SIR – Archon argues that Humanists have no place suggesting that religion should be taught outside the classroom since ‘families enthusiastically participate in the management, support and financing of their local Catholic or Protestant primary school.’ Both my children have attended our local state school; to do otherwise would involve a 30km round trip twice a day.
This school is taxpayer-funded, but happens to fall under the patronage of the Caholic church. My family is not Catholic. I am Humanist; my children will make their own decisions when the time comes.
We have the deepest respect for the personal faith beliefs of our neighbours, friends, co-pupils and parents at the school. I am vice-chair of the Parents’ Association and, as such, one ‘who enthusiastically participate(s)’ in the ‘… support etc of their local … primary school.’
I support the school because it is our local state school and my children attend it, not because it is under religious patronage. I’m glad my children go to this school. They’ve made great friends and feel integrated in our local community, which is so important in a rural setting.
However, despite the best efforts of principal, teachers and other parents, they do feel left out on occasion, particularly when their year is participating in Holy Communion or Confirmation, preparation for which seems to completely take over in the run-up to the event. Is it really so unreasonable to suggest that religion class happens at the end of the school day so that children like mine (who are part of the community and who love their school) could avoid having to experience this feeling of deep exclusion?
Humanism is very much about inclusiveness, about valuing every member of society equally. I personally find little to apologise for in that.