We have an update to some news we posted about last year — A “New Enlightenment” in Scotland? — and the news isn’t good. You may recall that the Edinburgh Secular Society, backed by the National Secular Society, the Humanist Society Scotland, and the Edinburgh University Humanist Society, had lodged a petition to repeal a law that requires every school board (or council) in Scotland to appoint three religious representatives.
Now we know what happened. At the website of The Christian Institute of Newcastle upon Tyne we read Scots Govt rejects bid to curb church role in education. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Churches will continue to have a voice on local authority education committees, after the Scottish Government rejected a secularist bid to end the practice. The move was welcomed as evidence that Government ministers recognise the valuable role churches have to play. The Edinburgh Secular Society (ESS) had wanted changes to rules which require education committees to appoint representatives from religious organisations.
Not an unbiased report, but that’s okay. It’s the results that interest us, not the predictable opinion of The Christian Institute. We’re also told:
Under the 1973 Local Government Act three religious figures should be included – one from the Church of Scotland, one from the Roman Catholic Church and a third from any other religious organisation. The secularists’ idea had faced criticism from churches who say they offer a helpful service to schools.
Hey — they only want to offer a helpful service. Why would anyone object to that? Let’s read on:
In a letter the Government said: “Ministers support the involvement of religious representatives in the decision-making process by councils in relation to education and do not have any plans to change the existing provisions within the 1973 Act.”
What happened to the petition? They say:
In January, the ESS gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee, having gathered 1,778 signatures in opposition to the current legislation.
That’s all they got? Phooey! It’s no wonder the government is ignoring them. Anyway, the article we’re quoting from has commentary from various churchmen, but it’s what you’d expect — they’re delighted. You can click over there to read it if you like.
The issue seems to be dead, at least for this year; but if we learn anything new, we’ll let you know.
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