Monday, December 10, 2007

Believe what you are told

The state-appointed guardian of happy thoughts, Trevor Phillips, has issued a diktat from inside the walls of his Ministry of Harmony, which says that the Nativity should performed in schools.

Phillips accused schools not putting on nativity plays of "robbing their children of really being part of what it is to be British". Utter codswallop, and an arrogant presumption that he can dictate what he thinks are British values. Normally, as a Nu-Lab creature, Phillips is nailed to the right-wing cross of politically correctness for his views, but since this is traditional Telegraph reader territory he will be praised by the the Tory religious fundies (and probably the BNP too, 'cos he used the word 'British').

For most people, Christmas has become divorced from religion and has become a cultural rather than religious event. There's no harm in society or in education in recognising the origin of Christmas, and believe it or not, we can all enjoy Christmas without being forced to prostrate ourselves before the Christmas Taliban.

Nativity plays themselves have little moral meaning other than 'believe in this fairy tale' and most parents only enjoy them just because their own little cherub is playing a shepherd or an angel. Personally, I don't think the Nativity is very entertaining either (unless they make a version with Samuel L Jackson and a cool soundtrack).

Religion shouldn't be shoved down children's throats, particularly by state decree, and especially not at the expense of the taxpayer. If parents specifically want their children to participate in the Nativity, then church, not school, should be the place to do it.

God knows the church could do with the bums on seats.

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