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Religion in school


We have recently received my six year old’s class schedule.

On Thursday afternoon, each week, there is a history of the bible course.

I am NOT OK with that.  However, I am not sure how I feel about my daughter sitting in a room by herself while the other kids receive their weekly dose of brainwashing.

I strongly feel that religion has no place in schools.  It is the responsibility of the parents and their church (if they decide to go) to educate their children how they see fit.

After saying that I will go ahead and stick my foot in my mouth by saying that if they were to teach all the main stream religions I would be OK with my daughter staying in the classroom during this course.  The teacher told me that they do in fact teach all the mainstream religions.  However, when I looked through the coursebook the other religions are mentioned (true) but not given equal time to Christianity (they are only mentioned).

I don’t know if we will end up letting her stay for the course or not.

Honestly, I am upset that I am even put in this position.

I have no idea why a modern and developed country like Switzerland would have a religious course in their schools.  I do understand that it depends on the Canton and that the Jura is VERY Catholic.  I don’t think that it matters that 50 percent of the Jura is Catholic as someone explained to me.   The other 50 percent aren’t!

My daughter’s teacher that is teaching this course explained that it was too bad that my daughter would miss out on the lessons on courage and living together in harmony.  My answer was that she will learn those things even if she doesn’t stay for this course.  She doesn’t need to have a religious course to be courageous or understanding.  That is just stupid.

Thankfully, the course isn’t an obligation.  The problem is that it is on the report card as to whether or not she took it.  I was told that only one child in thirty years of this teachers teaching career has not taken this course.  Unbelievable!

I really just can’t believe only one other family stood against this ignorant course.

No matter what, it is discrimination to all that are not Christians and must send their children to school.  Oh, I do want to clear up that this is a PUBLIC school and in no way private.  Meaning that taxes that my husband (an aethist) pays and all the others who are not Catholic (remember 50 percent) are paying goes into (the course book and teachers time are not free) teaching this ridiculous course.

A course that is given until 6th grade!

I really love Swiss schools but really don’t get this.

When you move to the Canton of the Jura you are asked at the courthouse (where you must register) what religion you are.  If you are Catholic 10 percent of your wages will be taken out of your paycheck before you even get it.  This money goes to the Catholic church.  I think that is messed up, too!

What is up with all this church monitoring in Switzerland?  I thought Switzerland was one of the very few TRUE democracies on earth!

In a democracy all people are treated equally.  Every single one of them.

If I were Catholic should I have to lie about it if I don’t want to give the church 10 percent of my wages?  Like I said, that is just messed up.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • anne August 17, 2009, 5:32 pm

    I cannot believe that only other family stood against this. Totally utter rubbish.

    And why are the Catholic church being paid …that is so out of order, does not happen here in the UK.

    I was brought up a Catholic, and all my schools were catholic…we didn’t have Bible studies, but we did have Religious Education…

    What an absolute load to twaddle…missing out on Courage and Harmony…..you are right she will learn those from other events..!!

    • Pumpkin August 18, 2009, 6:15 am

      I am going to write a letter to the person or group that is in charge of the courses the children are given. It probably won’t matter but at least I will feel better. I can’t get over how wrong it is to have a kind of Sunday school in a public school.

  • Susan August 17, 2009, 9:05 pm

    Hello, I’m just an occasional visitor here – but let me go out on a limb and say that I think your daughter will handle the class and what is taught there just fine, because she has you for a Mom to balance it all out, and discuss it with her.

    I can think of many more troubling issues and circumstances that face children as they go to school each year, besides Religious education.

    I don’t mean to make waves – that’s just my opinion for what it’s worth – I really enjoy your blog and your photos. Thanks for blogging –

    • Pumpkin August 18, 2009, 6:20 am

      We have decided to go ahead and let her start the class and if it gets to be too religious I will ask that she stops. She (of course) wants to take it because all the other kids are. I can certainly understand her not wanting to be different at six years old. So, I am going to add religion to what I teach my kids at home. Every Monday afternoon I teach my kids English and now will add education about all the biggest religions in the world.

      Thank you for your comment. I was leaning in the same line of thought as you once my anger cooled off.

  • sissi August 18, 2009, 2:04 am


    Well I told you about it, BUT I didn’t know it was optionnal otherwise I would have removed my kids too.

    I can say after 1 school year they were not too brainwashed but my son Matthieu told me surprising stuff like: everytime a child is born there is a new star in the sky made by God, or did you know that JC is still alive and he is 2000 years old, or while visiting the St Ursanne church – JC has a light around him because He is the true light of our world.

    Oh Gosh, I cringed each time and when he told me the story about the stars I freaked and told him to not listen to his teacher “Alice in wonderland views of the world”…

    I mean both my son did learn a lot about JC and all that and sometimes they were telling me stuff about the Bible but I think they got it at the end and they just stop mentioning it because it made me upset. If one day, my children want to belong to one of the most corrupt, hypocrit, and rich political organisation of the world and by that I mean the catholic church then I will respect their choices but I disagree to send them to a PUBLIC school and have them listen to the Bible lessons the teachers want to give them, chances are the teachers are biased because they are catholic themselves so they can’t teach with objectivity. They primarly stay focus on christianity, and most of all they study the Bible in a christian point of view meaning they were no mention of the others religions. I hated the fact that people assumed we were all catholics. I think at one point they had some kind of catholic event at the school, forgot what it was and I wad upset that nobody asked us if it was Ok to participate assuming once more everyone had to be part of this religion and then what you admit you are not and even worst that you are atheist people will judge you, especially catholics whom all religion is based on “you’re bad, you’re guilty, you deserve nothing, you’re bad…”.

    Anyway in France, schools are laique, it means there is no religion. My oldest is going to a private school next year and guess what, it is a catholic school but the the days of teaching and praying are long gone, a private catholic school nowadays is just a hypocrit excuse to go to a better school and avoiding the bad public school. If they do have a religious class it is only optionnal.

    • Pumpkin August 18, 2009, 6:25 am

      I agree with everything you said. I am giving the school the benefit of doubt and letting my kid stay in this class under the assumption it really is going to teach what it says. However, I met her teacher and can see that it is just going to be a big Sunday school kind of thing instead the truly enriching class that it should be.

  • Sean August 18, 2009, 10:50 am

    Is this still a hot topic? Hmmmm, controversial to say the least…I agree with you in principle, but the point is that Switzerland is a democracy but a basically Christian one at that. No I am not religious, and not catholic, in fact many things I do not agree with in this regard (many, ok most), BUT, it is voluntary and you are likely living in a very “traditional” area. This being unfortunately one of the “traditions”.. the others are obviously less obvious. If this is the Swiss way then sometimes you have to accept the bad with the good… nowhere is perfect, and more so nowhere is perfect for everyone.

    Dont fight it, rather as has been said before manage it from the home. Fighting it runs the risk of “isolating” your kids and making them stand out for an issue which is too much for them to deal with right now. Keep telling them they have choice, and whatever they learn there is based on “catholicism” which is a principle some people live by, and not on what is necessarily factual if you know what I mean. To make the right choices requires information on what is out there…

    There are worse things to worry about…. religion and obsessive religion is obviously worrying, but there is a part of me that wonders if there was not a decline in religion maybe the world would not be on the downward spiral it is on… I dont know… yeah yeah… religious people are also criminals!

    Having said all that… I do understand

    • Pumpkin August 18, 2009, 11:59 am


      I understand where you are coming from and even made the same arguement to my husband who didn’t buy it. :) But, I do worry about her feeling comfortable here with us living in such a very small village. Everyone, I mean everyone, knows everyone. :)

      It is out of our hands now because I got a call this morning from her teacher telling me that as of this year the director of the school has decided that this class is mandatory for every student. Funny, it was optional until we challenged it.

      • Sean August 18, 2009, 7:42 pm

        If I was ever on the fence on this one, that call would have made me do something irrational and principled :(((( Good luck…

  • christina August 19, 2009, 1:26 pm

    Same in Germany. You have the choice between Catholic and Lutheran and the kids are pretty much expected to attend but they organize the schedule so it’s always the last class of the day so the Turkish kids and others who don’t wish to participate don’t have to. We aren’t religious at all and I am also completely against religion in schools but I did let my kids attend for the cultural aspect and for the sake of fitting in. Believe me, it had NO effect whatsoever on them at all, no brainwashing took place, I made sure of that. In fact it made them question even more what it’s all about and why some people believe what they do. Starting in fifth grade at secondary school they chose to take something called Werte und Norman – values and norms, basically an ethics course, which I think has done them much more good. They studied comparative religion, with each of the world’s major religions being given equal time. That’s something I can get my head around.

  • The Cowgirl September 8, 2009, 8:37 am

    Oh Pumpkin, I would be right there with you. Unless you are purposely choosing to send your child to a religious school, then I feel that religion should stay at home. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to send our son to a school where it’s not an issue…because I would certainly feel like you.

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