Welsh education has moved a step towards sanity with the news that sixth-formers are now to be allowed to opt out of collective worship in schools.
This happened in England in 2007, so why the delay?
It’s upset religionists, of course – not Catholics, surprisingly, who have welcomed the move, seeing compulsion as counterproductive.
As things stand, students can be excused this idiocy only if their parents have made the request. Now, they’ll have the opportunity to make their own decision, and many students interviewed on the BBC's Welsh news last night welcomed the move.
The objection to this belated piece of sanity has come from the Union of Welsh Independent Chapels, which says the Welsh Assembly Government is throwing “1,500 years of Welsh Christianity to the wind – at the very time when young people need a sound moral and spiritual dimension in their lives more than ever”.
The morals-from-religion argument again. No religion = no morals. Yeah, right.
Dr Geraint Tudur, the union’s general secretary, says, “Over the centuries, Christianity has been the bedrock of Welsh identity and morality. This is a secular attack on that Christianity – an act of betrayal by the Assembly Government. We urge assembly Education Minister Jane Hutt to reconsider.”
That bedrock of identity and morality also ensured that, when the Chapel held sway, you might lose your livelihood if you didn’t attend. Is that the kind of bedrock Dr Tudur wants to see?
And what happened to choice? Why should students of any age be forced to worship an entitity that has never been proven to exist – and never will be?
The sooner all school students can make the choice, the better.