Monday, October 22, 2007

Sweden and Public Controls on Religious Education

I'll grant that the situation in Europe, particularly France, is not necessarily to be equated with the American experience. But it's good to monitor what takes place elsewhere.

Truemors links to this article. And I found this quote telling:

The new rules will include a ban on biology teachers teaching creationism or 'intelligent design' alongside evolution.

First off, it should be noted that these were not public schools, but "independent faith schools."

(As an aside, I find it odd that "faith" is often used as a code word for "religion" - remember that I'm looking at things from a Lutheran perspective, in which all non-Christian religious movements are categorized as works-based.)

Note that the "independent faith schools" weren't asking to ONLY teach creationism. They were asking to present both views. But that was opposed. Why?

"Pupils must be protected from all forms of fundamentalism," said Education Minister Jan Björklund to Dagens Nyheter.

The Truemors post notes that

Although faith schools operate as private institutions, the government still provides much of the funding through grants.

Well, at least Sweden has that much in common with America. For the sake of money, the religious institutions have been willing to emasculate themselves, or to let the government emasculate them. In the U.S., churches have been all too willing to get non profit status, and thus are limiting their ability to participate in elections. And in Sweden, apparently it's OK to have religious education that denies the basic tenets of the religion itself.

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