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Holy Ghost too spooky for children, teachers told
By David Sapsted
(Filed: 11/04/2005)

Teachers are being told not to mention that Communion bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ in case children get it in their heads that Christians are cannibals.

Holy communion
Communion: image warning

New guidelines for religious education teachers also want them to refer to the Holy Spirit rather than the Holy Ghost because the latter implies "a trivial and spooky concept of the third person in the Trinity".

The guidelines, drawn up by education chiefs in Norfolk and condemned by the National Union of Teachers yesterday as "modernism gone mad", also consign the term Old Testament to the dustbin because pupils may believe it means its contents are no longer relevant.

Christians are not alone in having the terms of their faith redefined. In teaching Judaism, teachers are told to refer to the "Western Wall" rather than "Wailing Wall", just in case the children believe that Jews are moaners.

Muslims should not be shown in photographs "holding swords, Kalashnikovs, etc" to avoid Islam being equated to terrorism.

Also out are pictures of Hindu holy men caked in mud because they give the impression that it is a religion for "weirdos or masochists".

As for Sikhs, the guidance says: "Do be careful when showing pupils the kachs. Without preparing pupils, they seem to some like merely voluminous underpants and can give rise to a poor response."

The guidelines for the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education will go to the ''cabinet'' of Norfolk County Council for approval this week with the aim of introducing them in the autumn.

Marian Agombar, the chairman of the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus Conference, said that the guidelines had been drawn up after looking at best practice in other education authorities. She said that teachers would not be forced to follow the advice.

"It's just a useful thing to help teachers prevent making mistakes," she told the Norwich Evening News.

Tony Mulgrew, the Norfolk secretary for the NUT, thought the exercise had the ring of political correctness.

"I just think it's a bit daft to suddenly change the name of the Old Testament. They shouldn't be messing about with the names of things. It's modernism gone mad."

Nick Seaton, the chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, a pressure group for higher standards and greater parental choice, said: "I think most people will think it's ridiculous. It's just another example of political correctness interfering with the education system."

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