Government U-turn on Faith Schools

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Ekklesia's director Jonathan Bartley: "The Government's u-turn over faith schools is a symptom of the 'New Deal' that has been struck between faith groups and government.

"Politically, it is based on the idea that religion can be 'incorporated' into the apparatus of ruling, managing and providing.

"Theologically, it assumes that faith - rather than being rooted in a free choice, a free expression and a free community - can be developed and propagated through statutory, coercive, subliminal or functionalist means.

"All this imperils both plural governance and religious integrity. As a 'solution' it is deeply flawed, even if some of its outworking can be shown to have benefits. That is especially evident in current arguments over publicly-funded faith schools where elements of inclusion or good practice cannot disguise the wider divisive effect of selection on the basis of religion."