It’s not meant like that, but I can’t help thinking Karen Armstrong’s invocations of compassion are an effective, and highly sophisticated riposte, to the potentially arid atheism of Dawkins. Watch and be inspired, whether you have religious faith or not.
In a pluralist, multi-cultural society, the state should promote tolerance and recognition of different values and beliefs. Given the dangers of segregation and the importance of community cohesion we need schools that welcome all and are committed to non-discrimination. Schools should promote a culture of questioning, of knowledge, of respect and of exploration of values, where students develop their own identities and sense of place in the world. We believe all state-funded schools should:
1. Operate admissions policies that take no account of pupilsâ€™ â€“ or their parentsâ€™ â€“ religion or beliefs.
2. Operate recruitment and employment policies that do not discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief.
3. Follow an objective, fair and balanced syllabus for education about religious and non-religious beliefs â€“ whether determined by their local authority or by any future national syllabus or curriculum for RE.
4. Be made accountable under a single inspection regime for RE, Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship.
5. Provide their pupils with inclusive, inspiring and stimulating assemblies in place of compulsory acts of worship.
And we commit to work with each other locally and nationally to turn public support for inclusive education into a campaign for reform that the government cannot ignore.