Old Beardy – a.k.a. the Archbish of Cant – reckons the Lord’s Prayer should be taught in all schools.
Er, am I missing something? I mean, er, why?
He said: “I’d like to see schools introducing children to the Lord’s Prayer, so that they know that it’s there, they know what it means and know why it matters.
“Then they may make up their minds about whether they use it.”
Well, at least he recommends some choice in the matter of whether they use it, but why waste time on the Lord’s Prayer when there are other, more poetic texts that could be learned?
I used to memorise a few Shakespeare sonnets, for instance (did the same with the opening of Under Milk Wood). As well as the pleasure that comes from occasionally reciting them to oneself (when no one’s listening!), the old Bard contains more truth in his verse than the Lord’s Prayer, which just does the usual of saying, Hi, God, you’re great, now please give me some bread and, hey, don’t beat me up over stuff I’ve done, because, well, the glory’s all yours for ever, dude.
I can recite the Lord’s Prayer – and, for that matter, most of the Ten Commandments. It was drummed into me decades ago at school. It’s a minor achievement, but I don’t know that my ability to recite either has done me any good – and here I’m thinking back to before I began to question religion in the way I do now.
Perhaps kids ought to learn a few protest songs instead. Perhaps they should look at how religion in this country goes hand in hand with the government that’s taking their benefits away; that’s going to deter so many of them from going to university because of the enormous tuition fees; that’s privatising the National Health Service, thus ensuring that the bottom line will be put above health and wellbeing; that’s presiding over rocketing prices in fuel, which will work their way into everything the kids need, because manufacturing, processing and transport costs will all rise as a result.
I’m sure readers of a like mind could come up with a few dozen more things it would be better to have kids learn, or learn about, than the Lord’s Prayer.
But, like so much that kids are fed through TV and the Internet and rampant consumerism, cosy little jingles like the Lord’s Prayer – and all the other religious flimflam they’re stuffed with in school – will keep their minds off the more important things, and they’ll be less likely to make a fuss as they grow older.