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Free Bus Service Only for Students Who Can “Prove” Their Religion

Free Bus Service Only for Students Who Can “Prove” Their Religion

Students attending parochial schools in Flintshire County, Wales may want to head to the local church to get a note from the pastor “proving” their religion. Without it or a baptismal certificate, they may be banned from using the free bus service provided by the school. The county council has said that “they will no longer provide free denominational transport for pupils whose admission is not based on faith grounds” (secularism.org).

School districts throughout England and Wales have recently cut back on free services in order to save money, but this new mandate specifically targets non-religious students. Stephen Evans, a member of the National Secular Society, compares the bus situation to racism:

“This kind of apartheid home to school transport arrangement is completely unacceptable. It will result in children who live next door to each other, and travel to the same school–being treated unequally, purely on the basis of their parents’ religious beliefs” (secularism.org).

Worldwide discrimination against atheists

This is another example of growing discrimination against non-religious, atheists and agnostic people. Americans have been especially vocal about perceived discrimination against non-religious people and have instigated lawsuits relating to the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance in schools.

The organization of the Boy Scouts of America, along with drawing negative press for its anti-gay philosophy, has also come under fire for not allowing atheists as members. This requirement for membership led to the Boy Scouts being removed from public schools and other government-funded entities in 2005.

Blatant discrimination against atheists can also be found in the constitutions of seven states. Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas all ban atheists from holding public office.

In some countries, such as Iran, atheists are not recognized as having legal status. In Algeria, atheist or agnostic men cannot marry Muslim women.

How to support equal rights for atheists

How can you support equal rights for atheists, agnostics, and non-religious people? First, know their rights. It’s illegal to make atheists swear religious oaths when testifying in court, and to prevent students in public schools from viewing atheist and agnostic websites. If an act would be discriminatory if it was done to a Christian, it’s discriminatory to do it to an atheist (alternet.org).

There are many foundations and organizations, including the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and National Center for Science Education, that fight against discrimination. Joining them or identifying ways to address the issue directly in your community is the best way to ensure that atheists have as much right to their beliefs as anyone who goes to church every Sunday.

 

Related Stories:

Atheist Group Triumphs in Religious Discrimination Case

A Muslim or Atheist President? Not Likely Says New Poll

Atheist Jailed in Indonesia Over Facebook Posts

 

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132 comments

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2:58PM PDT on Mar 23, 2013

Not very Christian of these people.

5:47PM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

Oh come on, how many atheist parents are sending their kids to parochial schools?

9:52AM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

**facepalm** Why are atheists demonized?

5:47AM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Well said, Christine.

5:46AM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

very sad

6:57PM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

more inequality on the bus? i thought rosa park solved that issue.

11:01AM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

David C. You know bloody well that "no schools, nor school buses" is a stupid thing to say and was in no way implied by my posting. Since when is education regulated by religion? Unfortunately, all too often - eg Islamic religious schools and Christian schools that teach superstition instead of exploration. The two must be separate entities whether the schools are private or public. Religion has no place in education. Learn religion at home and at church if that is one's desire. It is divisive and does not belong in the modern world. Speaking of the minds of the ignorant, what else would one call a person who believes in talking snakes and burning bushes? I know of a lady in my town who told her son-in law she couldn't understand why the astronauts couldn't see heaven. Now THAT is ignorant.

5:52AM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

//Students attending parochial schools in Flintshire County//

Parochial=Of or relating to a church parish.

I don't see the problem with proving religion to go to a RELIGIOUS SCHOOL. If you don't have religion, what the heck are you even doing at a Christian school?

Go to public school. I hear they have buses, too!

7:09PM PDT on Mar 15, 2013

Gee...I was baptised and confirmed an Episcopalian...my grandmother took me to church and good women and men helped me learn religion..but when push came to shove, my grandmother would tell me to have faith,....and she did not mean to have faith in the church or the pastor etc.
The church says you have no religious connections if you do not go to church every Sunday or if you move if you do not report in to the church of your faith and say, here I am....HOWEVER, I NEVER LOST FAITH IN GOD BUT I CERTAINLY ALONG THE WAY LOST ALL FAITH IN HUMAN KIND.......IN EVERY WAY. SO I GUESS WHEN I CHECK BACK IN TO MY CHURCH THAT I WAS RAISED IN WHO PREFERS TO CALL ME DIRTY I SHOULD MAKE THEM EMBARRASSED AT CALLING THEM DIRTY ALSO, WITH EVERY CHURCH COMES DIRTY SECRETS. I WIN.

5:50PM PDT on Mar 15, 2013

This is hard to understand. Following David's post, The school would be free BUT if the bus were provided by the local parish, then it follows that those parishioners are paying for it. Excluding children from non parishioners ( I'm trying to figure this out) makes the school privatized in some way since it would be made cheaper, transportation wise, for some children and more expensive for others. well, maybe parents who are non parishioners can be asked to chip in a reasonable fee. Excluding the rest of the children doesn't look very "Christian" to me. Jesus said that heavens belongs to ALL of them.

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