Berlin campaign for religion lessons unites faiths
Berliners on Sunday voted against introducing compulsory religion lessons in schools. Social Democrat Mayor Klaus Wowereit has welcomed the result as a victory for “togetherness” and common values for Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim or aetheist children.
For details on the result, look at the Reuters story.
However, as Pro Reli leader Christoph Lehmann said, the campaign to boost the status of faith-based lessons in the German capital — a city with a long secular tradition — has put the subject firmly on the agenda and made it a talking point.
Celebrities and politicians, even conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel,have joined the call for religion lessons. Perhaps she was trying to make amends with members of her predominantly Catholic Christian Democrats (CDU) who were angry with her for criticising the Pope in the row over a Holocaust-denying bishop.
Even the pope has weighed in.
The argument in Berlin, which is home to Germany’s biggest Muslim community, centred on whether children who have a deep knowledge of their own faith are more tolerant of people who have a different religion than those who receive a broader education in ethics which touches on several religions. Does an in-depth grounding in one religion equip children with a stronger moral compass?
For more detail on the arguments, you can see last week’s post and story.
However, the campaign has had another, perhaps unexpected, result. Despite suggestions by the Pro Ethik camp that faith-based religion lessons would promote Christianity, the Pro Reli campaign ended up uniting Berlin’s main faiths — several Muslim and Jewish groups backed the Pro Reli cause.
Perhaps in the end, that is its biggest achievement.