Crippled by fear, UK schools strike events from history class
By now, we’ve all heard of cases where religion has tried to insert its alternative, often deleterious, truths into science classrooms and textbooks in the US. If this hasn’t confused students about the facts, it certainly has presented a perplexing message about how to uncover truths. On the side of evolution, we find an appeal to relentless observation and questioning, whereas on the side of creationism, we find an appeal to ignorance (ex: life is so complex, how can we possibly understand its origins without introducing a supernatural cause?). However, this time around, religion is rearing a different, quite divisive head in the UK.
Unlike what is transpiring in America, the topic of history is now the latest member of the list of things we can’t talk about civilly due to a dire need to appease all religions at once. According to Daily Mail, a recent government report uncovered a group of high-school teachers who instituted a self imposed ban on classroom discussions of the Holocaust of WWII, and the Crusades of the 11th Century. The decision was motivated out of fear that certain Muslim students would continue to, or begin expressing strong anti-Semitic views, potentially offending other students. These two topics were expressly omitted because they ‘would have challenged what was taught in some local mosques,’ said the report.
It’s never a surprise when religion interprets history in a way that portrays its faithful in a more favorable light than non-followers. Some would call it a perk for joining the club. But should a religious interpretation of events really override a secular discussion of the facts in a public classroom? For a school to stand down, sweeping these truly world-shaping events under the carpet, it does everyone an enormous disservice. Not only will these teens be more likely to harbor aggressive world views into adulthood, never quite working out their differences during their formative years, but being taught by a teacher who was afraid to share these important lessons will likely doom them, and perhaps many of us, to repeat history.