Views from the News
Sandy Jack, Eastbourne
A Norwich grandmother who objected to a gay march is accused of hate crime. After witnessing a gay pride march, committed Christian Pauline Howe wrote to the Council to complain that the event had been allowed to go ahead. But instead of a simple acknowledgement, she received a letter warning her she might be guilty of a hate crime and that the matter had been passed to the police. Two officers later turned up at the frightened grandmother’s home and lectured her about her choice of words before telling her she would not be prosecuted.
Source: Daily Mail, 26th October 2009.
On the BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Programme of 18th October, a host said, ‘Some evangelical parents need monitoring by the state because they may “intimidate” their children with ideas about God, sin and hell’, and the Government’s Schools Minister replied by saying this is part of the reason for conducting a review of the rules on home education.
The programme featured an item on the Government’s controversial proposals for regulating parents who choose to educate their children at home. The show’s host, Roger Bolton, spoke of ‘authoritarian’ evangelical fathers of ’Victorian periods’ who threatened their children with theology. He was interviewing Schools Minister, Diana Johnson, and went on to say, ‘some people will worry that this is possible now under home tuition’. He continued, ‘And you would not be able to do anything about it because people would just say, “We’re simply telling them what we believe”’. The Schools Minister replied, ‘That’s part of the reason why we have asked Graham Badman to do this review because at the moment we don’t know what’s happening’. She added that the Government wanted to make sure ‘there is a process once a year to find out what is happening in the home in terms of the education’.
The Government wants education officials to have the right to interview homeschooled children without their parents being present.
EASTER HOLIDAYS ‘AXED BY COUNCILS’
Thousands of schools are dumping the old-fashioned Easter holiday in favour a US-style ‘Spring break’, despite fears over a flight from Christian tradition.
Research by the Daily Telegraph shows schools in a third of local authorities have already moved to a standard year – creating a fixed two-week break irrespective of the Easter weekend.
Teachers and education officials insist the system is vital to help schools’ longterm planning. They also claim the more regular holiday allows parents to plan trips and book time off work. But religious leaders criticized the move, saying tradition was being sacrificed ‘for the sake of convenience’. It comes amid fears that many secondary schools are already scrapping daily Christian assemblies because they no longer fit with the demands of the school day. The current system, which has been in place since the 4th century, determines Easter by the first full moon after the spring equinox and means it can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25. Last year saw the earliest Easter since 1913 when the holiday fell on March 23. It was claimed that it played havoc with the holiday plans of many families as some schools broke up on Good Friday while others waited until April to take time off.