The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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9:25pm on Tuesday, 23rd February, 2010:



Before I set off yesterday, I received a letter from the British Humanist Association asking if I wanted to renew my membership (which ran out in November but I didn't notice). There wasn't enough time for me to do so before I had to go, but decided I'd renew it when I got back today.

While I was driving, I had the radio on to listen to Radio 4's PM programme. There, I heard the depressing news that the Children's Secretary, Ed Balls, had decided to put an amendment in the government's Sex Education bill that allowed faith schools (spit) to opt out of it. Well, OK, it's not quite an opt-out — they have to teach what the national curriculum demands, it's just they can immediately contradict it if that's what their religion teaches.

PM presenter Eddie Mair(who is the main reason I listen to PM when I can) interviewed the head of the Association of Muslim Schools, Mohamed Mukadam, on the subject. He asked how, in practice, a school would teach what the national curriculum wanted to be taught about, say, homosexuality, when this is not something that Islam generally smiles upon. Mukadam gave one of those answers that sounded a lot more reasonable than a literal interpretation of it would reveal, until he cheerfully referred to homosexuality as being currently "fashionable". Mair's reply was (given that he himself is homosexual), the height of restraint. I, on the other hand (and I'm not homosexual) was livid. Saying homosexuality is fashionable is like saying your eye colour is fashionable — it's not like you get much say in the matter. And we're letting these "faith" people teach our children?!

As a direct result of this, I've just signed up for life membership of the BHA. It's cost me £500, but at least I won't forget next year. If they can dent this kind of attitude in any way, it's worth it.

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).