"First step" in attempt to eradicate religion from Scottish schools
The Scottish Secular Society has launched a new campaign to force schools to create an “opt-in” system for religious observance.
Currently all pupils in schools across Scotland are automatically involved in religious worship and parents are given the option to withdraw their children if they wish.
But the Scottish Secular Society has launched a petition demanding an opt-in, rather than opt-out, system that will effectively require parents to give consent before their children are permitted to participate.
“Our petition seeks to change the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 so that children are not automatically opted into religious observance by the school,” the society said.
The society discussed the issue with the Public Petitions Committee this week. It argued that the Scottish Education Act of 1980 was in breach of human rights law and that the move was justified in light of religious and demographic changes in Scotland.
But the Free Church of Scotland argued that most parents were happy for their children to be involved in religious worship and that the society’s campaign was part of a wider agenda to eliminate religion from public schools.
The Reverend David Robertson, a Free Church minister in Dundee and director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity said:
“Statistics go against the Scottish Secular Society - they are a tiny group of people who are seeking to impose their will and their philosophy on the vast majority of Scottish parents.
“More seriously we do not believe that the Scottish Secular Society just intend to create an opt-in system of religious worship. Their belief and intention is that there should be no religious worship in state schools at all. They just see this as a first step”.
He added: "It is clear that the secular society wish to eradicate any form of religion in any public school.
“Solas CPC, the Free Church, and many other Christian churches and organisations will resist this secular tyranny as much as we possibly can”.