The Alliance Defending Freedom in the United Kingdom says a new bill that would force schools in Wales to teach humanism gives the state control of a child’s education.
According to The Christian Post, the bill, called the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill, “transfer(s) the right of parents to decide their child’s best interests about sex and religious education to the State,” said Elizabeth Francis, a legal officer for human rights group Alliance Defending Freedom.
Francis wrote in a column for The Conservative Woman that the bill doesn’t allow “the previous statutory right” of parents to choose to keep their child from certain classes.
“The changes should concern parents who believe that they should have the primary authority to make decisions about their child’s education and best interests, especially in relation to mature or sexual content,” she said.
The bill changes the term “religious education” to “religion, values, and ethics” and includes the study of humanism alongside Christianity.
“The Welsh Government ignored two public consultations which clearly opposed these changes,” the Institute’s Wales Officer, Gareth Edwards, said. “In the last census only 815 people said they were humanists in the whole of Wales. Why have they been handed such influence over the content of religious teaching in schools?”
However, the group that supported the bill, Wales Humanists, said they are glad to see the study of humanism part of the curriculum.
“We are absolutely delighted that the Senedd has passed this bill and that, after many years of campaigning by Wales Humanists, humanism will be put on an equal footing with religions throughout the curriculum,” Kathy Riddick of Wales Humanists said in a statement. “This is a huge success for inclusive education and Wales is very much leading the way. We congratulate the Government for its achievement.”
A previous proposal in the bill would have given atheists a veto over any religious instruction in school. That clause was dropped from the approved bill.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.