Veronica Wikman’s argument (Letters, 28 October) that there are ever fewer devotees of religion these days is correct. But she continues to suggest that religious forces are reduced to teaching religion to children because they might be less likely to question it. In practice this doesn’t seem to be the case.
I am a believing, practising Christian but I came from a secular, non-religious family. Religious education did not feature in my school’s curriculum except at secondary level where we were compelled to learn scripture by unconvinced teachers. Yet I became a Christian in my questioning adult years, and my experience is far from unique. Today religious education is a feature of the curriculum, focusing on all religions.
Some parents actually choose to send their kids to schools which have a policy of teaching the subject and sometimes for other than religious reasons, for example better discipline or education.
Yet fewer products of this education become believers in anything.
The reason for a drop in the number of religious observers is more likely to be secular propaganda, earthy programmes and language, a reduced regard for accuracy, truth and purity of thought and possibly some opposition to mainstream Christianity in TV and radio.
Margaret E Salmond
Neil Barber (Letters, 28 October) cannot see “how a ‘church person’… could possibly lead a neutral school class or assembly on the subject of ‘a specific supernatural being’” – by which he presumably means “God”. Clearly a “secular society person” would likewise be disqualified.
Who then would be left to lead the discussion – and how could their freedom from bias be assessed?
Veronica Wikman believes that “religious observance” in schools “equates to religious indoctrination”. In many cases, I suspect it serves more as inoculation than indoctrination, but her argument is flawed anyway. When school assemblies feature bland, lowest common denominator secular moralising, does that amount to humanist indoctrination?
Secularists, usually driven by personal antipathy towards religion, demand an education system that only reflects their views. Pupils can be taught about religious views, but only secular opinions can be presented as personal convictions or institutional values.
This is the definition of “neutrality” in the secularist dictionary. There is actually no such thing as a “neutral” approach to values and ethos in schools.
Ms Wikman’s claim that parents are “forced to give religious organisations joint custody of our children in exchange for a state education” is just silly, overblown rhetoric.
Am I forced to give the Scottish Rugby Union “joint custody” of my son because he has to play a bit of rugby at school?
If she is concerned about being forced into “joint custody” of children, then the Scottish Government’s plan to appoint a state guardian for every child should be a more pressing issue.
But if she is really just anti- religious, religious observance in schools will seem a better target.