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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, 7 October 2013

Creationists back in Scottish school - 14 year failure of Scottish Parliament to tackle evangelism in Scottish schools

Weekend news reports suggest that the chaplain who was withdrawn from a South Lanarkshire school under parental pressure because of his evolution denying views has been replaced, with the local authority's backing, by another representative of the same church who similarly expresses doubts about this well-supported scientific theory. Of course, if the local council had not acted in this way the Church of Christ could have claimed discrimination under the 2010 Equality Act because numerous other religious denominations, with equally scientifically doubtful beliefs central to their doctrines, are allowed to access pupils in our schools and, in the case of one big denomination, is allowed to manage a large proportion of those tax payer funded schools and directly influence the education and beliefs of pupils in them.Projecting trends from the recently published results of the 2011 census it is likely that the Scottish population will, next year, prior to the independence referendum, have a non-Christian majority and that those with no religion will constitute almost four in ten of the population. These major changes in belief mean that the current educational regime which gives Christian sects, and a few other religious denominations, an almost free range in our schools, will be increasingly contested.

The Scottish Parliament was established in 1999 with full powers to review and change the laws that govern the educational system and which were inherited from the Westminster UK Parliament. It has totally failed to undertake this task and has consented in the renewal by the Scottish Government of guidelines on religious activities in schools which have allowed the current situation to develop. 

Those who think somehow that an independent Scotland would be more democratic and secular in relation to such matters are mistaken if the record and the current plans of the Scottish Government is anything to go by.