Saturday 3 December 2016

Schools should teach Irish values, which are historically Christian

Published 09/11/2015 | 02:30

'Don’t give them St Brigid one day, and the Goddess Kali the next'
'Don’t give them St Brigid one day, and the Goddess Kali the next'

Should young children be taught about world religions, rather than primarily about their own (or their family's) faith? That is what Government education advisers are proposing, and no doubt with the best of intentions. It sounds like a nice, inclusive, tolerant idea. But my own experience is that it confuses children.

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My sons attended a Church of England primary school in West London some years ago. Most of the parents considered it perfectly inclusive just as it was. The religious aspect was lightly applied, but the children learned about Baby Jesus, and the Christmas Nativity play was particularly well-loved. There were children speaking 132 languages from all over the world, but parents accepted the basic Christian framework as 'the host culture'. Just as if you were in Japan, you would accept the practices of Shintoism.

But this wasn't good enough for the then left-wing Inner London Education Authority, and thus it was decreed that the school was to be more 'multi-cultural' and 'multi-faith'. Out went the Nativity play, and in came Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light. Out went Mary and Joseph, and in came the Goddess Kali, she of the many hands. Seven-year-olds became utterly confused. And what was perhaps worse - from the point of view of social cohesion - rivalries broke out among different factions from different ethnicities.

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