Letter: `Worth-ship', not worship

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Sir: It is sad that Sir Fred Catherwood's stout defence of Christian orthodoxy leads him to misrepresent the nature of secularity so dismissively (letter, 19 December).

His remarks are reminiscent of the comment of Lord St John Fawsley in the debate on the 1988 Education Reform Act: "No religion, no morality".

Our only hope of reaching a working agreement is to face the reality that we live in a multi-faith society. In the name of our common humanity, let us recognise the positive contribution to that society made by the one third or so of the population that has no religious beliefs. To dismiss this significant minority as "permissive" and "materialistic" is arrogant and bigoted.

It is my view as a humanist that school assemblies which openly explore values within the community are always more effective than those conducted in a narrowly religious context. They centre not on worship or dogma but on worth-ship, on the worth of thevalues the school is seeking to promote. They provide opportunities for exercising and celebrating the shared values of the human spirit, on the assumption that our common humanity is more precious than those matters which divide us.

Come, Sir Fred, could we not indulge in a little seasonal Christian humility?

Yours sincerely, DAVID BOTHWELL Southampton