British children are not being taught the true meaning of Christmas because teachers of too scared of “offending” other faiths, a BBC presenter has claimed. Roger Bolton, who presents the Radio 4 programme Feedback, also added that some atheist teachers are “unsympathetic to religious education”.
The result is that many British students are not learning that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, and also means that they cannot recognise the full meaning of religious imagery in literature and art.
In an article reported in the Daily Mail, Mr Bolton, who previously presented Radio 4’s main religious affairs programme, added that the Band Aid song ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ would be better renamed ‘Do They Know What Christmas Is?’
He said: “Older readers might think this is a redundant question, but I’m afraid it’s not.
“In some schools in this country, little is taught about the true meaning of Christmas, possibly because secular staff are unsympathetic to religious education or because of the fear of offending those of other faiths.”
He added that broadcasters are not doing enough to remedy this problem, with hardly any children’s programmes dealing with faith issues.
Quoting a survey by the Bible Society, Mr Bolton said that a quarter of British children had “never read, seen or heard of Noah’s Ark,” while another quarter knew nothing of the Nativity and 43 percent had never heard of the Crucifixion.
He wrote: “Does this matter? I think it does, for both cultural and communal reasons.
“The United Kingdom cannot be understood without appreciating the role Christian culture has played in its development, from the introduction of the parish system to the replacement of a monarch (James II) because he was a Roman Catholic.
“In the time of Henry VIII what one believed about the doctrine of ‘transubstantiation’ was literally a matter of life and death. Our 17th-century Civil War was fought in large part over the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings.
“Without a knowledge of Christianity, what will our schoolchildren make of much of our finest literature and drama, filled as it is with Christian imagery? Or much of the finest European art?”
He also said it was “vital” that children of other faiths learn the true meaning of Christmas, or else “how can they begin to integrate into our country if they know little of the faith still at its heart?”
“Our roots, however, are in Christianity, like the UK as a whole, and while I will certainly buy the new Band Aid 30 single, Do They Know It’s Christmas? I also want all our children to know what Christmas really means,” he added.