October 8, 2008

Pro Reli vs. Pro Ethik


The German Constitution says that it is mandatory to have religion class in public schools... But two years ago, the (Roman catholic, à propos) mayor of Berlin and the Senat decided that it would be better to substitute the religion class in the middle high school (7th-10th grades) with ethics classes. The arguments are basically the same we know already since 1789.

So two years ago, some believers (most of them are Roman catholics and Evangelists) started the movement Pro Reli. Last year they were collecting signatures to change this legal disposition. They prefer "free choice" between religion and ethics classes. Since there's a Kirchensteuer (church tax), I think they have the right to protest if they think this new disposition is not fair.

Last year they asked me to support them, but I didn't feel like, so I didn't give them my signature. I just thought it wasn't my call at all.

Today there's also an opposite group called Pro Ethik. They say that Pro Reli wants to cancel the ethics class -- which is not true. And they think that having children of different cultures and religion attending alltogether a common class, i.e. ethics, is much better than dividing them in order ro attend their own religion's class (Muslims, Jews, Evangelists, Roman catholics, Ortodox and even Buddhists -- which is not a religious community, but ok).

The question here is if religion and ethics are the same, or in which sense are they equivalent. As far as I know, morality is just a part of religion. So, no, I don't think they are equivalent. And as far as I can see, since 1789 we can agree that it would be better to have common values despite/beyond the religion or personal believes.

Maybe the best thing to do would be to teach all the kids ethics, and to offer the religion class to the "religious" pupils (whatever that means). This is how the things are nowadays, and what Pro Ethik argues, and defends. If the religious parents really care about religion, I think they should educate their children in a religious way at home, and, since they pay Kirchensteuern, then they should also have the support of the State. If the "religious" children have to spend two more hours at school every week, then Selbstschuld!

Last Sunday, while leaving the church, people of Pro Reli asked me to sign, and suddenly I saw myself signing without enough previously considerations. Since then I've been feeling uncomfortable, and I'm thinking very seriously to go back there and cancel my support.

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Have you noticed how religions and/or religious groups have their own agenda which hardly matches with the agenda of the rest of the world? This makes me (and other people I know, who are also interested in religion) feel stupid.

3 comments:

Roberto said...

Quite a debate you have back there. I wouldn't sign anywhere. By the way, great image.

Boxton said...

"But two years ago, the (Roman catholic, à propos) mayor of Berlin and the Senat decided that it would be better to substitute the religion class in the middle high school "

Did you forget just by happenstance that he is very much to the Left and a gay activist ?

Enrique G de la G said...

No, Boxton, I didn't.

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