People may have seen various stories in The Telegraph, The Express and so forth about how children are, apparently, to be forbidden by schools from wearing crosses while symbols of other faiths are to be permitted.
I was going to write something about this, but I thought something didn’t quite ring true, and I wanted to check before I made a complete fool of myself (I do try to check things now and again, not that it always stops me making a fool of myself, of course). In this case, I’m glad I did, because an excellent piece by Five Chinese Crackers confirmed my suspicions. Essentially, according to 5CC, someone’s got hold of a draft version of guidance (not instructions, but guidance) for schools on what to do about requiring pupils to remove items of jewellery and the like for things like PE lessons.
The overall line, as far as I can see, is that there are some items that are, for members of some faiths, that it’s compulsory to wear at all times, so obviously you don’t tell the children to remove those. There are some other items, like crucifixes, that you’re not required to wear but which you obviously wouldn’t want to ask someone to remove without good reason — small gold crucifixes are not infrequently presented by a relative to young teenage girls on the occasion of their First Communion or Confirmation, which is an important rite of passage if you believe in such things, or left to them as a keepsake by a grandmother in her will. Obviously you don’t have to wear one, any more than a woman has to wear her wedding ring at all times, but it’s the sort of thing that she’ll probably want to wear unless there’s a good reason why she shouldn’t. I understand that perfectly well about crucifixes — it’s what my late wife felt about the crucifix she was given when she made her First Communion; she didn’t think God was particularly bothered about whether she wore it or not, but wasn’t just an ordinary item of jewellery like one of her other necklaces that she’d wear or not as she felt like it — as I think will most people.
Well, what seems to have happened is that whoever wrote this draft paper understood it equally well, and made the mistake of thinking his or her readers would understand it, too. So the author made the mistake, in trying to explain that there are equivalent items in non-Christian religions about which people feel the same way, of taking it for granted that he or she wouldn’t have to explain all this about crosses.
Result: someone from the Express gets hold of the draft paper — which is now being rewritten, it seems, just to spell it out for the hard of thinking that, of course, this applies to Christian symbols, too — and deliberately gets it back to front.
Well worth reading, 5CCs article.