Faith is not the problem. The problem is that we must develop and maintain a separation of church and state. With “independent schools” receiving public funding, we have a situation where private service institutions are funded, in part, by public tax revenue – your tax dollars may be used to support an institution in which your children may not be eligible to enrol.
(Aside: I also have a problem with schools that receive public funding calling themselves “independent schools”, and yes, I understand they mean “independent of the public school system”, but truly what they mean is “private schools” or “alternative schools”. So. There’s that bugbear.)
In other words, this isn’t an attack on religion. It’s not even a rail against religious schools or faith-based instruction or home schooling. It’s a rail against spending public funds on what are, ostensibly, private institutions. I’m pretty sure that if I wanted to send one of my kids to an “independent school”, I’d have to pay tuition. And that’s fine and I would expect to do so, but I sure as hell don’t think tuition for private schools should be subsidised by tax revenue. ESPECIALLY when we’re in a situation where our public school system is facing funding shortfalls, cutbacks, and even closures.
We should have all KINDS of educational institutions. Truly independent schools where if you want your children to have specialised or focussed education (arts, athletics, religion, gender-specific, elite academics), you should have to pay the full tuition (barring scholarships, bursaries, etc. from the private sector). Faith-based schools should receive their funding only from tuition, from the religious institution with which they’re associated, and from private sponsorship and patronage. There’s room here for governments to provide scholarships *for non faith-based education* to individual students, but not to subsidise the institutions themselves.
Faith was never the problem. The problem has always been the necessity to separate (and to KEEP separate) church and state. Public funding has no place in faith-based institutions, if we are to truly have an open and democratic society. (Also the rant about ending tax leniency/exemptions for faith-based institutions and private business will come at a later date.)