Nov 19, 2008

Losing religion. The right to be exempted from the school course in Greece.

The Greek Ombudsman has recently received reports of citizens who
indicated that in several schools in the country parents have been requested to sign a statement declaring their religion as an excuse to exempt their children from
Religion lesson.

The Greek Ombudsman clarifies with this press release that ANY student regardless of religious beliefs may be exempted from attending 'Religion/Thriskeftika*' as long as their parents or the students (if they are of age) invoke reasons of conscience in an accountability statement. Neither parents or student need disclose their religious beliefs in order to be exempted from the lesson.

Tonight on the news a well-known Greek orthodox priest/psychologist asked to comment on the Greek Ombudsman's letter of clarification to the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.

One of his washy arguments was "if students didn't attend the course 'Religion' in school they would turn to drugs"(!) and Greek society's values would decay faster. Priest also said that 'our religion' (Greek Orthodoxy) is the only religion that teaches love and compassion, making a smug remark about Islam.

A reporter accurately pointed out that the Church's recent involvement in the Vatopedi land deal controversy, which is currently being investigated by a Parliamentary commission, has in no way set a good Christian example for society or shown any ethical values.

The bottom line is that Greek priests aren't going to release their claws from the Greek school system that easily.