Today I got really REALLY upset. Earlier this week my son came home from preschool (which is a kind of preparatory school – every kid has the option to start school one year early, the year they turn 6) singing on a religious song about the birth of Jesus. It certainly didn’t feel good. I’m an atheist, to me religion are important to know but then I mean ALL religions, and schools should not teach what is arbitrary belief.
But. It’s Yule, and Sweden has a strong tradition regarding the singing of carols and such at this time of year – I too did that when I was a kid, and I survived.
Despite this I called the National Agency for Education, to check what the law said regarding this. I had a clear memory of the schools having to be non-confessional, but couldn’t find any information on the subject.
The call confirmed my memory – it’s both in the Education Act and in the Curriculum for the Compulsory School System, which all public schools has to follow.
I decided to talk to the teachers about it, to see how they reacted. My guess was they just hadn’t thought this through. We live in a relatively segregated area, consisting mainly of middle- to high income families, so maybe parents thought this OK.
Then, today, my son came home and told me they had been reading about Jesus, from the Bible, during these past days.
That was when I got upset for real. Did they mention Eid al-Fitr back in September? Chanukha, just recently? No, of course not. They teach the Bible not as a literary reference – I’m not convinced 6 year old kids understand the distinction, anyway – but as a belief system that we all adheres to.
Well – here’s news for you; I’m not!
And – if you’re Christian and reading this. How would you react if your kids came home and told you Mohammed is the true prophet? Or that Jesus is a false messiah?
I’m a great believer in knowledge. I think kids should know that there’s a lot of different ways to look at the world, out there. Without that knowledge they’ll not be able to analyse and understand what’s going on around us.
Forcing a belief – a faith! – on small kids, against the will of their parents, is NOT a widening of knowledge; it’s brain washing. And. In Sweden, it’s against the law.
The school is going to hear from me, believe me.