Cristina Odone was very annoyed a couple of weeks ago that religions she takes to be inferior in some unspecified way are sometimes counted as Big Serious Grown-up religions like Catholicism.
Saint Morwenna, who in the 6th century built a church on a cliff with her bare hands, must be turning in her grave. Her beloved Cornwall, the last redoubt of Celtic Christians, is to teach witchcraft and Druidry as part of RE. The county council regards her religion (and that of other Cornish saints such as Piran and Petroc) as no better than paganism.
And? So what? If that’s true (which I doubt), what of it? Why shouldn’t Religious Education simply teach about all religions (or as many as there is time for in the curriculum) impartially? The county council is a branch of government, and as such, ought to be secular. The county council isn’t a branch of the Church of England…much less of Odone’s favored religion.
When the BBC’s The Big Questions asked me to join its panel of religious commentators two years ago, I was taken aback to find it included a Druid. Emma Restall Orr rabbited on inoffensively about mother nature, but I was shocked that her platitudes were given the status of religious belief by the programme makers. Ms Restall Orr exults in her website that the media has stopped seeing Druidism “as a game” and now invites her on serious faith and ethics programmes from ITV’s Ultimate Questions to Radio 4’s The Moral Maze and Sunday Programme.
Well I’m shocked that Odone’s platitudes are given the status of serious thinking worth a spot in major media. Are Catholic platitudes really better (or more serious) platitudes than Druid platitudes? Odone gets invited on “serious faith and ethics programmes” even though she’s confused enough to think that “faith and ethics” make a natural and sensible pair, so why shouldn’t Orr be likewise?