In 2012, British education secretary Michael Gove sent a copy of the King James Bible to every school in England at a cost of £370,000 (about $625,000). He said religion had nothing to do with it; it was just a very historically relevant book. It’s the sort of thing GOP members would do months before every election just to prove to voters they love Jesus.
This week, the British Humanist Association decided to play his game, sending Alom Shaha‘s The Young Atheist’s Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God to schools across England and Wales.
The BHA raised more than £11,000 to send the book to schools through public donations from “thousands of people” at Justgiving, and hopes the initiative will give young people “access to resources that enable them to come to their own decisions about their values and beliefs”.
BHA chief executive Andrew Copson added that “in a large number of schools, pupils will have access to a number of religious perspectives on life’s bigger questions, but not to what most non-religious people believe and how they find happiness and satisfaction in their daily lives”.
“We believe schools should be places where pupils are free to encounter the full range of philosophies and world views available to them in modern Britain,” said Copson.
The BHA says it’s not a direct response to Gove’s stunt, but it might as well be. Any schools that are complaining should point their frustration at Gove for thinking people would benefit from a physical copy of a book that’s already freely-available online.
It would be great for students to read both — the horrific fiction and then the ethical guide to life. I have no doubt Shaha’s book will appeal to the more inquisitive minds.
(Thanks to Leif for the link!)