Scripture Union removes references to Bible in nativity telling

References to the Bible will be removed in Scripture Union's simplified nativity booklet this Christmas.

The Christian charity has slimmed down it's telling of the Christmas story, saying you can no longer assume children have a basic knowledge of the biblical narrative.

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The pamphlet, which is aimed at reaching 100,000 children, has previously included Bible passages and phrases asking children to compare the story to each of the gospel tellings. But this year the booklet will be cut back because many children do not know the basics of the story, the charity said.

Jennifer Babb, church and community fundraising manager at the Scripture Union, said the removal of explicit references to the Bible 'takes that barrier away - it makes it more of a simple story'.

She told the Telegraph: 'When we realised that children don't even know the basics of what they are celebrating, then the traditional, simple story is the best way.'

She said the decision was made off the back of research that highlighted low levels of religious literacy among children, including one 2014 survey that suggested one in three children between 10 and 13 do not know that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus.

She added: 'We wanted to create something new this year that was specifically designed for the audience of children who might not know the real Christmas story.

'This is all part of our work to invite children and young people to explore the difference Jesus can make to the challenges and adventures of life.'

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