The British Humanist Association reveals why the Everyday Champions Church’s bid for a Free School was rejected (Everyday Champions Church Free School bid rejected due to creationism). As the title of that blog article indicates, it was pretty much down to the ECC’s stance on creationism. The Church’s leader, Pastor Gareth Morgan, made it pretty clear how the school planned to present creationism:
“Creationism will be taught as the belief of the leadership of the school,” Pastor Morgan said. “It will not be taught exclusively in the sciences, for example. At the same time, evolution will be taught as a theory.”
According to the BHA’s report:
The school’s bid was rejected on Monday, and the reason is now known. In having their bid rejected, the Church was told by the Department for Education that ‘The Secretary of State carefully considered your application, the views and beliefs of your organisation as set out in your application, your responses at interview and information about your organisation available in the public domain. He was unable to accept that an organisation with creationist beliefs could prevent these views being reflected in the teaching in the school and in its other activities. It is his firm view that the teaching of creationist views as a potentially valid alternative theory is not acceptable in a 21st century state funded school.’ The Church is now planning to re-apply for 2013, and is adamant that they would only teach the story of creation in RE.
It’s a little disheartening to hear that this bunch who clearly read the much (mis-) translated writings of a gang of bronze-age nomads as the literal truth of a supernatural entity are going to make a second bid to be allowed to interfere with the education of children. Hopefully the next attempt won’t gain much more traction in the DfE.
Of course the wider issue here is that too many schools are faith schools of one kind or another. I strongly support the BHA’s campaign against faith schools, though I fear in the current reactionary and socially conservative political scene it’s going to be an uphill battle. See also the campaign to strengthen the prohibition of the teaching of creationism in science classes (Teach Evolution not Creationism). In my view, the place for creationism has its place in the curriculum: in Religious Education classes along with all the other creation myths that have been claimed over the millennia.
And as a postscript, the so-called Intelligent Design form of creationism is also not science. It can propose no hypotheses, makes no testable predictions, and merely claims to infer the existence of an unproven supernatural entity.