Evan Harris on science and religion in schools
The whole problem with RE lessons is not that they exist but that they amount to religious instruction in some schools. There is no basis for allowing state-funded schools to indoctrinate their pupils, even if that is what their parents want. They can provide this in optional after-school (or lunchtime) classes or clubs. They could even have something on a Sunday where children are taught to be believers. They could call it Sunday School!
The recognition that RE lessons can be proselytising is reflected in the right that parents have to withdraw their children from these lessons. In contrast, they can’t withdraw their children from biology lessons even if they have profound religious objections to their being taught about sexual reproduction or evolution – these subjects are recognised as non-proselytising.
Secularists like me believe that RE is a valid subject for study in the curriculum but should be about what different religions (and other world views like humanism) believe; it should not be about what ought to be believed. So Catholic schools should be allowed to use RE lessons to teach that the Catholic church opposes contraception and believes that homosexuality is a sin, but not that the children ought to believe those things. The lessons should set out contrasting views on that subject.
Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/political-science/2010/aug/27/science-teaching-religious-education-re
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Evan Harris on science and religion in schools,