Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Godly Quirk



Here’s something I am confused about as an adult – why, when I was young and at school, did I have to attend church? Why was it that we sang hymns at school assemblies? Why was my school and it’s teachers allowed to force upon me and my class mates their religion?

I don’t have an answer for this. It came out in conversation when I pointed out my amazement that in Canada Connie’s mother used to sing the British National Anthem (God Save the Queen) before each day’s lessons. It was changed to “O Canada” in 1980 officially. I remarked that this was strangely bewildering for someone who went to school in the UK and didn’t hear the national anthem outside of football matches. Then, during the conversation, I idly said that we’d had to go to church, and she was equally gobsmacked.

I hadn’t actually thought about it until that point. I hated going to church, especially at High School (yes, we went until I was 17 years old). I am unsure why it was set up this way, for not only is my school quite far from a church, and a rather ungodly place at the best of times, we were a nondenominational school – a non-faith school. At least that was the understanding, but the more I think about it the less it seems likely in actuality. I had friends of all faiths – Jehovah’s Witness, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sheikh all being allowed to miss the church services, but as a white Scottish male I was forced to go (until I was in S4, and then instead I snuck home and played Rollercoaster Tycoon for five hours straight).

It is a very strange thing to have happen. Why was it allowed? Does it still happen? My sources tell me that it does.

The attempted indoctrination that was imposed upon me via my schools didn’t serve to activate any faith in me. If I were to say anything, it might have actually made me more adverse to it all. I don’t have faith – I have said in the past I envy someone who does. The really strange thing about all this is that it was mandatory – I wasn’t allowed to get out of it. I had to go along, at least for a while, and if I didn’t go I’d probably have been given into trouble for having been found out. I skipped it a few times in my later years at school for Dreamcast or a famous long walk to Shawlands for no good reason.

It is a strange thing to think about now – and one I am uncertain as to why it happened, or why it still happens. Our education system is utterly devoid of religion in many places. Does this happen in all schools in Scotland?

Update: After some rubbish Googling, I finally found some sources telling me that other people are annoyed by this. Click here for information on parent's rights.

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