I recently shared some brief thoughts about sectarian education ("faith schools") in the UK. I've now learned of a follow-up to the hugely popular atheist bus campaign.
The British Humanist Association is launching the "Atheist Billboard Campaign". An interesting twist is that (contrary to what many kneejerk commentators are likely to declare), the billboards do not promote atheism at all.
Accompanying a picture of two unbearably cute kids jumping joyfully (left) is the text:
"Please don't label me. Let me grow up and choose for myself."
Another version (right) says:
"No faith schools. Yes you can donate today."
Yes, I suppose "No faith schools" may sound, to some ears, like a promotion of atheism, or at least an attack on religion. It's not - and the campaign is clear in that it's against sectarianism, not against religion in general. However you feel about it, the idea appears to enjoy popular support. A poll by Accord reports that 57% of people in the UK feel that faith schools undermine community cohesion. A four-year-old poll reported in the Guardian reports '64% agreeing that "the government should not be funding faith schools of any kind".'
Now look at the text in the background of the ad (it's clearest in the big version, which I've included at the bottom of this post). Clearly among the labels that we should avoid (according to the ad) are "agnostic child", "atheist child", and "humanist child".
If you agree with this message - that children should not be labelled according to the beliefs of their parents, and that faith schools should not be publicly funded, go donate to the campaign here or here. If you disagree, or aren't sure, go learn more.
And, as always, please let me know what you think.