Charles Darwin used to grace the back of British £10 notes, but now the iconic scientist isn’t even allowed in a school play thanks to complaints from Christian parents who were offended.
A secular elementary school in Britain had planned to put on a musical about Darwin and the theory of evolution by natural selection, but they shut down the production after some Christian parents had problems with the lyrics.
About 90 students were preparing to perform “Darwin Rocks!,” a musical about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, next month at Hartford Manor Primary School — a non-religious school in Cheshire. According to BBC News, six parents expressed concern over they portrayal of Christian views throughout the show, which is aimed at 7-to-11-year-olds
Simon Kidwell, the head teacher of the school told the BBC that he received [complaints] about the lyrics “bump and grind,” which refer to sexually suggestive dance moves. Three parents also believed a bishop who appears in one of the scenes is “mocked.” Some parents felt the show does not accurately represent Christian views on science and criticized its implication that students cannot pursue science and Christianity simultaneously.
Some parents threatened to pull their children from the production, causing the school to cancel it altogether. The school board was not involved in the decision to drop the production, and the school teaches evolution, which parents had not previously complained about, according to Kidwell.
Any director could tell you that inappropriate language is simple to change. More to the point, this is a play aimed at kids, which means it’s not going to have all the nuance critics might want, but it’s very likely intended to tell a few key points about Darwin. It’s not an anti-religious play in any way. (You can read the synopsis here.)
This show should never have been cancelled, and many of the parents understand that.
Several parents said they felt the school made the wrong choice in canceling the show. “It really does feel like a huge step backwards,” parent Alan McDonald told The Independent. “It doesn’t seem evenhanded or in any way right.”
“It is simply unacceptable that religious fundamentalist views should have such influence in a community primary school and prevent children accessing what should have been a brilliant learning experience,” another parent said.
The incident reminds me of the Christian parents in the U.S. who formed a circle to pray for the kids who saw a Shakespeare play that featured a same-sex stage kiss. Then, like now, there were people trying to force their religious beliefs onto students in a secular school.
If your religion can’t handle a light-hearted educational musical, maybe the problem lies with your faith and not the production.