In an attempt to end religious assemblies in their schools, at least 300 Scottish students signed a petition last month. The petition stated that the Christian assemblies at North Berwick High School were outdated and discriminatory, while insisting that there should be no religious influence in educational institutions; or if there are any, they should at least include more religions than one.
Neil Barber, spokesperson of Edinburgh Secular Society, hailed the petition, saying his organization was delighted to hear that hundreds of students at a single school had pushed for a secular move and demanded to end Christian assemblies.
“They are understandably concerned that these discriminatory assemblies represent only the Christian religion and are led only by Christian church members. The days of Christians having exclusive and privileged control over the ‘spirituality’ of pupils in our state schools are clearly numbered,” he said.
Responding to the petition, Reverend Laurence Twaddle, minister at Belhaven Parish Church, said Scotland had been founded because of Christianity and thus it was only justified for the school to emphasize on Christian teachings. He also referred to a ‘local vibe’ in the region that according to him seems more Christian than anything else, while explaining how educationalists feel it is important for religion to be included within school communities.
Yet, students protested against the longstanding tradition, alleging that the assemblies in their school were out of touch with the views of young people; and more importantly, today’s society.
Not to forget, the nature of these school assemblies has become an established source of controversy. The Contender, a newspaper published by a group of youngsters in the locality, earlier reported how students have been subjected to a noticeable degree of spiritual influence while at school. It also reported how many students find such influences inappropriate, as they believe no particular belief system should be pushed within the realm of public education. In that report, one student was quoted as saying, “For a public school to influence children in one way or another towards religion is morally wrong.”
In the meanwhile, National Secular Society decided to launch yet another petition that calls upon the Scottish government to revise a law that currently requires all schools to conduct compulsory collective worship.
Photo Credits: Sleuth Journal