Faith in Secular Education : How faith schools are the anti-thesis of secularism

This is adapted from an argument with a Christian that secularism precluded faith schools from state sponsorship, were he defined secularism as:

“But I also say that its not the job of government to promote one form of education (non religious) over all others. The government should provide the funding for whatever kind of education parents want”

– and that’s fine as your opinion, but it is not, and never will be, secularism – it is multi-culturalism, and there’s a world of difference.

Let me illustrate the problem – let’s say the system remains were the faith of the majority is the faith of choice in schools. In 30 years time, your grandchild is attending class in the nearest school – in the interim, Christianity has dwindled to almost nothing and Islam is now the dominant religion.

In the middle of her first class, the teacher stops, indicates the time, points the direction to Mecca and directs students to take out their prayer mats, and they dutifully do…apart from your grandchild, looking lost and bewildered. She sits somewhere else while the other students complete their prayers.

Later that day, the child tells her grandad what happened, and explains how uncomfortable and isolated she felt, effectively being excluded from a class activity which came about because of your own conditions. The child indicates an interest in Islam, wanting to feel more included and involved with her classmates.

Now do you see the problem?

He responded:

“Personally I would encourage my children not to send my grandchildren to a Muslim school.”

– too bad, in my hypothetical scenario, there aren’t enough Christians left for them to have their own faith schools. Plus, it was the only school within reasonable distance.

This is exactly equivalent to the present day situation of people from non-Christian faiths in N.Ireland without a handy Integrated school.

Secularism means that religious groups operate free from the control of (as long as they are lawful), and independent of, the state.

In a faith-school situation, a religious organisation receives money from the government to provide a service. Ergo, they cease to be independent of, and free from the control of, the state – the money would come with attached conditions.

I can’t make it any clearer, short of drawing a picture.

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