Take Your Spiritual Leader to School Day | Russia to Teach Religion in Schools

by Alex

in Spiritual Humor

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It was just announced that next year Russia will be instituting a government funded pilot program to teach multiple religions in 12,000 schools (purportedly as a school subject like any other other).

They’ll be offering Christianity (Russian Orthodox flavor), Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. They’ll also offer a course in comparative religion and “secular” ethics (nice.)

There’s speculation that this is simply a push by the powerful Orthodox Church to make it mandatory for children to learn about Christianity, all under the guise of pluralism.

From the Associated Press:

The proposal is part of a Kremlin effort to teach young Russians morals in the wake of a turbulent period of uncertainty following the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union.

Medvedev said preteen students at about 12,000 schools in 18 Russian regions would take the classes. They will be offered the choice of studying the dominant Russian Orthodox religion, Islam, Buddhism or Judaism, or of taking an overview of all four faiths, or a course in secular ethics.

Students and their parents must be allowed to choose freely, Medvedev said in addressing top clerics and officials at his residence outside Moscow. “Any coercion, pressure will be absolutely unacceptable and counterproductive,” he said.

Church and State are officially separate in Russia, but Church seems to be seeking a stronger role. Remains to be seen how this plays out.

Reminds me a little, of the Henry Ford saying about “choice” of color car. “You can have any color you want, as long as its black.” – LOL

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Posted on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Wes July 22, 2009 at 11:03 am

This is sad, and scary.

Nellie July 22, 2009 at 1:05 pm

If they want to teach orthodoxy in schools, why dont they just come out and say so? Why beat around the bush?

Gil July 22, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Good! Finally someone is listening to Dan Dennett. : )


Alex July 22, 2009 at 7:40 pm

@ Wes and Nellie – thanks for your comments.

@Gil – yeah, I immediately thought out Dennett too. And I thought, wow what a progressive program. But, I think its not quite what Dennett imagined, and hopefully its not some cynical ploy.

Gil July 22, 2009 at 10:25 pm

@Alex – I don’t even think Dennett really means it when he says that all religion should be thought in school. : )

Alex July 25, 2009 at 11:06 am

@Gil – you’re probably right :)

gweneet August 2, 2009 at 5:32 pm

You know, I think it should be mandatory to learn world religions just for the sake of being informed, but I don’t approve of this. I mean, c’mon! :/

Arti August 18, 2009 at 3:15 pm

The implications of this program aside, It is amazing, to me, to read this. In Russia…USSR…religion was, simply, “not allowed,” for the better part of the 20th Century. One could be jailed, or far worse, for even the mention of a God. Though covert, organized worship persevered, the idea that a “powerful Orthodox Church,” and other, organized religions are again flourishing is still incredible.

Mr. Briggs August 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm

As long as they don’t give favouritism to Christianity, I’m all for it. I mean, sure they can teach Christianity, as long as they leave the preaching to the church.

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