Posted: 26 Oct 2010 01:35 PM PDT
The BHA has urged the government to listen to senior Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors who have attacked the introduction of ‘free schools’, raising concerns that they could create ethnic or religious enclaves and undermine community cohesion.
Speaking to The Guardian Cllr Les Lawrence, Conservative cabinet member for children’s services in Birmingham, said that independent state schools run by religious groups were ‘deeply worrying’ because they would not be required to teach about other beliefs. He said he preferred a system ‘whereby all faiths are taught in schools [in religious education lessons], irrespective of the primary faith’. Cllr Lawrence also raised concerns that ‘free schools’ could lead to segregation and division: ‘The city council has raised concerns about community cohesion. It is an exclusive, not an inclusive type of education that they would provide, not the kind of comprehensive ethos we have developed in this city.’
These concerns were echoed by Kath Pinnock, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Kirklees council, who warned that a new free school in her area could lead to an ethnically segregated education system.
BHA faith schools and education campaigns officer James Gray commented ‘These latest contributions to the debate demonstrate that opposition to free schools cuts across political divides. Critics from all the main Westminster parties have joined parents and teachers in raising concerns about the threat to community cohesion and objective teaching that ‘faith’ free schools pose.’
‘We urge the government to introduce robust safeguards to prevent a school system becoming even more fragmented along religious lines, and with potentially thousands of children left unprotected against extreme religious views.’
Posted: 25 Oct 2010 08:51 PM PDT
High school juniors and seniors are invited to enter the 2011 Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest, sponsored by the Religious Liberty Council of the Baptist Joint Committee.
By writing an essay on the assigned topic, students have the opportunity to win a $1,000 scholarship and a trip to
The 2011 topic asks students to use a single example or multiple examples to explain how religious rights clash with other rights or laws in
Visit www.BJConline.org/contest for the complete 2011 topic, examples and essay contest rules.
Click here to download a 4-page pdf document containing the complete rules and entry forms.
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