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Multi-Cultural Schools and Religious Education

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The following short articles first appeared in the 'CRI Pack', January 1988, which makes them prophetic, given what radical Islam has been doing in the past decade. The position is now far worse than ever and UK Christians should heed the warnings. They ought also to read the paper titled 'The Muslim Threat' and any other similar literature. As our anonymous writer says, 'multi-cultural' really means 'Muslim'. Muslims are determined to gain the advantage in any way possible. Mosques open regularly in the UK - it is the hope of Muslims to make London the Islamic capitol of Europe (hence the application to build a ‘super-mosque’!)

We are taking the tiger by the tail by allowing Islam so much privilege in our land. One day that tiger will turn and maul us all. So what on earth are we doing by turning our schools over to 'multi-culture'? Whole schools are becoming Muslim enclaves and many Muslims are being taught they must fight for Islamic laws, even in host countries. If we do not take note of what is happening in other parts of the world - Africa in particular - then we deserve all we get!

In my home city the parents of a local primary school were outraged when the Head Teacher decided to cancel the usual Christmas play because he did not wish to offend the Muslims. Would Muslims do that for Christians? No! Think back to the Gulf War... when the padres of Western Forces were ordered to hide away their crosses, Bibles and anything else that was visually Christian, so that their Muslim 'hosts' would not be offended. Yet, Western Forces were willing to die to protect the freedom of these very same people. And the Muslims got away with it!!

We must always treat everybody as we would wish to be treated ourselves in matters of social civility. We must always seek to live together in harmony. But, the Bible tells us that we must live in peace and harmony as far as we are able. There is nothing Biblical about maintaining peace at any cost. Indeed, to do so would be to live as cowards and spiritual Judas'. We are handing over our Christian heritage on a plate to the heathen!

Do not be fooled by a picture of tiny tots playing in a school-yard. Forget the way that small children look so appealing. Yes, they are. But, when those children then go from school to a Muslim teaching centre, where they are crammed full of a false religion and anti-Christian values, it is time to stop the pretence. The aim of Islam is to convert all the world to Allah. If necessary they will use violence. Remember that, when comfortable chat turns to 'multi-cultural schools'.

Article 1: Anonymous

Note: The writer is a teacher in Bradford, UK, which is heavily populated by Muslims. She does not want to be identified for fear of reprisals. Such is the 'freedom' given by Muslims!

"I will try to give you some idea of the things which concern me and see what you make of it. I'll have to give you a bit of background from this area, but you'll find other UK cities are basically in the same predicament - which varies little, depending on the attitudes of the local councils.

I'm sure you've heard a lot about Brent and Haringey councils in the UK? (Have you heard that Brent tried to ban the Old Testament by saying it was 'racist'?). Bradford council must be about third on the 'scale of lunacy'... i.e. anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-Christianity, anti-conservative, anti-everything - including free speech! (Ed. The next sentence refers to a newspaper cutting: a report of someone being sacked from his job for challenging these forms of social censorship). This is one of the problems - do you speak out and hope and pray you don't lose your job, or not? I really don't know. I am sure you could think of Bible quotes for both sides of the argument.

I'm not sure how much you know about the 'Honeyford Affair'? (when a Headmistress was accused of making a racist remark in her school). Well, on the bottom-line, the argument that raged there was that the few white children in that school are being held back by Bradford's policy and by the 95% Asian intake there. (Ed. The white children, being English speakers, had to learn at the pace of the slowest Asian speaker. This was obviously detrimental to their education. Note how other countries expect children who do not speak the language to get on with it, with no special tuition given, nor allowances made for their lack of language skills). Before I say anything else, please note that I have nothing against any person because of race, colour, creed, etc. I don't care if they are little green men from Mars!

The school I teach in is 100% Asian and 99% Muslim. There are some lovely people there in the community. I have no problem with the fact they are Muslims (although it would be lovely if they were to see Jesus as more than just a minor prophet).

No, my problem (and that of many others) is the attitude of Christians to the rapid take-over of our land by Islam! And also the attitude of local councils toward the problem and the definite suppression and oppression of Christianity in our schools - but the upholding of Islam.

On the one hand I get agitated at the lack of response in the churches. On the other hand I struggle with my own attitudes, too. The church I attend is not exactly a dynamic stronghold of Christianity. There are a few Christians there, but most attend because it is the 'done thing'. However, that is where we have been led to worship (it is Church of England). Last year the vicar held an 'Education Sunday'. He had three teachers to speak for a few minutes each; something relevant to them - intending to enlighten and even stimulate prayerful interest. All three of us were from areas of high Muslim concentration. As soon as we had finished someone stood up and said Islam was none of our concern... even though we live very close to the Muslim area!

The Muslim Imams of Bradford claim that the city is intended to be the new capital of England when they turn the country into a Muslim state. The mosque in that part of Bradford is funded by Iran!

A few months ago, someone on the Deanery Synod decided that a good way to have 'dialogue' was to invite a Muslim city councillor to come and talk to the Synod about his faith. After all, he said, the Muslims are "so close" to Christianity that we could work together! That was bad enough... but then another member of the Synod (a retired head-teacher) suggested we should ask Muslims to be church-wardens, to show racial harmony!

In schools we are not allowed to be Christians. All mention of God, praise, worship, etc., has been removed from our songs. School assemblies are moral 'wish-wash'. Some schools now have separate assemblies for Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, etc., and they are led by their 'own'. That works quite well. At our school, assembly is either Muslim or 'moral'.

Religious education (R.E.) here is supposed to devote equal time to each faith. I realised that my own daughter has spent the equivalent of at least two years studying Islam, two terms on Hinduism and the rest on peace studies, health education and sex education. Hardly anything on Christianity - and she is only 12 now!

What really worries me is the attitude (Ostrich Syndrome) of Christians to the take-over by Islam and leftist policies. Where is the Church? (That is, 'Church' in the true sense of the word). How can we awaken people to the problem?"

Article 2: Geoffrey Thomas

"In 1979 I was involved in a work with children in Dorset, UK, as a missioner for an evangelistic society. Christian teachers in general disciplines who knew me and the work in which I was involved, suggested quite positively that I would find a rewarding career in teaching.

Circumstances which later developed indicated that it was right for me to pursue this idea and a door into training college was opened. I was accepted as a mature student to take a BEd degree as a secondary school teacher.

I elected to major in theology and religion: Christianity was the only thing I had a heart to teach and so I wanted to become a religious education teacher. My initial interview proved interesting, when a lecturer from the faculty (upon learning that I was an evangelical) informed me with a good deal of mirth that they had had evangelicals who had graduated, but who subsequently entered the profession not knowing what they believed anymore.

When I commenced the course I soon realised there was no sympathy amongst the lecturing staff toward the Christian religion as scripture presents it. My assertion that the Bible was the divinely inspired, inerrant word of God was regarded as antique. One lecturer said that belief of such character displayed, in 'Piagetian terms', a 'retarded emotional and cognitive development'! Many lively debates were encountered during lectures given by a tutor who had a doctorate in religious philosophy. Out of the 25 students, only a few claimed to be Christians. But, I received no support even from these - I suspect because they did not know basic Christian doctrine.

From the others I received resentment for 'spoiling' lectures. I realised how favoured I was to have been introduced to the Biblical theology of the Reformers as a new Believer years before! On a number of occasions I shook the tutor and openly made him speechless, when I stuck exclusively to the word of God. It needs no defender... it's like a lion - let it out and it will defend itself!* On another occasion the Faculty Head, an ordained clergyman, told me he didn't really understand Christianity until he had studied Buddhism! I did not comment... (*Ed. This is certainly true in some cases, but not all. It is not an excuse to remain quiet).

During one of my teaching practices the RE teacher, claiming to be an evangelical Christian, had me teaching his lessons on primitive animism from the life of Abraham! I was careful when I questioned him on this. I received the reply that "Christianity was about Jesus. The Old Testament served only as evidence of the evolution of religion to the purer form of that of Jesus". I remember thinking "Which Jesus is he talking about?" I couldn't recognise his Jesus as the Christ of God, the Almighty Creator and Redeemer (Genesis 1:1; 3:15: John 1:3; 1:29).

My final teaching practice was a nightmare. The Head of RE in the school, an ordained clergyman, was not teaching his pupils anything beyond infantile fairy tales, devoid of all Biblical content. As a teacher his standard was terrible. As an RE teacher, it was unforgivable! I got on with it, and didn't complain, assuring myself that it was not going to be like this when I was an RE teacher.

Back at college, somehow nothing I did was right and I formed the impression that behind the scenes a 'knife-job' was going on between the college Faculty head and the Head of RE at the school. Thus, it was not a surprise that I just avoided a 'fail' on my teaching assessment. The immediate implication was that I could not go on to complete the final year for the degree. My academic work encouraged me to look forward to a first class honours degree, but I was rejected by the college. I was the only student out of that year to gain a Distinction in Education and a Credit in my main subject in the Certificate of Education. (Ed. This used to precede the degree itself). Theoretically I had qualified - but practically one needs a degree, not a certificate, to get a job.

There was amazement amongst staff and students, but it seemed that adherence to Biblical Christianity was interpreted as intransigence. I therefore had to obtain my degree from the Open University. My experience at college had taught me that Christians are naive if they think that the State, committed as it is to multiculturalism, is going to preserve our Christian religion. It will present what suits the current political status-quo.

In my view comparative religion should not be taught in any circumstances to young people. Whilst holding out the promise of a 'broader understanding', it actually diminishes the basis upon which charity can evidence its true fruits.

As a mature student well taught in Biblical theology I found the situation impossible. What chance have youngsters got, ill-taught (or untaught) in the essentials of the Christian religion? They leave school unchallenged, with an inadequate religious education, positively damaged morally and spiritually. Christian parents are continually distressed by some of the ideas children bring home from RE lessons.

Any RE teacher who claims to be a Believer, will have a hard time justifying, from the Bible, his claims to believe, when he teaches Christianity alongside 'other' religions. The characteristics of the Bible are so unique as to totally eclipse everything else. Attempts to justify such a practice, at best, only gives evidence of the teacher's ignorance of the Bible, exposing a weakness in a profession of Christianity which, at most, amounts to hedonism... a nice, middle-class job with status and material benefits. But, the State won't worry, for it turned its back on God long ago!

John 14:6; 2 Corinthians 6:15-18"

Article 3: Barry Napier

What follows is a different approach. It is this writer's serious belief that Christianity should not be taught in State schools, for any reason. A qualified teacher, I taught RE only as a second subject, when seconded to the RE department.

To many Christian teachers of Religious Education (RE) their subject is 'vital'. But, vital to whom? I do not think the answer has been worked out yet.

Churches and Christian leaders all echo the idea that school RE is somehow important to children. How wrong they are! As we will come to see in the following argument, it is important ONLY if we follow Arminian principles (which are heretical: see articles on Arminianism).

(Some) RE teachers may sincerely want their pupils to 'learn about Jesus', but I suspect that perhaps some vested interests are at work here: basically, they want to keep their jobs! Maybe this is too cynical. But, in the light of Biblical teaching, such thoughts spring to mind, especially as RE teachers are not allowed to teach the Bible as it ought to be taught.

What many Christians, especially RE teachers, want, is to fulfil the old-style concept of the 'Christianisation' of youngsters. That means teaching the values and morals of Christianity, in the hope that this will somehow 'develop' into salvation! (Thus salvation is merely the other end of a supposed continuum, an act of works). My argument is simple: that such a concept, practised by a large number of RE teachers and even by missionaries, is unscriptural and of mythical importance. Instead, Christianisation tends to trivialise the Gospel that zealous Christian RE teachers claim to witness to.

I taught in a senior comprehensive school where the Head of RE did not believe in the truth of the Bible; she was not a Christian and told all her pupils that the Bible was just a collection of mythical stories. She placed great emphasis on 'multicultural' subjects. When she went on maternity leave, I was asked to take her place and teach RE for a year. But, what was the situation? All the pupils in the school were told the Bible was mythical! I had no choice: at the real risk of losing my job, I began to tell them the Head of RE was in error. I then started to teach them the reality of the Bible. When it came to the sections on 'other faiths', I left them with the clear understanding that ALL other faiths were false and that Roman Catholicism was heresy. I had to teach the elements of the 'other great religions', but always referred to them as cults, showing pupils the reasons why. Thus, I openly dismissed them as being wrong, according to scripture.

In the eyes of the education authority I should not have done any of that, but I was compelled to do so, as a Believer in Jesus Christ. My job security was of lesser importance. The extent of truth I taught contrasted sharply with the extent of unbelief shown by the Head of RE. As I said, I had no choice but to call her a liar (not actually – I did it by teaching the truth).

This example shows up the farce of RE teaching in State schools. She said one thing and I said another. By the time the woman returned to work I had already left the school, but I know from witnesses that she called me all manner of names, even to the children. Then she undid all my work and told them I was the liar and not her! Needless to say, if I had still been at that school on her return, I would have been kicked out of my job.

As a Christian teacher, I strongly suggest that RE should be removed from the school curriculum, unless it is dealt with in just a few lessons alongside other similar subjects, just as a broad indication of world thought. Even this would have its problems. As Geoff Thomas said, few RE teachers are Believers and those who are rarely know their Bibles. So, what is the point of it all?

At school assemblies head teachers would uphold Christian values and every pupil had to attend. This does more harm to Christianity than possibly any other activity, for, to the children, it is nothing more than mental torture. Thus, their idea of things Christian is to avoid it at all costs in the future - it's so boring and linked with compulsion! Assemblies can be led by Believers or (bored) non-Believers, including those of 'other faiths'. What a nonsense this makes of Christianity and its claim to be unique and the Only True Faith. Instead, Islam is given an honoured place.

RE is usually taught by unbelievers, who do not pretend to be Christians or to believe the Bible. Inevitably, this leads to prejudiced teaching. It is relatively easy to bend the facts to suit our own particular beliefs, especially where children are concerned. Thus, although I left my pupils in no doubt whatever concerning the truth of scripture and the way to salvation, I always told them that the choice (to believe what I said or not) was theirs and that they would have to discover the reality of what was said for themselves. In that way I was not abusing my power over their minds. (Unfortunately, some Christian RE teachers think that a school is a 'happy hunting ground' where they can manipulate the minds of children so that they favour Christianity... this is not scriptural or ethical, but is unfettered Arminianism).

It would surprise readers to learn that even young children are capable of scoffing at the Gospel and at teachers who believe in it. Already, they have the basic arguments in their heads that are so common in the world at large. What this shows is the effect of TV, and other forces in society, on children's' minds. It also shows that even at such a young age, children are sinners with the ability of rejecting the Gospel.

Walk into many RE classes and you will hear teachers deriding scripture. Some of them are way out of line, calling the Bible 'junk' and 'rubbish'. Instead, they tend toward 'peace studies' (politics by another name!), ignoring Biblical precepts.

Some teachers, though, have more subtle ways of destroying the credibility of scripture. For example, all a teacher has to do is to raise his eyebrows at the right juncture in his lesson. Or, he could shrug his shoulders, walk away and mutter "Well... that's what they say, anyway...". Or, he can use any number of cleverly worked-out ploys and psychological tricks. All of this is as easy as dropping eggs – and actually happens! Whilst older pupils, such as sixth-formers, are not so easily duped, they are still children; all that changes is the method the teacher uses to manipulate their thoughts.

So, let RE be taken from the curriculum, whether it deals with Christianity or Islam. Christianity is a living faith, not a 'subject'. We cannot teach unbelievers to have a relationship with God: they either have one, or they do not (though this mentality is behind the Alpha course!). It cannot be taught like geography! Once we 'teach' Christianity descriptively, we have already lost our way and it all becomes meaningless. Christianity is then just one 'subject' choice out of many and invariably it is taught as being irrelevant to our modern world.

In all honesty I cannot see what RE is supposed to be all about! Christianity takes up very little teaching time, compared with 'other great religions'; more enthusiasm is given to Islam than to what Christ said. Worse, the real Gospel cannot be taught.

It is argued that school may be the only place where they will ever learn what the Bible says and it is an opportunity for Christian teachers to witness. As we have seen, these arguments are not founded on reality and owe their existence to theological error. Once again, it must be said that most RE teachers are unbelievers. According to scripture they cannot teach the Bible or its truths. Most of them have an active hatred for the Bible, thus they will turn the children's' minds away from truth, rather than towards it.

What of Christian RE teachers? Their position is just as bad. One Head of RE told me he dare not teach scripture as authentic or as superior, for fear of losing his job. In that case, he is actively opposing the Lord and is an enemy of Christ. It is true that he also runs a lunch-time Christian meeting for pupils and staff... but this does not vindicate the fact that for the whole of his working day he refutes Christian truth by his silence or by his teaching of 'other religions'. The children who attend his lunch-time sessions must surely be very confused, when the opposite is taught during the day!

How can a Christian teacher possibly teach all religions as being equal? Frankly, I would feel such a fire of indignation in my soul that I would burst aflame if I stayed quiet! To children, subtle hints are not enough - they only learn in terms of black and white and what they are expressly taught. Also, God demands something more from the Christian... He can never accept a Believer preaching what amounts to 'another gospel' and the lies of false religions, for whatever reason. There is no excuse.

Another argument is that the day should start with prayer. Yet, the Bible tells us that God does not listen to the prayers of the ungodly, whether they are RE teachers or head teachers or children. That makes the daily prayers worthless.

But, the biggest criticism I have is found at the very core of the Gospel. It is this: unless a person is a Christian, he or she cannot understand the Bible or Christianity. We can 'teach' children all day and every day about Christianity! But, that will not save them or even make them 'interested' in the Gospel. It is acknowledged that those most difficult to reach with the Gospel are those who have been 'Christianised'. That is, RE teachers make a rod for the backs of evangelists and preachers.

Possibly, some pupils will retain a semblance of Christian values in later life, although this appears to be a vain hope if they are not from Christian families. Even if Christian values are lived out, they are not substitutes for, or even forerunners to, salvation. Christianity is NOT A MERE SUBJECT... it is a personal relationship with a Holy God. It is a relationship that He initiates and brings to fruition. No amount of RE work will do that. But, true prayer and preaching will, for that is the way ordained by God – but is forbidden by schools.

By all means invite a true Christian to speak to pupils... but care must be taken, for not all Christians know what they are doing and not all are called by God to do it. Far better to leave Gospel preaching to those called by God outside the school and to Believers who will witness as they are led. Or, the Christian teacher can teach the Gospel in special lunch-time meetings allowed by the authorities. Then, it is not a 'subject' but a properly presented act of witness. I foresee, however, a clamp-down on this activity. (2010 note: This has come to pass, as recent court cases prove. 2016 note: the situation is now even worse).

RE is not a real 'subject' in the educational sense of the word. Real education allows learners to discover the truth from a set of unbiased portions of knowledge. But a Christian cannot allow this to occur. He cannot teach Islam, for example, as being 'equal' to Christianity, and leave it up to the children (or even adults) to somehow discover which one is correct. Unbelieving teachers will show their favour for particular religions or for atheism, etc. There is no way that Christianity can come off best in any of these situations.

Christianity only becomes 'educational' when it is taught by a Christian teacher called by God to teach doctrine to fellow Believers. The Christian Bible teacher is NOT the same as a Christian RE teacher. The first is called of God to an office, being given certain spiritual gifts for that office. The other is not necessarily gifted and he has no spiritual office to perform - his job is secular, even if he teaches in a Christian school. Unless he is called to preach by God and unless he preaches without restraint, he is not doing God's work. Yet, so many Christian RE teachers honestly believe they are about God's work! But, they are not... let me repeat the reasons why:

  1. A man called of God to be a preacher will also be given gifts pertinent to that office. He must preach whenever God prompts and to whoever God wishes to hear the gospel. Similarly for the Bible-teacher... his is an office supported by spiritual gifts and the teacher must teach as God leads, no matter what the consequences.

  2. An RE teacher may, or may not, be called of God to a teaching office. He may, or may not, have spiritual gifts for teaching God’s word. Even if he has, he is compelled by his office and gifts to teach frankly and utterly what God wants him to say, when He wants him to say it. And even assuming that he has both office and gifts - his role as RE teacher is totally different.

  3. The RE teacher 'teaches' outside the sphere of authority given by God. That is, he teaches outside the local church under the guidelines given by unbelieving authorities. He also teaches those who are not of God, i.e. unsaved children. Therefore, his work cannot be called 'of God', because it is not executed according to the calling of God in scripture. It is possible that he is called by God to evangelise children, but even then he cannot do God's will, for he teaches false faiths also, and, anyway, is prevented from teaching about Jesus!

To teach scripture to those who are not interested or who are not Believers is nonsense and a waste of time. Always? Yes! Unless a man is called of God to teach the untainted truth, then he has no right whatever to teach scripture. School RE teaching is concerned with teaching about scripture and not the Gospel as such. Therefore, it is not a Christian practice, but is a secular job. Let local churches take over. Give responsibility back to those who will take it - local Christians who are not controlled by State secular demands.

The only time a Christian RE teacher can honestly claim to be doing God's work is when he knows he has been called specifically to the job and when he can teach the true Faith without being gagged AND when he is not bound to teach other faiths on equal terms.

What Christian RE teachers think they are doing is not what actually happens. The nation is already heathen and State laws will shift toward removal of Christianity from the curriculum - Muslims will see to that! If we wait until that day comes and meanwhile try to foist Christianity onto children by law, we make that final day worse.

Remember, the laws we presently use to oust Islam will soon be used by Muslims to oust Christianity! Far better to remove Christianity (and all other religions) from the curriculum as a planned strategy, giving reasons, rather than as a last-minute act of desperation. Christianity is not an educational tool. Let us stop being reactive and let us preach the Gospel as it ought to be done.

© June 1994

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