Atheist teacher fired, refused to conduct religious assembly
A UK atheist teacher has been fired for refusing to organize religious assemblies. From the article:
An atheist teacher has been fired from a state school because he asked not to be involved in organising religious assemblies. The school said it respected his atheist beliefs, and he was free to exercise those beliefs in his own time, but he cannot pick and chose which school activities he will get involved in.
A statement by the teacher, released through his lawyer, said it was “his sincere belief that there is no such thing as God, and that he opposes all forms of organised religion. He cannot, in all conscience, be involved in an activity that promotes religion, much less an act of ‘worship’. He simply asked his employer to accommodate his sincere beliefs, and is disappointed that this has resulted in his dismissal.”
While the school “respects” atheist beliefs, they feel those beliefs shouldn’t interfere with teacher duties.
The Religious Alliance has supported the teacher’s dismissal. A spokesman said: “When you are paid to do a job by the state, you have to follow the state’s rules. Parliament passed the law that requires religious assemblies in schools and a teacher shouldn’t be allowed to opt out just because he is an atheist. What’s next? Will an atheist teacher be allowed to refuse to teach a child maths, just because that child is religious?”
But the British Atheist Council has hit out at the teacher’s dismissal as “an appalling attack on freedom of conscience”. A spokeswoman said: “There were plenty of teachers at the school willing to provide a religious assembly for pupils, no assembly would have been cancelled just because this one teacher asked not to be involved. To force this teacher out of his career is a huge over reaction – and speaks of something deeper, an anti-atheist undercurrent.”
*Update* I was evidently incorrect in assuming everyone would read the linked article. With this story, it’s important to read the link to truly find the incongruent element in this story. My mistake. Sorry.