Friday, February 13, 2009

Freedom of Speech... (Update)

ekklesia have an interesting perspective on the Jasmine case I mentioned yesterday.

First off, its almost as if the Head had read my post:
Mr Read, the headteacher, explained: "We have 271 children in our school from a diversity of backgrounds... We encourage children to discuss their beliefs. What we do not condone is one child frightening a six-year-old with the prospect of 'going to hell' if she does not believe in God."

He added: "“We are a very, very open school and are in no way intimidating people. Unfortunately the context of the conversation between the two girls had a religious nature, but it could have been over any issue. When one pupil is upset by another and is crying, we take action.

“In absolutely no way are we trying to suppress discussion or make it difficult for pupils to discuss or express faith.
We then have a very astute observation from Simon Barrow of ekklesia:
"Before shouting 'persecution' Christians need to reflect much more seriously on how they would feel if their children received similar treatment by non-believers or those of other faiths, and the school tolerated it.

"The issue here seems to be that one young child frightened another. It is surely right that behaviour of this kind is respectfully challenged. I am sure the great majority of Christian parents will want to encourage children to speak with love and respect, rather than condemnation, towards others."
Its all about love and respect... not condemnation!

It would appear that the media isn't picking up on the fact Jasmine was wrong... but running with a "persecution" story to get people all excited and angry. Which, in turn, questions the ideals of free speech. It can only truly work if we are presented with all the facts and can debate them in a respectful manner.

Are we armed with all the facts?

I trust the BBC. I don't always like or get what they do... but I do trust their news service. Their news did report the "going to hell" comment. What worries me is that, according to this press release from ekklesia, not all news sources are making mention of what is the crux of the matter.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the 'love and respect...not condemnation' angle of this post. I had a read of the Jasmine story (which completely bypassed me this week!) and it did strike me as a media furore of something that the school were dealing with in a simple manner. Of course no school will tolerate one child frightening another. It deserves to be respectfully addressed. The idea of a little one talking about another 'going to hell' does jar with me, possibly regurgitating a 'hellfire and brimstone' sermon she may have heard...but that's another topic. I am the co-ordinator of Religious Education in my school (which is a Christian Ethos school and currently emphasises Christianity above all else), and I am currently redeveloping the curriculum to teach acceptance and respect of all religions as we are running the risk of the children in our school doing a similar thing to the Jasmine case, and not understanding that other people do not believe the same as us. Surely all children should be taught to accept that and show just as much love and respect as we would a fellow Christian. (Sorry for the rambling comment!!)


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