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Thursday, 31 March 2011

It's child abuse! Children AS YOUNG AS 4 to be 'educated' in atheism! What is the world coming to?

Yes, it's a long headline above, and reflects this blogger's pissed-off-ness with the likes of the Daily Hate (sorry, Mail – old habits die hard).

Its headline screams: CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS FOUR TO BE EDUCATED IN ATHEISM.

What is really happening is that humanism will be incorporated into religious education in primary schools in Blackburn with Darwen, Lancashire (in the north of England), to accompany the religions that are there: Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, Buddhism and Islam. So kids will be told that certain religions exist, and this is what they say, and that there are people who don't do religion, and this is what they say.

Simple and, if you're going to teach religion at all, sensible. Religions can then be put into a context: that there are people who have no religion and there are people who have.

But it's not just the Mail's take: it's also lousy journalism. A Mail hack knows he can get away with the utmost shit if it leads to a screaming headline with some sensationalism in it, manufactured though that sensationalism is in this case.

So he gets brownie points.

However, if you read on you realise it's a story that comes down in favour of humanism and the new bit of the curriculum. There's even a priest quoted:

Reverend Kevin Logan, a local journalist, author and religious community leader, said: "It is quite a change but it is completely right to recognise atheism and humanism.

"They are religions like any others. It is just that people worship man instead of a god.

"I am certainly not worried about Christianity. It can stand against any belief and come out in a good light."

And others quoted in the story come out in favour of a more sensible approach, too. So why do the headline (which is down to the subeditor, usually, not the writer) and the intro make out it's a crime against humanity to teach kids as young as four about atheism?

And nowhere, you'll note, does it venture to suggest that it's perhaps more dangerous to teach kids as young as four about religion, rather than leaving that till later in their school lives, when they are better able to offer critical judgement.

4 comments:

Micky said...

Yeah! Let's shoot the messenger!

It's well-known, isn't it, that if you want right wing shit then buy a right wing paper!

But you're right - of course it's the Headline Writer who is told by the Editor and his subs what sort of thing sells newspapers - and it's NOT honesty.

However the real news here is excellent, isn't it? I mean Councillors and education chiefs must have agreed this (presumably) so that means that people who are not religious quacks are now getting their voices heard and are changing policy for the better. And, what's more, it will certainly reflect their own community better. Most people in Lancashire do not belong to or practice any religion.

Mind you - I suspect that this may have more to do with people not wishing to see the Muslim faith, in particular, gaining too much more ground. There may well be a 'hidden agenda' here to play down (non-Christian) faiths in particular.

Laura said...

I took offense though at this quote,
"They are religions like any others. It is just that people worship man instead of a god." Atheism and humanism are not religions, as I understand them. They don't "worship"
man or anything else. By saying this the priest is either ignorant of what atheism and humanism really are, or he is misrepresenting them to advance his own religious agenda. There is no clarifying quote from an atheist or humanist to balance it out. Or maybe the editor edited it out of the story.

In any case, maybe it's just me. I'm known to be easily offended.

Mykelb, USA said...

Laura, You are absolutely correct. If they are going to quote someone who inaccurately describes the very subject they are trying to elucidate, the writer should either quote the accurate statement or make one up himself to correct the speaker who was inaccurate. Unfortunately, many reporters are just fucking lazy.

George Broadhead said...

Laura is quite right and I would have posted exactly the same if I'd read the blog earlier.

The claim that either atheism or humanism (not the same) are religions is absurd.

For info about the humanist outlook, visit the PTT website at www.pinktriangle.org.uk