Why won't the churches address religious concerns about church schools?

By Jonathan Bartley
June 11, 2009

Another classic case of people within the churches resorting to personal attacks rather than dealing with the issues around church schools being raised by other religious people. Previous examples which we have responded to are here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/9347 and here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/9451

The latest example was in the letters pages of The Times newspaper.

It began when several church leaders and other religious figures wrote to the paper on 2nd June expressing their genuine concerns that the discrimination employed by church schools in employment and admissions was at odds with their religious beliefs about fairness and equality. It related to the Equality Bill currently before Parliament. They pointed out that many faith schools happily maintain a religious ethos without such discrimination, particularly voluntary controlled schools and academies: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article6408944.ece

Two days later Jan Ainsworth chief education officer at the Church of England, wrote a letter to the paper which, rather than deal with the issues they raised, questioned their motivations and tried to rubbish them as “noises off” here:

In last Saturday’s paper, the Rev Steve Dick responded pointing out the inadequacy of her response: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article6439760.ece

There is a real reluctance amongst many in the churches to even acknowledge that there are religious people who, because of their religious convictions, can not support schools which prioritise church families over others, and do not allow people will a different faith, or no faith, to even apply for jobs at their schools. I would have thought that such convictions about justice were fundamental to being a Christian? Apparently for a lot of people in the churches they are not.

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