Children should not be made to worship

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The Christian think-tank Ekklesia has concurred with the findings of a new report from Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights which says that any child of ‘sufficient maturity, intelligence and understanding’ should be given the right to withdraw from compulsory religious worship in schools.

Ekklesia argues that mandating worship in public institutions confuses the different responsibilities of specifically religious bodies on the one hand, and publicly-funded educational bodies open to people of all faiths and none on the other.

Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow commented: "Mandating common worship is inappropriate for public institutions made up of people from different world views and faith backgrounds. It is also a misrepresentation of what worship actually is. Worship is a freely offered act of faith arising from a believing community. It is not something that can be imposed or required of everybody."

The Joint Committee on Human Rights says the issue is a basic one concerning freedom of belief.