|From:||Roger Green, Press Officer, Devon Humanists [devonhumanists.org.uk] 07/06/06|
We should remember that "assemblies" is the conventional term for what in law is called a "daily act of collective worship". In a government DfE circular sent to schools in 1994 worship was defined as "veneration of a divine being". As such assemblies are simply acts of indoctrination, which is not the same as education and schools should have nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Before the 1870 education act, which provided schools for the "labouring poor" in England and Wales, the religious establishment was greatly troubled by their loss of place, status and influence because of the massive 18th century population movements from the country to the cities. Many believers saw schools as a way of compensating for that loss.
In our own time, when we continue to see a decline in traditional belief and practice we may again expect the churches to try and stop the fallout by trying to strengthen their access to children through their schools. Meanwhile parents should use their right to withdraw their children from school worship.
If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature is made for their destruction.
Percy Bysshe Shelley