18.11.09 | bob |
From the BBC news piece:
Graham Coyle, a teacher and national team leader at the Christian Schools Trust, which represents 43 independent schools, questioned what the BHA was asking parents to do.
“They seem to be saying that they don’t want parents to pass on to their children their fundamental beliefs – about what is right and wrong, about respect for other people and living in harmony,” he said.
“If that is what they are saying then they are asking parents to abrogate their responsibilities. And if parents don’t pass on these beliefs who is going to fill the vacuum?
“To say that we are labelling our children by passing on our fundamental values is mistaken.”
He added: “If a humanist says to his child ‘I don’t believe in God’ then he is making a statement and passing on that belief.”
Of course it’s not true that the Don’t Label Me campaign says you can’t pass on any kind of moral education! It’s only about labelling children and other kinds of really tight constraint on the development of their “worldview” – whatever it may end up being. Far from being about abrogating responsibilities, parental open-mindedness – allowing children the space to explore different ideas from your own for themselves – is a very worthwhile and virtuous responsibility to undertake!
Anyway, the BHA loves critical thinking, of course! So we’ve answered the questions raised here in the Billboards Critical Thinking FAQ. For example see after the jump.
How are religious parents supposed to bring up their children if they’re not allowed to practice their faith with them?
The posters are about the practice of labelling children and “claiming them” for a faith. The posters are not about parents expressing their own religious, philosophical, moral or political views or even involving their children in their religious rituals. However we do hope they will raise awareness about what it does to someone’s self-image when others presume a particular view of them, especially young and impressionable people. Such presumption gives them less choice to freely develop a worldview for themselves.
How does one instil morals without inculcating children into a specific religion?!
You do not have to be religious to be moral. Right and wrong can be found within society and by discussing responsibilities and the effects of your actions on others. We are certainly not against the discussion of morality – indeed we support the right of children to be free to explore their moral and philosophical beliefs. You can find more information and guidance at: