I’m away from IDYW’s nerve centre hidden in the foothills of Crete. For my sins I’m huddled in wet and windy Wigan, contemplating existence or wondering whether to go for a run. In fact I’ve made yet another cup of tea. Fortified thus I’ve turned my attention to a contribution I’m making to Youth & Policy’s ‘Faith’ conference this coming Wednesday in Bradford. I’m offering what I’m informed is a micro-talk, ten minutes’ musing on ‘No More Gods : Neither Marx nor Jesus’ – shades of a Stranglers’ hit for those of a certain age. And whilst thinking about my assertion I’ve come across this news story.
A group of parents and their children are to go to court to challenge the government’s decision to exclude non-religious world views from the new religious studies GCSE.
Under the revised curriculum, which will be taught in schools from next September, pupils will be required to study two faiths in depth. But it does not allow for the in-depth study of a non-religious world view, such as humanism.
Three parents are taking the government to court to argue that such views should be taught on an equal footing with the seven faiths included in the curriculum. They say not to do so is discriminatory and not in keeping with the government’s obligations with regard to freedom of religion and belief.
When details of the new RS course were published in February, 28 religious leaders including the former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams wrote to the Department for Education urging the government to rethink the curriculum and include the study of humanism.
In my little rant on Wednesday I will be pondering whether it would be acceptable or desirable to be labelled a humanist or atheist youth worker. If anyone is interested I could post my notes for your contemplation next week.