IT IS difficult to persuade an adult who has been raised outside a religious environment to accept the claims made by monotheistic religions. It is, therefore, in the interest of evangelising religions, such as Christianity, to access children. Due to their natural immaturity, children are easy to mould and can be taught to adopt a reverential and unquestioning attitude towards religion and religious figures of authority.
Religious belief is falling quite rapidly in Scotland. According to the latest census, the number of non-believers has now grown to 37 per cent, outnumbering the members of the Church of Scotland. Consequently, the number of children enrolled in Sunday school, ie the next generation of church-goers, is also falling.
This is a big problem for the churches, which is why the practise of automatically enrolling school children in state-sponsored prayers and worship (religious observance) is so appealing for them. While it is understandable that the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church would rather retain their power and influence over our state education system and not give up their privileged position, it is unacceptable and indefensible.
As parents, we should not be forced to give religious organisations joint custody of our children in exchange for a state education. We should not be co-erced into accepting evangelising activities for our children in order to avoid segregation and disadvantage.
Religious observance equates to religious indoctrination. Granting unelected religious representatives seats on our education committees is an abuse of the democratic process.
No amount of euphemistic language from the likes of Michael McGrath, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, and Rev David Robertson, director of Solas Centre for Public Christianity (Friends of The Scotsman, 25 October), is going to change these facts.