UK schools removing 'BC' and 'AD' from lessons to avoid offending non-Christians

A number of schools in the United Kingdom are removing the terms Before Christ and Anno Domini, which means "the year of the Lord," to keep away from offending Jews and other non-Christians and in an effort to be more politically correct.

(REUTERS / Olivia Harris)Children arrive for class at Brampton Manor School in London June 30, 2011.

The historical term BC is being replaced by Before Common Era or BCE, while AD is being ditched in favor of Common Era or CE so that Jews will not be offended and to still indicate the period of time which comes before and after the birth of Christ. Campaign for Real Education chairman Chris McGovern described the move as a "capitulation to political correctness," the Evangelical Focus relayed.

"BCE and CE were first brought into use in the sixth century and are now used in order to show sensitivity to those who are not Christians," the British Qualifications and Curriculum Authority explained.

It added: "BCE/CE is becoming an industry standard among historians. Pupils have to be able to recognise these terms when they come across them."

For former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, the change is a "great shame." Speaking to the Daily Mail on Oct. 1, he said he has never encountered either a Jewish or Islamic leader who was offended because of the Gregorian calendar.

Local council committees that are part of Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education can decide on which form of dating to use. This group develops religious education syllabuses for most schools.

A research report given to BBC local radio suggested that more than a fourth of secondary schools in England do not have the religious education subject even though they are required by the law to offer it. Data obtained by the National Association for RE noted that the lack of the subject makes the students unprepared for the modern life ahead, but a secondary head teachers' union said a lot of schools incorporate religious issues in their other classes.

Joe Kinnaird, a teacher, explained that RE covers studies on religious festivals and these topics are important as they provide pupils with an opportunity to learn about the various practices in the wider world. Lisa, one of his students, agreed and said it was important to understand the religion of other people. Benjamin, her classmate, said missing out on the subject could lead people to be "heavily influenced" by things they see on social media.