Silver Ring Thing

Looks like we have another Christianity vs School Uniform debacle, this time over a silver chastity ring from the programme known as the Silver Ring Thing.

If the BBC report is anything to go by, the school is on pretty shaky ground in my view. The school seems to think that wearing the veil is essential to Muslim girls. Is that really so? All the Muslim women I’ve ever spoken to about it seem to have been insistent that it is a free choice they have made and one which is not imposed on them either by men or their religion. Even more strange is that the school would let a pupil wear a crucifix but not a silver bigot ring. Whatever one may feel about a crucifix, it is not essential to faith.

That school is on dodgy ground. If they allow the veil, the headscarf and Sikh bracelets, that ring is going to win any legal case.


  1. Yeah, I’ve just been nattering with a friend about this as well. It’s a complicated one, for sure. The crucifix is established as Christian by convention as distinct from weight of specific religious authority.

    I’m generally in favour of allowing *all* religious symbols out in the open. However, I’m far from convinced that this SRT movement is a religion, rather an unnecessary hanger-on grasping at christianity’s trousers. And the school has some right to decide its own policy; I can’t say it’s obviously unfair for them to draw the line between established conventional symbols and deluded clubs or sects; if you don’t like it, don’t go there.

    A cynic might also say that the father is using his daughter to establish a high court mandate for his movement, (all of) which sucks.

  2. Michael Houghton says

    I’m (the friend in question and not a lawyer but I am) personally not sure this is complicated at all. The school seems to be arguing:

    1) Christianity has no ‘essential’ symbols
    2) so the ring isn’t an essential article of Christian faith
    3) we can stop kids wearing symbols which aren’t articles of faith
    4) we allow crucifixes, anyway

    The problem here is that claim 3) is undermined by act 4). They seem to be endorsing one ‘standard’ non-faith article for Christians, which is probably unfair to the girl who wishes to wear the silver bigot ring, and who contends that her ring is a symbol of an aspect of her religious belief.

    I don’t think the high court is going to rule in their favour:

    They are unlikely to make any argument at all about the significance or propriety of the Silver Ring Thing as a movement.

    They are unlikely to decide or even to give the school any power to decide which Christian movements or sects are allowed to self-identify.

    If they do rule that the school should be allowed to ban the ring, I can’t see how they can’t rule that crucifixes should be banned under the same logic; otherwise, they would be seen to be endorsing the crucifix specifically, or endorsing the school’s right to identify an ‘acceptable’ faith symbol. Neither of these interpretations sound like something the High Court would want to support.

    Either way, if they do succeed in getting a ruling that allows them to ban the rings but allow the crucifix on the basis of ‘weight of convention’, they’re going to have a fun time keeping wicca symbols out of school…

  3. Hello, please read my post on this as I know the people involved personally. If you put aside all the hype, media frenzy and plain ignorant views of some folks that seem to be commenting on this you’ll find the whole thing is actually quite simple.

    She has signed up to the Silver Ring Thing and chosen to wear the ring ,that is simply a ring nothing more, as an expression of her desire to remain chaste until marriage. She feels her school was unfair in its demand that she remove the ring when they allow exceptions for other expression of different faiths. That is the crux of the matter!

    She has not been pushed into this, she is not naive and this is her choice to follow this to its conclusion, whatever that may be.

    Whatever you may personally believe about it she should be applauded for actually standing up and being counted for something she believes in and making a stand against this liberal PC society in which we live.

  4. kelvin says

    Thanks for your comment, Andrew

    I think I indicated above, that I think that the school was acting unfairly.

    I don’t think that it is PC to allow one religious symbol and not another at all. In fact I think that the school is guilty of promoting an utterly unPC agenda.

    This particular PC liberal longs for the day when we all feel as though we are being treated with equal respect under the law.

  5. Andrew: your second paragraph is inconsistent. If it were just a `ring… an expression of her desire’ etc then it would not be an expression of any faith or religion. That rather flies in the face of the Wikipedia explanation of SRT to which Kelvin linked.

  6. Never understood the ring thing. Why don’t they just wear chastity belts?

  7. Elizabeth says

    Because the chastity belts might work. Oh, wait, did I say that out loud?

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