A legal requirement dating back 70 years for schools to include an act of worship during morning assemblies should be scrapped according to the Church of England’s Head of Education, because of the decline of Christianity within Britain.
The Right Reverend John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, said that compulsory collective worship was outdated, belonging more to the 1940s, and that such forced worship could put people off religion altogether. He added, however, that schools should still make time in the school day for periods of spiritual reflection that include the world’s major religions as well as Christianity.
The Rt. Rev John Pritchard said, “I think in the 1940s when all of this was put together it was possible to say that collective worship represented the mood of the nation but I don’t think that is where we are now. There is a sense in which a compulsion about religion does a disservice to that which I think is most important which is keeping the good news of the Christian faith alive in our culture.”
Chairman of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, agreed with Rev Pritchard, saying that compulsory school worship can be counter-productive.
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