(New Statesman) Theo Hobson–The problem with church schools? They run counter to Christian values

Would you pretend to be Jewish to secure some sort of advantage for yourself? Would you go even further, attending synagogue once a week for a full year, mouthing the ancient prayers, in order to get what you want?

You might think that such behaviour would be an insult to real Jews in the community.

This prompts the question: why is it socially acceptable for atheists and agnostics to feign their commitment to the Anglican faith to get their kids into a good state school? The answer is that the Church encourages them to do so. This kind of strategic middle-class church attendance produces high-achieving schools and swells congregations in many parishes. It suits the Church and it suits the sharp-elbowed ”“ a formidable alliance. The practice seems particularly widespread in London, where it is standard behaviour among well-heeled, well-informed parents. It’s an unwritten rule of middle-class family life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

5 comments on “(New Statesman) Theo Hobson–The problem with church schools? They run counter to Christian values

  1. magnolia says:

    would love to read it but subscription required.

  2. Terry Tee says:

    The link didn’t work.
    Last I had heard of Theo Hobson, having found the Church of England not liberal enough, he had moved to New York, TEC and GTS.

    I do not comment on purely Anglican issues and comment here because it applies to all Christian schools. This kind of Hobsonistic prattling is so irritating because it almost certainly reflects someone who knows little about school life. Go to the average church school in London and you will find kids from 20 or 30 or more ethnic groups, spread across the classes. In East London you will find Muslims and in North London you will find Jews. I once asked a head teacher (principal) if she found the middle class parents the hardest to deal with. No, she said, it was the ambitious working class parents. They were the ones pressuring her towards higher attainments for the school as a whole.

    My conclusion is this: church schools arouse such wrath in their critics precisely because they are a success. They give kids values. They give them confidence and self-respect. They bring about communal integration and cohesion. How dare they! This should be left to politicians and community leaders and government programmes. How dare they bring religion into values and stuff! Sigh. Invincible ignorance, in theological terms, I think.

    [Link fixed by Elf]

  3. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #2 Fr Tee

    “I do not comment on purely Anglican issues”

    Oh whyever not? Where’s the fun in that?

  4. Terry Tee says:

    PM you mean it (I think) essentially light-heartedly but at the risk of being ponderous (heaven forfend, etc) I do have real reasons:
    a) This site allows Anglicans a space for discussion about issues immediately affecting them. It needs to be a place where they can speak frankly without others butting in. It is also a site where Christians speak about Christian issues; in such more general matters, we can all share without hesitation.
    b) Roman Catholics, Orthodox and others are essentially guests. If you are a guest you do not comment on the politics of your host.
    c) Christians from other traditions commenting on Anglican issues can look as if they are proselytising, or guilty of Schadenfreude.
    d) People who live in glass houses etc …

  5. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #4 Thanks Fr Tee, and yes it was slightly light-hearted, and I never find you ponderous, only thoughtful.

    Those all sound very worthy reasons indeed. It is of course up to you, though sometimes an outside view of our denomination if not its antics is welcome.

    ‘O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us’

    You always remain a credit as an ambassador for your church and a model of the perfect guest, although after such a long time here, I rather see you as an ecumenical honorary Anglican, if there is such a thing.