they don’t. They have voted Socialist in the last three general elections and hence for the bog standard socialist comprehensive.

‘A truly democratic education – one which will preserve democracy – must be, in its own field, ruthlessly aristocratic, shamelessly ‘high brow’. In drawing up its curriculum it should always have chiefly in view the interests of the boy who wants to know and who can know. (With very few exceptions they are the same boy. The stupid boy, nearly always, is the boy who does not want to know.) It must, in a certain sense, subordinate the interests of the many to those of the few, and it must subordinate the school to the university. Only thus can it be a nursery of those first-class intellects without which neither a democracy nor any other State can thrive.’

CS Lewis, 1944

20 April 2010 at 11:55  
Anonymous Bigland said...

P.Burgess - You infer incorrectly. I infer you only read my last sentence. My preceding two sentences said what you said. To repeat, to save scrolling mouse wheels: "Meanwhile, parents who do care that their children are well educated find faith schools give them what they are after. If what they wanted was elsewhere, many (most?) would go elsewhere."

20 April 2010 at 11:57  
OpenID michaeltmerrick said...

@Graham Davis - that response is... well,

'my instincts are libertarian and therefore the State must have a very good reason for denying choice to anyone. However our responsibility must be to all children and to ensure that they are allowed to develop without the sometimes corrosive indoctrination that is evident to a degree in all religion. '

Roughly translated: liberty is important, unless you bring your children up in a way I disagree with. In which case, the State should enforce my prejudices.

'As there is no evidence for God or the supernatural then all religious teaching emanating from that belief is false or at least flawed. '

Roughly translated: I have no faith, so by definition what you believe must therefore be all superstitious nonsense, and should be kept out of the classroom.

'Therefore in an enlightened society decisions on education for example should be made on rational, non sectarian grounds with the view enabling each child to prosper'

Roughly translated: all education should follow what I dictate to be logical, and this is the standard of Enlightenment. And this isn't sectarian, it's just right and true. Obviously.

Incidentally, your understanding 'enlightenment' and zealous commitment to secular humanism are eerily reminiscent of a certain dubious regime of Eastern Europe, even down to the very vocabulary you use. You'll forgive me if I treat your calls for 'freedom' with a pinch of salt.

20 April 2010 at 12:03  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello Michaeltmerrick,

Re: your post of 11:43, I wasn't bringing the discussion down to the level of the personal. I used myself as an example, but then indicated that I believed you'd be pleasing more than not by abolishing faith schools - after all how many in a typical community (rural or otherwise) actually have any significant form of allegiance to the church behind the most common of faith schools, i.e. the CofE. It wouldn't just be us humanists that it causes a problem for, there are the catholics, the non-conformists, the jews, the muslims etc etc.

You say "another person might come along and say this is terribly unfair, because one particular worldview is indeed being favoured, that of the secularist.
".

This statement shows a misunderstanding of the aims of secularism in relation to schools. Secularists wish to see the exclusion of non-evidence based teaching from schools; it is not to establish an alternative 'secularist' world view. Indeed secularism isn't a world view, it's simply a defined objective - the separation of church and state; it has no position on god, politics etc etc. I think you are confusing humanism with secularism - personally I don't believe that a true secularist can argue for schools promoting humanism any more than it can promote Christianity.

I can sense pens sharpening to respond to my point about 'excluding non-evidence based teaching'! There will always be arguments/discussions about whether evidence supports this view or that view, but the important distinction is that we aim to establish evidence and take a view at a national level before we teach something.

20 April 2010 at 12:06  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello Bigland,

My apologies, I can indeed see that your full post agrees with my statement. However, I think what set me off on the false trail is that presumably what you meant by your last statement is that the statement "Politicians should focus on supplying the demand, instead of handicapping the suppliers." was I presume intended to mean that politicians should encourage the establishment of more faith schools? Am I right?

Given that you agree with the judgment that I've made that D.Singh disagrees with (I think), that most parents simply follow good results, wouldn't it be better to say that politicians should focus on understanding what it is that makes some faith schools perform better and then disemminate that learning to all schools?

20 April 2010 at 12:18  
OpenID michaeltmerrick said...

@Burgess - I was indeed readying a response to your 'evidence based teaching' jibe, but then seeing as you noted the contentiousness of the statement yourself it would be churlish of me to rant on about it.

I appreciate your attempt to try and keep an even keel here, and perhaps in the end it will always come down to personal preference. Before leaving, I will only say two things;

1) secularism can never be just a methodology, because from the outset it adopts a particular ideological perspective (essentially nihilistic) that necessarily competes with the faith-based perspective. Secular humanism has also been argued to be a distinct theological position by, amongst others, the 'Radical Orthodoxy' group of thinkers (whisper it: Cranny is not so keen on them). So whereas you might think this simply a call for objectivity, others will see it as the imposition of an alien ideology, and I'm not sure how one might get over this difficulty.

2) Which leads to the problem of what to do for those parents and taxpayers who don't want a 'secularist' education imposed on them, in opposition to those parents and taxpayers who do. It is here that I say liberty must win out, and that the LibDems intend to do harm to liberty in pursuit of what they call 'freedom'.

Anyway, thanks for the debate,

Best,

Michael

20 April 2010 at 12:20  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello D.Singh,

You said (11:55) that I am wrong to assert that the vast majority of parents wish their children to have the best possible education because "They have voted Socialist in the last three general elections and hence for the bog standard socialist comprehensive."

Was this a solely frivolous (i.e. humourous) point? I'm not sure whether I'm making a fool of myself by responding seriously if it was only intended to make us laugh or whether a response is genuinely needing. However, as I've started the post, I may as well continue....

If you had asked each of those who had voted for socialist parties at the last three general elections whether they wanted the best possible education for their children, do you think they would have said 'no'?

20 April 2010 at 12:24  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Burgess wrote:

‘CofE. It wouldn't just be us humanists that it causes a problem for, there are the catholics, the non-conformists, the jews, the muslims etc etc.’

For your enlightenment there are Catholics, non-conformists, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, etc., attending C of E schools. Clearly C of E schools are not a problem for them.

What is a problem for these parents are your humanistic values. It is humanistic values that are in urgent need of being driven out of the education system. The damage they are causing to the fabric of society is incalculable.

For example, if they are taught that they are chimps, is it then surprising that they behave like animals? If they are not taught respect for authority is it surprising that they sexually assault teachers?

Last year we had a barrister (‘liberal’) posting on this site and he was surprised at the intensity of ‘robust’ attacks against his postings. At one point he, again, pointed out he was a lawyer (presumably to command respect). What he could not fathom was that generations have been taught not to show deference and that they are equal in intellect to the lawyer. His own values, like a frying pan, hit him in the face, as it were.

When children are taught that they are chimps and they go on to kill each other – they are genuinely surprised to find themselves being prosecuted. At least their genuine surprise is consistent with what you humanists have taught them.

So give yourself, Davis and Dreadnaught a big round of applause.

20 April 2010 at 12:26  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Mr Graham Davis, there is no doubting the sincerity of your belief that by eradicating faith schools you can reduce community tensions that may be caused by religious differences. I'm only surprised that you aren't pushing for the banning of religious observance as well. I wish you would.

France introduced secular education in 1907, and its effect on reducing Catholic belief has been zero. The Bolsheviks closed churches in Russia and corrupted the Orthodox Church for 70 years; today it is stronger than ever. So bring on the bans of faith education and faith itself, it will help us enormously, Christianity thrives on persecution. Which is why in China the underground churches are the fastest growing belief system in that civilisation, far eclipsing the Falung Gong cult. I don't wish to patronise, but your perspective seems narrowly Anglocentric and you never write of experiences outside southern England.

The basic problem you and your cohort face is that the numbers of Muslims within the UK are growing faster than the numbers of atheists/humanists or secularists. Relatively speaking the numbers of Christians are declining as a percentage of the population as other faiths expand, either through immigration or through the accelerated natural increase encouraged by Islamic belief. What is profoundly dishonest of the Lid-Dems is their linkage of church attendance with faith school management. They seem to be looking for a perfect correlation between church attendance and faith school enrolment, which of course completely ignores the possibility of private devotion. It has not occurred to the Lib-Dem brains trust that the discrepancy between private and public devotion explains the difference between church attendance figures, which are low, and the 70% of the UK population claiming to be Christian. Christianity is alive and well in the community, but it does not present its face in convenient ways to its would be oppressors like yourself.

I do urge you to take a broader view of the world. Consider developments in Europe where the EU hegemonial power, Germany, is returning to type.
Under German patronage the EU has introduced a system of cross-border co-operation groupings (EGCC). What on earth is bluedog on about, you say. Well spend some-time wading through this stuff and think about the implications. Just as you and others similarly misguided are trying to abolish Christianity in case it offends you or the Muslims, in Central Europe they are re-introducing ius sanguinis. Why? For the greater glory of the gross-deutchland gemeinschaft. Here's a link to help you on your way: http://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/fulltext/56333?PHPSESSID=f0n64f7plsn266m3sf7r7mehc1

If you understand the implications of this policy it is the stuff of nightmares, opening the way for persecution of the usual suspects because they speak the wrong language, are a shade too dark on the colour-chart, or have the wrong religion or even no religion. There will be a racially determined hierarchy, and guess who is at the top. Your contrived anti-Christian purge in the UK is merely a warm up act by the standards of what will emerge from the EU shortly.

I'll leave it to others to call you a useful idiot.

20 April 2010 at 12:26  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

...parents are specifically asking for faith schools whereas I seriously doubt that that is the case...

That's precisely the point MrP i'ts the heir to Blair and McBroon's gang that is driving this iniquity with STATE tax funding.

If Religionists want their own schools fine - but the religion or the parents should be responsible for the entire funding and training of teachers: I'm sure a suitable refund of taxes could be calculated by the Treasury.

What's wrong with them opting for Sunday Schooling if they want to indoctrinate young minds: then they'll see how many parents reallywant their brand of 'education'.

They should stop picking the pockets of the State and wise up to the fact that they are pandering to a system harking back to the Middle Ages based on feudal privilege and patronage.

The world had moved on until the West became so dependent on Islamic oil and the fallacy of cultural equivalence set in.

Religion, science and reason should not be in the same building let alone in pedagogical frame. If ever there was a need for a referendum - this is IT.


...What should I choose if I want a school free from the indoctrination of my children into the precepts of secular humanism?...

First of all, establish that your local schools actually do as you have stated; then challenge it to confirm that it is supported by the structure of the national corriculum .

Then you would be free to make an informed decision whether your child's development would be better served in school or madrassa, more suited to it being indoctrinated with the tenets of your beliefs.

20 April 2010 at 12:28  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello Michael,
Before you go......

In quick response to your two points:

1. You start by referring to secularism and them move on to talking about 'secular humanism'. My point is that there are are religious secularists, Christians, Moslems etc, who strongly advocate the separation of church and state. And there is nothing nihilistic about my beliefs even though I am also a humanist. I would be pleased to describe to you in a separate post the meanings that I attach to my life, the way I conduct myself, my hopes and dreams for mankind etc etc.

So, in response to point 2, I mantain that there is no such thing as a secularist education, just simply one that is free of significant influence by any single faith group.

Thank you too for the debate.

Kind regards,
Paul

20 April 2010 at 12:31  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Dreadnaught @ 12.38 said '...the fallacy of cultural equivalence set in',

Are you implying that the values of Christendom are preferable to the values of Islam?

If so, it sounds like the well-considered view of a well-educated woman.

20 April 2010 at 12:39  
OpenID michaeltmerrick said...

@burgess - atheistic humanism is nihilistic, to my mind (I'm influenced by RO's historiography)

@dreadnaught - the word you're after is 'curriculum'. I was taught how to spell that at my Catholic madrassa.

And now I really ought to be off.

20 April 2010 at 12:49  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Dreadnaught wrote:

‘They should stop picking the pockets of the State…’

People do not ‘pick the pockets of the State’. It is the State that ‘picks the pockets’ of the people.

Don’t you remember we fought a war over it in the 18th century?

Say, can you tell us which side won?

You wrote:

‘The world had moved on until the West became so dependent on Islamic oil…’

So the world has stopped then?

What do you think will happen to the economies of the once free west if we had no access to oil?

Clearly, the world is still moving except for that potato between your ears.

20 April 2010 at 12:51  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello D.Singh,

In your post of 12:26 you imply that because parents of all faiths send their children to CofE schools that they have no problem with the fact that the school is a faith school.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I sent my children to a CofE school because I had no practical alternative, but it clearly doesn't mean I have no problem with it.

20 April 2010 at 12:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P Burgess- not sure if you are a new poster here or not, but be aware of Singh, he is a nutter.

20 April 2010 at 12:56  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello Cranmer,

You have been uncharacteristically silent throughout this thread. Are you well?

In the opening statement to your post you said "The following document is most illuminating and establishes precisely why the Liberal Democrats are not only manifestly illiberal, but also profoundly undemocratic:".

From the content of my posts, you'll not be surprised to hear that when I read what followed, it struck me as eminently sensible, level-headed, moderate and free of politically dogma. Maybe you'll say I'm naiive but rather than focusing on my views, I'd like to hear from you how you reconcile the charge of 'illiberal and undemocratic' with the actual text from the LibDems, because I can't.

20 April 2010 at 12:57  
Anonymous Anglican or possibly Catholic madrassa said...

Your Grace, Dreadnought is mad, but then she must be a lib dem.

20 April 2010 at 12:59  
Anonymous Anyone but the lib dims said...

the lib dims will be the destruction of this country. I reckon if Farage had been given a place on the leaders debate UKIP would be doing well. Never could understand why the lib dims were given that exclusive treatment.

20 April 2010 at 13:01  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"... believe in a fantasy world of magic and superstition with a sky fairy running the show."
Oh, yes. Very reasoned, very logical.
The phrase "sky fairy" is a dead giveaway.

20 April 2010 at 13:02  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Mr G Davis,

The Tenants Super debating society? Clearly you know more about such an association than I do especially since I don't drink. I'm simply a plain speaking northerner exercising my right to say what I think and I think the big three should be hung, drawn and quartered for their treasonous policies. Free speech seems to be an increasingly rare commodity so I'll make the best of it. If you don't like what I say or the way I say it then don't read it.

To make it easy I'll ignore you too. It won't be difficult.

20 April 2010 at 13:04  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Burgess

You wrote:

‘As I mentioned in my earlier post, I sent my children to a CofE school because I had no practical alternative, but it clearly doesn't mean I have no problem with it.’

You need to deflate your sense of self-importance.

State policy does not revolve around you

As Ive stated before humanism is the moral equivalent of fascism.

20 April 2010 at 13:07  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Blue dog:-

Not at all.

The key word is 'CULTURE' and a Western culture at that; influenced by post Enlightenment development and relatively peaceful co-existence between those of faith and no-faith. - and not at all the culturally incompatible religio-political monstrosity that is Islam

20 April 2010 at 13:09  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Singh - you really should ask the doctor to up your medication.

20 April 2010 at 13:13  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Ms Dreadnaught wrote:

‘The key word is 'CULTURE' and a Western culture at that; influenced by post Enlightenment development and relatively peaceful co-existence between those of faith and no-faith…’

What utter tosh; again revealing her lack of reading in history. She ignores (presumably on the basis of ignorance) the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions based upon Enlightenment values. For what other set of values would justify in the eyes of the murderer his barbaric acts?

20 April 2010 at 13:19  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

How's your grasp of Geo-politics Singh? most of the world thinks that Russia and China are not nor ever have been, part of the 'West'

I'm too bored to further respond to you anyway - it's like shooting fish in a barrel and I apologise.

20 April 2010 at 13:27  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Go on Dreadnaught put God in the dock; make him the defendant; try Him: put Truth on the scaffold; hang Him?

Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!" -- As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated? -- Thus they yelled and laughed.
The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him -- you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

"How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us -- for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."

Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars -- and yet they have done it themselves.

It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"

[Source: Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (1882, 1887) para. 125; Walter Kaufmann ed. (New York: Vintage, 1974), pp.181-82.]

20 April 2010 at 13:31  
Anonymous Bigland said...

P. Burgess - "Politicians should focus on supplying the demand, instead of handicapping the suppliers." was I presume intended to mean that politicians should encourage the establishment of more faith schools? Am I right?

No, I meant politicians should encourage the establishment of more good schools, regardless of faith. The Lib Dems appear to be focussing on the schools because they represent a faith, instead of focussing on the far more important attribute, that many of them are apparently good at educating.

[...]wouldn't it be better to say that politicians should focus on understanding what it is that makes some faith schools perform better and then disemminate that learning to all schools?

Absolutely. I said something like that in my first post above. Perhaps we should leave this now, and just agree to agree... ;)

20 April 2010 at 13:36  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

D. Singh said...

This is why the Liberal democrats are the neo-facsists

Wrong.

IMO

All of our main, and most likely all of our not so main political parties are not neo-fascist, they are essentially plain old ordinary fascist. Better known as corporate socialist.

It would be nice to believe we have an alternative to vote for, but we simply don't.

The problem is not our parties as such, it is democracy itself, and of course the establishment that has always run it from behind the curtains of International corporatist might.

If the nation state was basically a bad idea, which it most certainly was for the people of the world in general, and many nations in particular, an international state must by definition be worse.

IMO a nation state has only one useful function.

Which is to protect the interests of its people by providing for them a simple cast in iron written constitution designed wholly to protect all aspects of their individual property rights underwritten by a constitutional court and the rule of common law.

A nation state which does not provide this is many miles distant from a nation state worth having. An international state that also does not provide this can only be worse, and therefore more potentially dangerous in all respects.

I hope you can now all see that you can not trust either the system itself or the politicians appointed or selected to front it up, with any aspect of your material or otherwise existence.

IMO although I would love to be convinced otherwise, there is no practical solution to this problem. We have gone far too far down the wrong road for such a long time that we can not bloodlessly turn back now.

However I do have a simple message which may at least help.

ONLY THE TRUTH CAN SET YOU FREE.

For if one knows the essential truth of human existence then the system loses control of your eternal spirit forever. You are finally free whether you are bound by the chains of corporate slavery or not.

"So what is that truth, fat head?" I can sense you thinking.

Simple.

The truth is to understand a few basic things.

1. To a large extent you do not, can not, and never will know the full truth.

2. Virtually everything you think you know is either a lie, or is based on a lie. The rest is most likely not the whole truth either.

3. Not only do you not know what the truth is neither does any one else. Therefore you would all be doing your eternal souls one great big favour by not paying any attention to any one that says they do. Although the proverbial they undoubtedly know one hell of a lot of truth they have no intention of telling you anything about, your guess as to what it is, still has a greater chance of being the essential truth as theirs ever will.

I hope very much that the above may have helped some of you. For it was genuinely and honestly intended to do so.

20 April 2010 at 13:41  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello Bigland,

Ha ha! A great example of being in violent agreement.

At least we've clarified things for anyone else who was as slow to pick up your position as I was.

Regards,
Paul

20 April 2010 at 13:42  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

And there he goes again with his endless quotes.

20 April 2010 at 14:04  
Anonymous Loren Forest Outlaw said...

Ah, the old battles over which faith is truest. Is it Christian, Islamist or Humanist?

20 April 2010 at 14:29  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Or none of the above?

20 April 2010 at 15:17  
Blogger English Viking said...

Let's not confuse Christian schools with the dreadfully titled 'Faith' schools.

Faith in anything or anyone but Christ is a disaster waiting to happen. In fact, 'faith' of this sort is no faith at all, it is simply idolatry.

20 April 2010 at 15:18  
Anonymous Loren Forest Outlaw said...

Agreed but, more importantly, to claim that Humanism is not a Faith is to delude oneself. Surely it takes as much power in one's belief to claim God definitely does not exist as it does to assert he does?

So, to then imply that a humanistic position is morally superior or even preferable to an outwardly religious one is both illogical and self-delusory.

20 April 2010 at 15:38  
Anonymous Oswin said...

English Viking at 15.18 :

Exactly so!

20 April 2010 at 15:48  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello Loren Forest Outlaw,

There are many humanists who do not claim that god definitely does not exist. As you say, it takes a great deal of faith to make such a statement.

The more easy to test and relevant issue is whether there is a god who wants a personal relationship with us. On this point we can all make a judgment based on history, our observations, our feelings (to a limited extent), religious texts, parents' beliefs, spiritual leaders etc. On this basis Humanists have decided that there is insufficient evidence for a god who wants a personal relationship, though, in my opinion, they should maintain an open mind, humility, and an attitude of continued quest.

20 April 2010 at 15:56  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Loren Forest Outlaw said...

So, to then imply that a humanistic position is morally superior or even preferable to an outwardly religious one is both illogical and self-delusory.

If you must put a value on it, humanism is superior because there is no incentive to be good other than concern for you fellow man. Religion offers the inducement of a life beyond death along with various threats if you stray from its code.

20 April 2010 at 15:59  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

The problem is not God it is religion.

Why are you not satisfied with a belief in a personal God? Why Christianity? Why do you need someone to write the rules for you and treat you like sheep? Do you not realise that your God will eventually go the way of all other Gods, to the scrapheap of defunct deities?

You cling so tightly to the unbelievable myths and legends, to the scripture that is so contradictory and often morally repugnant, yet still you hang on like the drowning man clutching the lifebelt.

Deep down you must know that can be no God. We have long since escaped from the ignorance and superstition that created him. Does it not occur to you rather than being made in his likeness, you have made him in your own?

20 April 2010 at 16:28  
Anonymous Tucker said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

20 April 2010 at 16:29  
Blogger The Merry Man said...

Your Grace,

Mr Davis said-Deep down you must know that can be no God. We have long since escaped from the ignorance and superstition that created him. Does it not occur to you rather than being made in his likeness, you have made him in your own?

Ha...so I should ignore and dismiss centuries of history and teachings because Graham Davis says so,

Mr Davis said-Do you not realize that your God will eventually go the way of all other Gods,

Wrong....God will reign in heaven, you will go the way of all others who reject the father.

20 April 2010 at 16:43  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Davis said:

'If you must put a value on it, humanism is superior because there is no incentive to be good other than concern for you fellow man.'

You have not told us on what basis humanists are concerned for their fellow man.

I can understand why your ilk carried out mass murder in France, Russia and China: there was no incentive there.

20 April 2010 at 16:57  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Be careful not to confuse humanism with humanitarianism.

20 April 2010 at 16:58  
Blogger D. Singh said...

'If there is no God, then everything is permitted.'

Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

At least he was intellectually honest Mr Davis.

20 April 2010 at 17:02  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Burgess wrote:

'The more easy to test and relevant issue...'

Then tell us what the test is Mr Burgess?

Tell us what standard of belief we are to apply? Opinion? The civil law standard of belief, 'more likely than not'? The criminal law standard, 'beyond reasonbale doubt'? The scientific standard?

We're waiting. The floor is all yours pal.

20 April 2010 at 17:20  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Burgess

What standard of belief does your wife apply to know that you love her?

What about your children: what standard do they apply?

We're waiting, pal.

20 April 2010 at 17:22  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Hey boyo lets get outta here these Christian sheep shoot back

20 April 2010 at 17:24  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

... humanism is superior because there is no incentive to be good other than concern for you fellow man...

I normally agree with most of what you post MrG, but I have a problem with your assertion of Humanism being somehow superior to religious belief: I think to do so tends to limit the concept by constraint of definition and thereby devalues the pinciple of free-thought as if it was just another religion, which of course it is not.

I think you do yourself a slight dis-service here, it sounds altogether too much like the kind of hackneyed triumphalism of religious bigots. No offence to you intended.

Many people, well deserving of worthy acclaim for their humanitarian work, also hold to a faith-based template, as a motivation for their actions.

This I suggest, does not make their lifestyle choice of a religion over atheism/agnosticism as being more or less worthy or superior. As one who does not consider himself superior or inferior in reality to any other human being, I prefer to attend to the expression of the natural elements of human compassion and behaviour that sets us apart from most other mammals.

The way I see it is that there is an innate capacity within humans to be unselfish and serving towards their fellows, without making claims of superior forethought.

Where Christians tend to think of themselves only as agents made in the image of a god of purity and goodness, they are in effect selling themselves (as individuals) and the rest of humanity short, by confusing instinctive gestures of common humane activity, that is extant amongst most of our species, as acts ordained thereof by divine intervention.

Enlightened minds MrG, in my experience, tolerate most religions; that is of course until, they punitively attempt to impose their beliefs on the rest of us.

20 April 2010 at 17:28  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Dreadnaught wrote:

'...that is of course until, they punitively attempt to impose their beliefs on the rest of us.'

It is your ilk that has imposed the Employment (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003 that discriminate against Christians - don't you read the law reports?

20 April 2010 at 17:39  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Dreadnaught

What you have written today is not your normal grammar, syntax etc.

You are copying and pasting other people's work.

A plagiarist wil not be taken seriously.

20 April 2010 at 17:42  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Dreadnaught

Is there a potato between your ears?

20 April 2010 at 17:43  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Dreadnaught what is 'free thought' and how do you arive at it?

It is not by copying and pasting other people's thoughts, is it?

20 April 2010 at 17:45  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Dreadnaught wrote:

'Many people, well deserving of worthy acclaim for their humanitarian work, also hold to a faith-based template, as a motivation for their actions.'

Why should they be adjudged worthy from your perspective?

You are free to murder or save life, from your perspective. From your perspective even if you died for a good man - it would be meaningless.

You can't seriously think that it would be accpeted as meningful simply because you might have stated in your Last Will and Testament that it was 'meaningful'?

Is that not so Dreadnaught?

20 April 2010 at 17:50  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello D.Singh,

Re: your post of 17:22, I'm guessing that my 'test' is actually the same as yours, i.e. whether having weighed everything up, on the balance of probabilities, we make a judgment as to whether there is a personal god or not. Would you not agree?

What I suspect we will disagree on in respect of the 'test' are issues such as the level of intellectual rigour that we apply (e.g. incorrect leaps of logic), and the weightings that we should attach to objective and subjective factors that are in the mix.

20 April 2010 at 17:55  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Burgess

'...on the balance of probabilities...'

I like that.

20 April 2010 at 18:00  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Dreadnaught

What's the matter kid? Is it true that your entire life is a mere tear drop in the ocean of time?

20 April 2010 at 18:01  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

D.Singh:
I won't speak for Dreadnaught, but, yes, my life is a mere tear drop in the ocean of time. Why would you think that that should a problem to me or Dreadnaught? It doesn't take more than a few years to undo the indoctrination and to get the used to the idea that we're not destined to live for eternity or that a god has ordained a meaning for our lives. On balance my life is much more fulfilling for having thrown such cultural acquisitions (aka sugar pills) overboard.

20 April 2010 at 18:09  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Och! Mr Burgess then you could not have met with Him.

Don't you know the Judaeo-Christian life is the most difficult.

That is why I make a point of telling men not to become Judaeo-Christians until they have assessed the cost.

Only 'paratroops' amd 'marines' need apply.

20 April 2010 at 18:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P. Burgess, told you Singh was insane and yet another new reader tries to debate with him.....

20 April 2010 at 18:14  
Blogger D. Singh said...

That's right, Mr Burgess.

'Singh' is either 'mad', 'bad' or 'good'.

20 April 2010 at 18:16  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Anon

Come with us, and we'll show you a place where the iron crosses grow.

20 April 2010 at 18:19  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello Anon,

I've actually been in and out of this group for some time now so I am aware of Singh's temperament.

I only respond selectively to him when I think that the wider audience might find something useful to chew on in what I post.

He has a habit of not responding to me when he chooses (just read back up through this thread alone), so I'm only returning the favour!

20 April 2010 at 18:27  
Anonymous len said...

Ms Dreadnaught presumes I am an Anglican,why?
Cannot be bothered to plough through all the comments so my apologies if someone has already covered this ,however it bears repeating.

Secular Humanism,

The agenda of the Socialist Secular Humanist is pure poison. It is in direct conflict with reality, with truth, with Yahuweh, and with God's plan of salvation. But that is of no concern to its advocates. The Weishaupts, Marxs, Pikes, Rothchilds, Rhodes, Wilsons, Roosevelts, and Bushes of this world are too self-indulgent and egotistical to care about anything other than themselves and their place in the hierarchy of world dominion. Their weapons are words, insulting and contemptuous, corrupting and calumnious, diatribes. The only thing that surprises me about them is how their utterly lame language befuddles so many,
( Full article well worth a read)


Yada Yahweh - Book VI-God Damn Religion -- Chapter 7-Pareisago

20 April 2010 at 18:36  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Amen to that MrP.

20 April 2010 at 19:30  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Dreadnaught

Monosyllabic banality.

You can do better than that.

20 April 2010 at 19:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying Mantis.

20 April 2010 at 19:34  
Blogger D. Singh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

20 April 2010 at 19:39  
Anonymous Katy said...

As the Local Authority Governor at a Roman Catholic School, and a former attendee of both Religious (RC) and state (comprehensive) schools, can I dispel one or two myths. The problem here seems to be perceived, rather than actual. The LibDems want to end ‘the opt-out from employment and equalities legislation for staff in faith schools, except those responsible for religious instruction’
and in those last two words lie the nub. When most of those in politics went to school, faith schools indoctrinated pupils in 'the' faith, but apart from classes just for those making their first Holy Communion, we don’t do that. We teach about the six main faiths, as required by the national curriculum, in the manner prescribed by the local council (i.e. with the emphasis on the local dominant practice in order to promote community cohesion).

Although reports into the situation in Bradford (where I live and work) claim that faith schools discourage ethnic diversity, this is far from the truth. Apparently, we 'steal' all the white children. But the ethnic divisions in communities ALREADY EXIST! I live in a predominantly asian area. Others live in predominantly white areas. Some live in predominantly black, or eastern-european areas. State schools select on the basis of catchment area, so are not ethnically diverse. In fact the Catholic schools are the most ethnically diverse; it is only inside the M25 (where, I'll bet, most MPs send their OWN kids to school!) that Catholic schools could have the perceived luxury of 'selecting' middle-class white children, because there are enough white Catholics or those foolish enough to pretend.
Our policy says, Catholics first, then followers of other faiths within our catchment zone, followed by everyone else. Our last Ofsted report said we were 'good', but we'd spent 18 months under a notice to improve, and before that we were 'satisfactory'. This didn't put people off. We've been over-subscribed for as long as anyone can remember. It's just that the local state primary doesn't offer what we do.
I went to Catholic schools until I was 16, then went to the local comp. Having spent 12 years in Catholic education, where we were taught that it was ok to be religious or not, be gay/lesbian or not, be black/white/brown/you-name-it, it was a shock on my first day when I heard a teacher say 'what's the matter with you boy, are you a puff?'. I put it down as a one-off, until I saw another teacher later that week, jeering at a Sikh boy, and encouraging the other pupils to pull at his turban. The discipline was shocking, the kids were taught that they were more important than anything else, and the teachers encouraged discrimination against anyone who didn't fit into their socialist 'liberal' sense of 'normal', ie straight, white, atheist.
P Burgess posed the question '[what is] the reason that faith schools perform better?'. It's because we do not teach children that there is no-one more important than them. State schools tend to have poor discipline, and this is because their ethos is that the child matters more than the adult. Having said that we don't indoctrinate in the faith, our faith colours the way we teach. Our teachers believe that God judges their behaviour, they expect the children to have a sense that others do too.
I've gone on too long. The main point is that the Lib Dems are fighting imaginary wrongs, and not looking to correct the errors where they exist. Much of what they want, such as parental opt-outs for religious assemblies, is already on statute! They are fighting a remembered problem that simply does not exist anymore, and as someone rightly said, they are rewarding failure and punishing success.

20 April 2010 at 20:16  
Anonymous len said...

I think you are wearing them down Mr Singh, they are running out of responses.

A couple of torpedoes should sink the dreadnaught,then the rest will scatter.

20 April 2010 at 20:22  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Katy: Thanks for useful contribution. Food for thought. Can you see any reason why non-Faith schools couldn't adopt the distinctions that you attribute your success to?

20 April 2010 at 20:33  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Och! Mr Len, when I was a young boy they made me kneel before the gods of war.

I need, as my Lord understands, an army in the field to oppose me.

God knows how what each one of us needs.

However, I must admit, rarely does He grant my wants.


Apparently, prayer is so powerful that He had to place limits upon it.

20 April 2010 at 20:44  
Anonymous Katy said...

Mr Burgess;

I'm afraid so. Non-faith schools take their 'ethos' from the latest fashion in education or the views of the government of the day. Catholic schools have the continuity of the Church. There's nothing stopping a non-faith school or even all non-faith schools from adopting a similar ethos, although in my opinion it's unlikely to happen under a Labour or LibDem government because they subscribe to this socialist liberal idea of 'the child is always right'.

I see where your argument was going (not sure if it still will be or not), but my firm opinion is that unless there is clear evidence that faith schools are damaging children, they should be left alone. After all, all education is selective, and therefore an indoctrination of sorts; non-faith schools teach a set of values which is equally selective and an indoctrination, and they take their lead from the government of the day, since they get to set the curriculum. Our ethos may be different, but it is not damaging the child.

20 April 2010 at 21:17  
Anonymous Katy said...

Oh by the way, and this is partly a plea as well;

I'm the LA governor at my school. I applied to my local council to become involved in school governorship. I didn't tell them I was brought up Catholic (and now toy with Orthodoxy; or does it toy with me, I'm not sure?).

Most faith schools - certainly all the ones I know - have a place for a Local Authority Governor on their GB. I don't know, but it might be a legal requirement; it certainly seems fashionable. The trouble is that they find that those places are very hard to fill. Few non-religious people want to serve on the GB of a faith school, and the form you fill in for the council asks if you will or won't do so. Most people say they won't. I said I would, and got allocated immediately to a RC school, where the Head had been pleading the local council to send her an LA governor for years.

If you're not of a faith, and you a) want to get involved in your local community and b) want to find out what goes on in Catholic schools, I'd urge you to consider applying to be a governor. If you go to www.sgoss.org.uk you'll find an organisation (school governors' one-stop shop) which will point you in the right direction. If you employ lots of people, I'd also urge you to invite them into your workplace to try recruit more governors - we're in short supply.

The school will be very grateful for your willingness to complete their committee, and interested in your perspective. I bet you hardly hear the phrase 'RE'.

ttfn - off to study plans of ancient Ostia for essay due in next Tuesday...oh joy!

20 April 2010 at 21:30  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Yes, Len. Mr. Singh's a Master Boatman, isn't he?

On the enemy:
I knew a another little boy who, like Davis, suffered early disappointment. This one went up into the sky on mechanical wings - an aeroplane - but couldn't see God there. Once back on terra firma, he manifested his consequent lack of faith in teachers--as an excuse for being one of the boys "who do not want to know," (Lewis /D. Singh @ 11:55). To this day, he undermines, pushes aside, and otherwise seeks to disable the scholarship, talent, and work of others.

So while the insurgency on this site re-presents a similar disease: carcinoma, perhaps we can surmise that some of the malignant cells suffered insult or 'disillusion' elsewhere in the social organism. However we respond to the intruders though, they like to proliferate with renewed fury.

They apparently neglect to process the fact that, if they destroy their host, they'll also destroy themselves. By inanition, yes; but also, if we don't survive their corruption of our environs, neither can they. In national terms: they would condemn us all to 'correction' within Gordon's Gulag, but beyond that looms a bigger Hell of Ol' Rumpy's Retention and Re-education Centres.

So I thank Cranmer for re-incarnation of his words in our culture and education, and for this forum. Your Grace must be doing something right, or the tumour couldn't wax so large and virulent. And, among your refreshed communicants, I also look forward to the greater resurrection of the Word to come.

20 April 2010 at 21:44  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Your grace delves deep for pearls with this post !

Graham Davies sensing that we should be hung up upon the innocence of children argument and that religion is indoctrination based upon a a fairy story and should not not be let anywhere near schools, awaits his reasoned argument and up pops Katy (for whom I am greatfull) as in her last paragraph includes the brilliant summation "the main point is the Lib Dems are fighting imaginaery wrongs, and not looking to correct the errors where they exist"

"Imaginary wrongs" is one of those active string of words , indeed so mcu of what the Lib dems do and other variants of socialism , always launches from the platform of imaginary wrongs committed unto the popular vote . But let us move along futher into the dissassembly into mental dialogue , a parent is forced to choose between two schools .
School A : A christian faith based school , with uniform , morning worship , attention to reading wrtiting and mathematics , running discilplined classrooms , decent exam standards and home work .

School B : A rigourous no faith school , where teaching is subserviant to pupils feelings about issues , creativity and exploration of ideas take prescidence over attaining a standard and exams are akin to the sound of claws descending down a blackboard ,indeed personal ability cannot be highlighted as it upsets those who do not absorb the lessons , and there is a grade for everyone , but nothing for the clever pupils and the not so clever pupils are not highlighted as the succes band is so broad that many slip under the extra help needed radar .

I turn the screw a little with the examples and still have not produced my reasoned argument .The parent may not know or understand the respective values , over time with the injection of the right mental dialogue parents may come to think school B is better , as Christianity isnt whats been chanted anymore and besides an I phone tells you most of the facts you need to know , personal knowledge is becoming more redundant as each day passes and processer chips become bigger and faster .

Eventually the tools for life are contained without the person and dictated by whoever programs the devices that we use to live , right and wrong have been eliminated or replaced by supply and demand , people wait for the correct beaurocrat to appear to do what they cannot do themselves anymore as it is no longer taught to them and no one is unhappy anymore.

Does this state of affairs prove that God doesnt exist? or just that minds can be programmed differently to new constructs ?, Oh dear when the durge is made is manifest , no one can argue it either !.

The persistence of religion in society says somthing about choice , athiesm is no choice indeed it has to vciously elimate its competitor in the obervence of perfection of society . It must therefore upset Mr graham Davies to wonder why as Christians we seek the perfection of the self via a story of a perfection held within a creator god .

Those errors commited by imperfect state always do have a more terrible scale greater than individuals working towards there own purification , through love described as having no pride .

Take yer pick Graham is it consenting individuals with a knowledge of the preciousness of life, aware with love of the eternal, or the busyiness of a que for determination of what mere men have formulated , and include there own errors and proud arguments.

20 April 2010 at 22:16  
Anonymous Willaim Wallace said...

Katy

Thanks, good comments, you are obviuosly in the real world unlike some here and others seeking election.

By the way in Scotland we will not be having any of this Lib Dem nonsense.Education is devolved

Eck is 100% behind catholic schools.

21 April 2010 at 02:46  
Anonymous William Wallace said...

Oh, and another thing.Did Clegg not go to an extremenly selective school himself,which selected strictly on the basis of Daddy's ability to pay a fee?

Will that be closing under this Libdem policy?

21 April 2010 at 02:53  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

I'm starting to get rather annoyed over this 'State-funded faith schools' nonsense. Evidently people see such a term and assume it means an ENTIRELY state funded school. In fact only a small proportion of funding is provided by the state; most of it comes from the parish. I would not buy £1 worth of shares in BAA and then expect to be able to order them to change their flight plans.

With faith schools the Government get high quality education at a cut price. Trying to homogenise and destroy such schools would only be detrimental to the people they serve, without offering any real or perceived benefit apart from furthering an atheist ideology.

My biggest problem with the education policies of the lefties lies in their confusion of equality and sameness. Trying to give everyone equal opportunities in education is a laudable ideal. The idea that this should involve giving everyone the SAME (allcaps because I'm not sure how to do italics) education is fundamentally flawed. All men are equal, but they are not the same. Comprehensive education discriminates against intelligent pupils by forcing them to mix with those who simply do not wish to learn. I went to a pretty decent comp, but even with tiering I was held back by the slowest in the group. Grammar schools were a fantastic idea, implemented by the only laudable and successful Labour Government we've had. It did not discriminate based on class; it did not separate people of different cultures; however it did allow those who put real effort in to succeed in their education. Of course there were problems with putting 11 year olds under such pressure at that age, but like the NHS, it was something to deal with rather than giving up on the whole idea.

21 April 2010 at 20:37  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Yes, Lakester. The other thing about grammar schools is that they carried on an old tradition. Shakespeare went to one, I seem to recall; I'm not sure if the Tudors started them, but they certainly patronized and encouraged education.

Anyway, given the heritage, and the success of that quality of education, our masters had to do away with it, didn't they? Can't have us Brits thinking for ourselves and staying independent, now can they?

22 April 2010 at 04:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lakester said,

"In fact only a small proportion of funding is provided by the state; most of it comes from the parish."

Untrue.

Schools coming under local education authorities include foundation, community, voluntary controlled, and voluntary aided schools.

Community schools are funded by the local authority, who employ the staff and own the land buildings.

A lot of voluntary controlled schools are religious. In these cases the land and buildings are owned by a charity - perhaps a religious one; the charity appoints some of the governors, but the local authority runs the school, as well as funding the school, employing the staff, providing support services and setting the admissions policy.

Voluntariy adied schools are funded partly by the local ed. authority, partly by the governing body and partly by the charity. The governing body employs the staff, the local authority provides support services.

Foundation schools are funded by the local ed. authority, but the land and buildings are owned by the governing body, who run the school and employ the staff and set the admissions policy in consultation with the local authority.

Non-local authority maintained schools are independent, city technology colleges, city academies, and others. CTCs are funded by the government, as are city academies.

So the only type of school in the publicly maintained sector where a religious organisation part-funds the school are voluntary-aided schools.

And it happens that the state contribution to capital costs of Voluntary Adided schools is now 90%, and all other running costs are paid by the local authority.

Lakester is therefore completely and utterly incorrect, and actually only a small proportion of funding comes from the foundation (not merely "parish") funding the school.

22 April 2010 at 15:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all in favour of freedom.

Why then are atheists banned from setting up schools?

22 April 2010 at 15:15  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

All Catholic schools are Voluntary Aided; and 10% is actually rather a lot, especially considering as this is essentially paying to control how assemblies are run.

22 April 2010 at 19:14  
Blogger Paul Orton said...

I don't understand what business it is of the state to try to influence children's religious beliefs, other than to teach them what different groups belief, and the corresponding controversies. If people want to instil a particular belief then the state should not play a part in it. I believe that the right of a child to be given a fair education trumps the right of parents to use the state to make a child any particular religion.

Thanks for the tip off about LibDem policy, they are definitely my preferred party now.

25 April 2010 at 11:49  

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