As I minded my own business and went to collect the Twins Aculae from school this afternoon, some little chap or other pushed a high-gloss high-price leaflet into my hand. I confess to thinking that he didn't look like the sort to be pushing the next pizza place, so I read the thing.
What you see here is the front top portion of the 120gsm publication. Wow, I thought, a faith group getting militant. Someone doesn't like Catholics, I mused. Naughty Catholics, I pondered, if this is right. I also thought happy-happy joy-joy thoughts for the kind non-Catholic group who seemed concerned with the rights of my Anglican flock.
Brothers and sisters: all is not as it would seem. This publication is from Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign, and they have a website too: http://www.richmondinclusiveschools.org.uk/ Among the plaudits is just a small amount of anti-Catholic rhetoric and couched in the language of bile and stereotype (in my opinion). Me being me, I wanted to know who RISC were - a faith group? Some disgruntled parents who had failed by get baby Johnny admitted elsewhere? The leaflet and the website were no help whatsoever. The Humanist website was, however. They gave the game away, and blew the cover of our Humanist brothers and sisters who seemed at some pains to avoid their true identity.
Now - I have no real objection to inclusiveness in our faith schools. Actually, I favour it over a tight admission policy because I don't think that any facet of church life should be that of a private-member's club. What I absolutely do object to is to campaigns that fight for our children and for other faith groups as a subterfuge for the real agenda. To argue a case for what you do want as a front for what you don't want is underhand, in my opinion (and dishonest). Let us be clear - the BHA don't give a rat's derriere for me as an Anglican, any other Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Hindu or Sikh. To them we are all deluded.
For my part, I think that the debate should be open, that we have a meaningful debate about school admissions policies - but in the open, as conspicuous interested parties - not behind campaign slogans and some disingenuous text. There is an increasing sense in some Christian circles that loving our neighbour (you know, that key Christian tenet) doesn't work well with "our neighbour isn't allowed in our school though". There are Christians who will debate this issue without resort to glossy semantic prestidigitation. I confess to being even more disappointed in the Humanists than I was before - and I didn't think that was possible.
Give me a true atheist any day - at least we can talk properly.