As a lifelong practising Anglican I have to admit that I was astounded by John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, who has proclaimed that negative discrimination should be used to ensure that not more than 10 per cent of the places at our church schools should go to Christian families.
The other 90 per cent would therefore, it is assumed, be offered to pupils of other faiths or, more likely, of none!
This is a very silly idea by, on the face of it, a very silly man.
Roman Catholic, Jewish and Muslim authorities are mystified by this idea. None of them would countenance it in their own communities – and rightly so!
Indeed a spokesman for the Association of Muslim Schools said: “The Church of England should be setting a lead not bending to what is very much a secularist agenda to try to get rid of faith schools.” There is not much chance of our setting any leads – not in the present climate in the Church of England!
So I ask, what is the Church of England thinking about if our church members cannot get their children into a church school because they are being discriminated against by the hierarchy of our own church?
I am convinced that it is all part of the downward trend in our church.
In fact, it is a church which is now very far from the position it held in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was referred to as the ‘Conservative Party at prayer’.
In the 2010s it is more like an organisation for any left wing group who wants to foist their silly ideas on a long suffering and silent laity.