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Disestablish religion and remove it from government and schools

Comment 1st July 2010

I would like to see religion removed from schools. It has nothing to do with the business of educating children and often causes considerable division. If parents want their children to be part of a faith group then there is plenty of time and opportunity for this outside of compulsory educational establishments. Many countries, such as the USA and France, have a secular approach to religion and I believe that we should do the same.

Schoolchildren (and teachers) should not wear religious garments or symbols as such items often cause inter-faith offence or distract from the purpose of learning. A school is a place for education and not religion. By removing religion from schools each child will be equal in the same way that wearing a school uniform equalises schoolchildren.

In France all marriages take place in a state registry office, you have the option of a religious-based service if you wish to do that. In my opinion, committing religion to something below the state is far superior than continuing with religion embedded in the state apparatus.

Why does this matter?

In all aspects of government or education religion should be placed outside of that framework as it is not dealing in fact or as an evidence-based learning. Religion is a matter of faith and schools should no more teach religious instruction than teach atheism … although in an evidence-based approach, atheism does at least follow the principle of requiring a burden of proof. 

In schools for example, it is important for children to understand that they are at school to learn subjects that are based on evidence. Religion often places pupils from a faith-based family at a disadvantage because, as in the example of evolution or sex education, their particular religion does not accept the science or the need for practical instruction in sex and relationships. This can impact on some sports, such as swimming, and on subjects such as music. If we are to have an equal society then faith should be a family-based practice and should be kept out of schools.

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