You know about today’s eclipse, about which we wrote The End of the World Is Upon Us — Again. Well, the world didn’t end — at least we haven’t noticed if it did — but we have some follow-up news from London’s Daily Telegraph.
Their headline is Schoolchildren banned from watching eclipse on ‘relgious and cultural’ grounds. The newspaper has a comments feature, but you have to scroll way down to see it. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us:
Pupils at North Primary School in Southall were stopped from watching the solar eclipse directly and had to observe it on screens instead. Sometimes known as Little India, Southall is a diverse community in west London with a large Hindi population.
They weren’t allowed to watch the eclipse? Why? We’re told:
Although headteacher Ivor Johnstone would not comment on what the ‘religious and cultural’ reasons were, some Hindu scriptures say that an eclipse makes believers impure.
Ah, that explains it. It makes sense, too. One must avoid impurity. Let’s read on:
And fundamentalists believe that they need to bathe immediately after an eclipse and chant the name of God to overcome the forces of darkness.
That also makes sense. We continue:
However parents said children were disappointed by the decision, arguing that religious superstition had been allowed to overshadow science.
Unbelievers! Here’s more:
Phil Belman, whose seven year old daughter goes to the school, told The Evening Standard: “I am extremely upset about it. “My child went in having spent an hour preparing and making up her pinhole camera. This is an issue about scientific matters versus religious superstition. I am outraged – is it going to be Darwin next? We will be like mid America.”
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We hope it doesn’t get that bad. Moving along:
Mr Johnstone [the headteacher] said: “The school made this decision when we became aware of religious and cultural concerns associated with observing an eclipse directly. Although we are sorry for any disappointment, pupils were still able to watch the eclipse on screens in classrooms. However, the overcast conditions in West London today meant they would not have been able to see it live in any case.”
That’s his excuse — the kids couldn’t have seen the eclipse anyway. Well, let’s look on the bright side — if an eclipse has such. With the clouds and the prohibition on viewing, the children were adequately protected from evil spirits. And that’s what’s important.
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