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Civil religion in the UK, Canada, Australia and the Commonwealth

By Norman Bonney,
Manchester University Press, October 2013

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Monday, 9 September 2013

Persecuted Christian sect could claim discrimination against Scottish Local Authority

The Scotsman reports (7 September) that South Lanarkshire Council has peremptorily ended a chaplaincy of the American based Church of Christ, and the voluntary roles of members of the Church in schools in the area, partly because of their espousal of religious doctrines that reject the idea of evolution.

It would seem that this Church would have a strong claim of discrimination on grounds of religion and belief under the Equality Act of 2010 against South Lanarkshire Council, since, like all local authorities in Scotland, it allows representatives of other denominations to preach their unscientific beliefs in the divinity and resurrection of Jesus Christ and of the virginity of his mother as part of the school curriculum.

Why is one sect singled out for opprobrium and exclusion and others granted privileged access to influence pupils in our state funded schools?

The only fair policy towards religious observance is to exclude it from publicly funded schooling and leave parents and children free to practice religion if they wish in their time out of school. Any other policy involves the government or education authorities dictating which churches and sects should be granted access to pupils in schools to spread their unscientific views.