Faith no more
I pong to this post on Opposing Faith Schools from Harry's Place. I don't know much about the entrails of this issue which qualifies me as an ideal candidate to comment. The point made is that Faith schools should be stopped on the basis that they will reinforce values which are propagated on old (South Asian) sectarian baggage. And that if they are allowed to continue, the State pays for this sectarianism on curricula in schools. Whilst I agree with this conclusion in parts, I don't exactly know which parts. The issue is further clouded when you consider that:
1. Religion and racism, which Nick Cohen calls "the two most toxic causes of strife on the planet", are not going to get airbrushed away by stopping faith schools. They're toxic alright, but the same causes are well propagated by secular schools too. How many BNP members went to secular schools masqerading as madrasas? And if it is posited that BNP members don't learn their racism from schools, then it ought to be asked - why will Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus do so?
2. How far away are we from Saudi Arabian style legislation which bans all schools in the Kingdom if they're not preaching a particualr type of home-grown Nejdi Sunni Islam, which we know and love as Wahhabi-ism. Seems abhorrent, but isn't this the other side of this selective secular fundamentalism?
3. Weren't Cambridge and Oxford Universities essentially founded on the principles of faith schools? Its OK I guess if the elites of the UK continue to benefit from faith schools as long they're certain faiths only? I doubt there is a leader of a Commonwealth Country today who did not benefit from schools created by Christian missionaries.
Will Christian and Jewish schools also be stopped? Whats really behind this push to stop faith schools?