Atheist parents are robbing their children of access to our shared heritage

Nov 22, 2019 by

by Laura Freeman, Telegraph:

Antiquated. That was the word used by Andrew Copson, chief executive of Humanists UK, to describe the law requiring a daily assembly of collective worship in schools. Mr Copson was speaking in support of parents Lee and Lizanne Harris who have brought a case against Burford Primary in Oxfordshire. The Harrises have successfully campaigned for the school to have a separate, secular assembly “without the indoctrination of one enforced religion.” They call it a “significant win.”

A significant loss, surely? No prayers, no hymns, no Christmas, no Easter, no Noah’s ark, no Moses in the bulrushes, no David, no Goliath, no Delilah, no Three Wise Kings, no Wise nor Foolish Virgins. Just the promise of “alternative materials.” Colouring-in sheets, perhaps. A little light Pritt-Sticking before Maths.

It’s called “collective worship” because morning assembly is about a school coming together: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Agnostic and Atheist, bright-eyed or half-asleep. Whatever your faith, a prayer, a chapter of the Bible, a rendition by the Year 7 recorder group of All Things Bright and Beautiful isn’t “indoctrination”, it is the celebration of a shared heritage, a still, small point of calm at the beginning of the school day.

To grow up without knowing the Creation story, the Lord’s Prayer or the words to Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer is an impoverishment. What hope of understanding Chaucer, Shakespeare or Milton? What use an art historian who can’t tell a Saint from a Samson, or Herod from the Holy Dove?

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