Religion and schools don't mix
By BJORN ULVAEUS - GUARDIAN.CO.UK
Added: Wed, 26 Aug 2009 23:00:00 UTC
Thanks to Alabasterocean for the link.
Without thinking too much about it at the time, when I wrote the lyrics for Abba's songs the message I wished to convey tallies well with campaigns launched recently by humanist organisations in the UK, US and Australia:
"There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."
Earlier this month the Swedish Humanist Association (Humanisterna) launched a similar campaign. And in light of the growing influence of religious schools in Sweden, the campaign could hardly be more timely.
Unfortunately the European Convention on Human Rights doesn't permit the banning of independent religious schools. Under current Swedish law, independent schools may adopt a "confessional direction" as long as they stick to the official national curriculum and adhere to the education system's "general goals and values".
A lot of independently managed schools (friskolor) negotiate this balancing act well, but there are also a lot of schools that don't.
If it wished, Sweden could choose to refrain from using tax money to fund these independent schools. There is nothing in the European Convention on Human Rights that prevents such a course of action. But Sweden has chosen to go the other way.
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