The Atheist Blogger complains (Telegraph Caught Lying For Jesus) that The Telegraph has been somewhat lax with the truth in an article about the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (AHS). The Telegraph article (Atheists target UK schools) appears to be suggesting that:
The federation aims to encourage students to lobby their schools and local authorities over what is taught in RE lessons and to call for daily acts of collective worship to be scrapped. It wants the societies to hold talks and educational events to persuade students not to believe in God.
While I’d actually support such activities, it would appear that this isn’t what the AHS are up to. In actual fact, the AHS are working to encourage open thinking among students – as The Atheist Blogger writes:
What the AHS actually wants to do is encourage interfaith discussion through a variety of events, focusing on both scientific and religious education, as well as supporting charity work. The aims of the current initiative are outlined in brief here:
- To teach students how to debate and create dialogue between school faith groups.
- Provide the school with fun and educational events and activities, including two student-led courses: ‘Perspectives’ in which a speaker from a faith group gives a talk followed by Q&A, and our ‘One Life’ course, which considers moral and ethical issues without god. Many events will also support the scientific curriculum.
- Encourage charity volunteering.
- Give students the experience of running a group and managing events.
- Show students that it’s ok not to believe in god and encourage critical thinking.
- Bring out issues concerning religious privilege in schools such as collective worship and incomplete or biased religious education.
Of course, the Telegraph isn’t the most liberal of newspapers, and it appears to have been on the receiving end of a communique from The Christian Institute. who’s Mission is presented on their web page:
The Christian Institute exists for “the furtherance and promotion of the Christian religion in the United Kingdom” and “the advancement of education”.
The Christian Institute is a nondenominational Christian charity committed to upholding the truths of the Bible. We are supported by individuals and churches throughout the UK.
We believe that the Bible is the supreme authority for all of life and we hold to the inerrancy of Scripture. We are committed to upholding the sanctity of life from conception.
So that’s OK then. Well, perhaps not. The Christian Institute sounds like it’s at the forefront of the “Christians as Victims” school of thought. As they say in a news report about the Equality Bill:
Christian groups are concerned that the Bill will reopen many of the discrimination issues which have left Christians bottom of the pile when it comes to ‘equality and diversity’.
Actually, one might argue that the AHS are actually seeking equality for all, including those of no faith. According to the AHS website,
The AHS will be seeking corrections from the Sunday Telegraph after the paper misrepresented the AHS’ new schools initiative, which encompasses fostering interfaith events, scientific and religious educational activities and charity work.
Bet they don’t get a correction.