South Africa outlaws single-religion schools

Dec 27, 2017

By Samuel Osborne

Single-religion schools have been outlawed in South Africa after a ruling at the Johannesburg High Court.

Public schools may no longer promote themselves as subscribing to a single particular religion at the exclusion of others, the court ruled.

The Organisasie vir Godsdienste-Onderrig en Demokrasie (Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy), or OGOD, which fights against religious indoctrination through public schools in South Africa, welcomed the judgement.

He said the judgement meant public schools may not promote one specific religion and exclude others.

“Our case was built on the fact that they were called Christian schools and coerced learners to participate‚” Mr Pietersen said, according to South African daily The Times.

OGOD made the application against six predominantly Christian public schools to prevent them from taking part in 71 instances of religious conduct.

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6 comments on “South Africa outlaws single-religion schools

  • From the article above:

    “The aim is not to ban religious practices in schools but about protecting children and emphasising that schools should engage in religion education rather than religious instruction and not promote one religion over another,” a spokesperson for the department said.

    This measure doesn’t seem to go half as far as it should. Still too much allowance for religion to make it’s presence known and take up valuable classroom time with superstitious drivel at the expense of material that is actually valuable knowledge. We need instruction to learn about the role of various religions in historic events and it does have a place in literature classes but this can be integrated into the curriculum as an objective analysis and not as a demonstration of piety. I’d rather read – The aim IS to ban religious practices in schools…
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  • LaurieB #1
    Dec 27, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    We need instruction to learn about the role of various religions in historic events
    and it does have a place in literature classes
    but this can be integrated into the curriculum
    as an objective analysis and not as a demonstration of piety.
    I’d rather read – The aim IS to ban religious practices in schools…

    I think that a biased promotion of the religious practices of A particular single religion, should be banned, but the comparative study of assorted religions and critical analysis of the various religious practices, should be studied in terms of their historical influences and consequential human outcomes.
    Done objectively this is very informative.
    Done by wearers of the faith delusion goggles of my goody-goody religion tribe, against those baddy baddy heretics, it is utterly divisive and counter productive!

    I recall a Catholic faith-school where the local priest (who had been imported from the backwaters of Western Ireland) referred to Church of England Christians, as “Pagans”!

    Any cheerleader for a religious denomination, who cannot even get the name of other competing (modern or historical) religions correct, is a bigoted ignoramus who has no accurate evidenced content, to communicate to anyone!
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  • Alan

    Right. And it goes without saying that there is no shortage of religious houses of worship where anyone can go and express their religious devotion to their hearts content, so can the hours that kids spend in school be free of religion at least? I don’t think it’ll kill them to avoid mention of God, Jesus, Mohammed, etc. for a few daylight hours. For the Christians and Muslims, if you go by the book, they don’t even need a building at all. If a parent wants to blather on and on about their religion in the privacy of their own homes then I suppose there’s nothing to do about that and their poor kids must put up with it as best they can but at least during the school day they might be relieved to be spared the tiresome constant references to the almighty.
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  • Dawkins is a supporter of religious education in the UK. It confounds the idea of an religious absolute truth by imposing the breadth of views taken by others, often the very first step to individual escape from dogma. Second it breeds a very necessary humanising of “the other” and the banal reality and serendipity surrounding social religious groups. Like schools must never cede sex education as the sole preserve of parents, they must never give parents an exclusive say on religion.

    Education is for fitting kids for the world and one of the biggest problems in their lives is dealing with the narrowing blinkers endlessly urged on defenseless children by indoctrinating religious parents and wider family.

    It is folly to try and shut it off, or pretend that education has nothing to say, besides, it only piques interest.

    This is what can be done for now and its Better. Some more Better, later on, will become possible.

    Ha… started this an hour ago and posted without checking what occurred in the interim…
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  • The national department of education said the ruling was consistent with its own policy that no one religion should be promoted above another, South Africa’s Independent Online reports.

    A wise ruling and one in keeping with the aims of a multicultural society. Parents won’t like it of course as they usually want the back up of state institutions to push this stuff. The more exposure to the diverse nature of various systems of belief, the better from my perspective.
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