Scotland Sex and sexuality Solas The Church in Scotland Videos

Fleabytes 31 – Religious Observance in Schools

This is the latest Solas ‘Fleabytes’ in which I discuss the alliance between the Church of Scotland and the Humanist Society, seeking to change Religious Observance to ‘Time for Reflection’. I argue for a third alternative – opt in Christian worship where our children can freely worship Christ and not be compelled into the new State worship.


  1. I appreciate that you are allowing comments here, thank you David.

    This clip started promisingly, and it was interesting to learn more about the history of Church schools. It had great potential to be informative and thought provoking.

    However, I was saddened to see it drop to the level of sarcastic comments and mockery of the attempts of the Church of Scotland and Humanist Society to find common ground and having digs at the secularists and liberals.

    I am not sure that this solas video will serve any purpose other than to have those who already agree with you shake their heads a bit more fervently and those who disagree with you to find yet more reason to distance themselves from the more conservative wing of the church.

    I appreciate this is an emotional topic for you and that you and many others feel strongly. Speaking as a “friend who disagrees”, I would suggest that the message might be lost in the method, certainly for those of us who are unsure of what we think on such issues (religious observance in schools). Speaking as someone who was unsure of where I stood on this issue, such videos serve the opposite purpose intended in that I now have much more sympathy for the C of S position than were this video presented in another way.

    God bless

    1. Sorry you did not like it! I’m afraid that dismissing it as being emotive and not really offering any reasons does not really help. I thought the mockery was minimal – at least compared with the Elijah and the Prophets of Baal – when he too had to challenge mixed worship! The idea of the Church of Scotland (committed to spreading the Gospel of Christ) and the Humanist Society (committed to preventing that spread) going on ‘a journey together’ to a common goal is so unbelievable as to almost be beyond mockery. But I guess you don’t see it that way….for me the removal of Christian prayers and worship is the removal of Christianity from our schools – and that is a disaster for Scotlands children.

      1. Hi David.

        What would have been more helpful, if you are genuinely looking for constructive comments, would have been to build on the interesting history and perhaps exploring why religious observance is in your view important and how it can work alongside the growing number of families who feel it is religious indoctrination, in a way that the time for reflection wouldn’t… without recourse to putting down others who disagree or who propose alternative routes.

        The focus on the humanists and Church of Scotland as a target is where you lost my support/ability to get alongside your argument. It only served to alienate humanists and their friends and divides folk from the Church of Scotland and their friends. Your name is being raised up in some circles as some form of messiah (or at least “truth speaker”) and in some other circles as a focus for anger (and divider of the Church). I’m pretty sure neither of these is what you intend, but launching into issues and having a go at other Christians (and non-Christians) will have that polarising effect on your audience and the press will continue to seek you out as a controversial figure with strong, vocal views.

        You have some interesting views and comments, and I enjoyed reading Dogrose also. It is good to have enlightened, adult conversation and debate among Christians and others without needing to ‘have a go’ at people whose views you disagree with I believe.

  2. David, I guess I’m one of the ‘head shakers’ referred to by the ‘Musing Monk’ so I’m glad you are speaking out, even if you sometimes feel like a lone voice. I’m not sure about your proposal to go along with an ‘opt in’ system in the hope that some might support true Christian worship and teaching. I suspect that few would take it up and in practical terms it might be unmanageable for schools to have lots of small groups doing their own thing. Interestingly, the situation in England seems to be different (for now at least). First, there are still lots of Church of England Primary Schools, that maintain overtly Christian acts of worship and secondly, even in ‘secular’ state schools there seem to be great opportunities for local Churches to go into schools with the Christian message. In our area (SW England) the local schools seem to positively welcome input from Evangelical Churches, who provide trusted people to take regular ‘assemblies’ and arrange for schools to visit local Churches. Recently, we had a Bible Exhibition (organised by Open Air Mission) in a Church Hall and 8 local schools took the trouble to visit the exhibition and have the Gospel story clearly explained. Staff and kids were very appreciative. It seems that as school staff have less awareness of Christianity and are less confident to speak about it, they turn to the local Churches to provide the Christian input, most of which is well received. Your ‘opt in’ proposal sounds more like creating a voluntary CU meeting, which children often fail to support because of peer pressure. I can just see it now,

    “Where are you going Angus?”
    “I’m off to the Christian act of worship”
    What on earth for?
    “My Mum and Dad have opted me in for it”
    “O great! Think I’ll go and do a bit of meditative thinking; quite fancy learning to levitate!”

    and so on!

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