John was very pleased with his new post as teacher of history at Adendale High; he considered it just reward for all the effort he had applied to achieving a first class honours degree in history, and following this outstanding effort up with a top class post graduate teaching degree.
The new post, however, came with a caveat; the school needed a religious education teacher. John could take the position of history teacher so long as he also accepted the post of religious education teacher. In fact, there was no religious education teacher post vacant, it just happens to be the case that at Adendale High none of the staff agreed with the government edict that every school must provide religious education of a broadly Christian nature. This has led to the concept that the new boy/girl always gets the job, the job no one else wants. Gill Smith was delighted with the new appointment; she had held the hot potato now for eighteen months and was mightily relieved to be able to pass it on. John would be the new holder of this post until he could also pass it down to the next new employee, whenever that might be.
John was not overly enthralled about this prospect, but it came with the opportunity to accept his first post as a history teacher. John accepted. To his headmaster John said, “I have no training in RE or any knowledge of scripture save what my parents have told me”. Brian replied, “that’s not really a problem, the lesson plans around RE are quite loose; start off by telling the children what you know, then Gill will slowly brief you with the agreed structure for the year as the year progresses. That way you can concentrate your efforts on history. We’re not really that concerned about RE; we just have to tick the government box that says we have made it available.”
John thinks, “That’s doable, I can handle that until a new employee comes along”. On the day of the first RE lesson John decides to explain to the class what he knows of God, Jesus and salvation as relayed to him by his parents.
John was instantly suspended from his post and in the tribunal that followed it was recommended that John be barred from the teaching profession and advised to seek psychiatric help.
John’s replacement, Jim, gave his first RE lesson, it went like this:
Jim now enjoys a prosperous and promising career as a top class RE teacher.
The point being made:
John’s belief, given to him by his parents, is every bit as legitimate as Jim’s. There were hundreds of thousands of people in Europe who held this worldview in the 12th and 13th centuries. This view of Christianity does not exist today because its followers were all put to death by the Catholic Church of the time.