Scotland: Force-Fed Religion in Schools

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In Edinburgh, Scotland religious assemblies are held in all schools (even the ‘private’ or non-denominational ones) several times during the school year. This is mandated by the Scotland Education Act of 1980. While, here in America, this seems like what it is, a despicable overreach by the Church of Scotland, until recently, it was just the way things are in Scottish schools. Up until 1872 all education in Scotland was controlled by the Church of Scotland. When non-denominational schools were allowed to open their doors, the religious aspect of student’s education did not significantly change.

Finally now, parents who object to mandatory “spiritual” education are starting to fight back and are hoping that, through a ballot referendum, they will have the support of the majority of Scottish voters to eliminate the religious curriculum in non-denominational schools. The issue is now before the Edinbourough City Council’s Petitions Committee.

A main bone of contention right now is the cost of a special election to decide the issue of the propriety of religious indoctrination in non-denominational schools. Setting up and administering a special election it would cost the city of Edinborough an estimated 10 million pounds (the equivalent of over $15 million U.S).

This is a very timely issue in Edinborough that is drawing a lot of public debate, if the issue is not resolved in a special election, it will most likely be held over until the next general election (in 3 years).

The “rebels” in this particular “war against the Church of Scotland” (basically a Presbyterian church) are the members of and supporters of the Edinburgh Secular Society. Since less than half of the population of Scotland claim any allegiance whatsoever to the Church of Scotland, the ballot initiative has a good chance of passing . . . if it is allowed to reach a vote by the general public.

Generally, in the United States, secularists tend to do quite a bit of “overreaching” themselves but the Edinborough secularists seem to have a very valid cause for complaint.

References:

Scotsman.com: <a href=”http://www.scotsman.com/news/education/let-us-pay-10m-bill-to-axe-religion-in-schools-1-2953813″&gt; Let us pay: ¬£10m bill to axe religion in schools</a>

Wikipedia: <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Scotland”&gt; Church of Scotland</a>

National Secular Society: <a href=”http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2013/02/edinburgh-secularists-back-bid-to-abolish-religious-observance-in-schools”&gt; Edinburgh secularists back bid to abolish religious observance in schools</a>

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