• Sweden's news in English
 
God 'not welcome' at school advent services

God 'not welcome' at school advent services

Published: 25 Nov 2012 09:45 GMT+01:00

The discussion about Advent and church services arises every year in Sweden and in response the agency has developed legal guidelines to assist school principals.

"The law stipulates that Swedish schools are non-confessional," Skolverket's Anna Ekström and Claes-Göran Aggebo underlined in an article in the Dagens Nyheter daily on Sunday.

"That school is non-confessional means that there can't be any religious elements such as prayer, blessings or declarations of faith in education. Students should not have to be subjected to religious influence in school," they write.

Confessional free schools are however in part exempted from the principle.

Ekström and Aggebo observed that the Advent services are part of the compulsory curriculum and thus sought to clarify the situation as Advent approaches and the autumn term nears its end.

"The agency has decided that it is possible to have an end of term service in church and that a pastor can be in attendance. The demand is that there should be no confessional element."

The law is controversial, the pair observed, noting that there are strong opinions both from parents who would like their children to take part in a religious service, and from parents who are strongly against it.

Ekström and Aggebo's article in Dagens Nyheter on Sunday furthermore prompted strong reactions from, among others, political scientist Andreas Johansson Heinö.

"The idea that a non-confessional school presupposes that every religious element is to be erased should best be described as fundamentalism."

But the agency heads underlined that the law does not dictate what a pastor can and can not say in church, pointing out that it is the responsibility for the service that is reserved to the school principal.

"It is the principal who has responsibility for the content even when a school gathers in church. This responsibility can't be handed over to the church."

"If the school and the church can not come to an agreement then the principal has to abstain from congregating in church."

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

10:46 November 25, 2012 by krow
They better cancel the programme if God is not invited. What is Advent without God?
11:54 November 25, 2012 by BackpackerKev
Why I believe school is to educate, it is pro-active to inform children about what advent is and why people celebrate it but not to try and recruit children into a religion.

You can inform children about all faith events, and what they represent, but many schools that have a religious element favour one religion over the others, with teachers being biased or those that create the syllabus not understanding themselves about other religions events.

Its the swedish no-compromise mentality again.
12:10 November 25, 2012 by Achilles7
This is so sad. Sad how Sweden thinks it's doing the right thing by not 'forcing' religion onto students. They make it sound like such an oppressive burden.

When I was at school we went to a chapel service once a week, we studied Christianity in Religious Education classes, we sung Christian hymns in assembly each morning, and we said grace before every meal. And I haven't turned out to be some fanatical Christian. In fact, I think I'm all the better for it. It's given me a more humble, meek, and appreciative attitude to life - something which a lot of young children today could do with a dose of.
12:39 November 25, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
Well stated, @Achilles7, I fully agree. It is a war on Christianity by the secularists in this world.
13:13 November 25, 2012 by space2
@Achiles7: maybe you didn't turned out to be a fanatic, but several thousands did! Just read an article yesterday, that a woman didn't burried his husband, hoping that he will resurrect... she waited 3 years. Also I hope you have good morals not only because you went to christian school, but because you are human. And just think about all the time wasted on stupid things, where would science would be now....
14:44 November 25, 2012 by Rap43
Well, I can see the point of the Christians writing here, but, fair is fair and perhaps spring services could be held in Mosques or Synagogues on alternating years, but that leaves out the Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus...

Just how far into the cauldron of religion would you have the school system go?

Religious practice has NO place in a secular education. A topic for academic study, certainly, but as a service or other religious ceremony? No.
15:43 November 25, 2012 by engagebrain
Keep religion separate from the state.

The state has no means of distinguishing the mad from the deluded and children are too young to make an informed choice.
16:29 November 25, 2012 by dizzy09
accept of gays and lesbians in the society is ok but not God...ignorance and stupidity is now enlightenment.
17:55 November 25, 2012 by Tall swede
Since you are by law required to go to school, forcing practices from a religion do not belong there. Its very easy to take your own children to a church or mosque for a sermon. But please, dont force other children to go there. Those who dislike this, would you like your child to be on his/her knees in a mosque, singing to the glory of Muhammad? A visit and and "this is a mosque, muslims pray here" is ok. To have them listen to sermons, sing songs praising prophets and being subjected to the authority of a religious shaman is NOT something schools should do, no matter what religion.
19:52 November 25, 2012 by Swedish Cat
I agree on that the brainwashing of a religion does not belong in school. Altough I truly hope they did not agree on the small girls sitting there in their burka. If one God is excluded ALL religious symbols should be banned.
23:17 November 25, 2012 by adshasta
God is or isn't has no place in our schools. Firstly, God is at best what you or I might believe him or her to be.
23:30 November 25, 2012 by Enjoyourlife
Sweden is scared of muslims. Soon churches in sweden would be turned to moques. Whenever they shall open islamic schools, they shall pray and read their quran. Christians in their region are persecuted. Sweden will become the first islamic republic in europe. Soon!
06:57 November 26, 2012 by Farr
@dizzy (obviously). Gays and Lesbians are real people. They were born that way, just like you were born stupid and ignorant.

God is make beleif, and that's the difference.
07:16 November 26, 2012 by Swedish Cat
Agree fully with Farr.

What does Gays and lesbians have to do with this? They have not done any harm and if you are a strong believer you could stretch it as far as they are one of Gods creations. You don't need religion to have morals. If you cannot determinate right from wrong than you lack empathy, NOT RELIGION!
07:32 November 26, 2012 by j.kibe.karanja@gmail.com
Since God is not limited by where people meet, school children can meet in churches without religious talks. Whether they meet in or outside thwe church they will still be with God for God is everywhere.
10:17 November 26, 2012 by bryan73
Fortunately, in the West, god only has approx. three generations left to live. Then the notion of such magical beings will be filed away with lots of other human superstitions. People will find other means to satisfy their dopamine needs, hopefully through scientific achievement and social accomplishment.

Some country somewhere will be the first make an official acknowledgement of the mental addictions of religion and the dangers of theological dogma on soft human minds.
11:25 November 26, 2012 by EP
@bryan73

People already do satisfy their dopamine needs through scientific achievement and social accomplishment ... just look at all the people addicted to happy pills (a.k.a SSRIs) and Facebook .... it's making them into social zombies incapable of interacting like a human being with anyone else. If you call that scientific accomplishment, that's scary.
11:46 November 26, 2012 by Zombie
It's time people stop believing ridiculous superstitions from the bronze age and move on with their lives.
15:37 November 26, 2012 by Samuel Nemalladinne
Seriously as people commented abouve, then why do they even do an advent service ? Extremely ridiculous is all i can say. Sweden is scared, scared so much making these decisions just to avoid a discussion. Man, ball-up sweden really !
18:30 November 26, 2012 by samwise
Don't the "experts" writing those guidelines and "religious education" textbooks have a faith based worldview like us average people? in other words, only their faith is allowed to preach in schools.

How do they know removing all religions from schools is the moral thing to do? Can't tell me because you believe so. That doesn't count, right?

Lots of things are run by arrogant morons.
19:24 November 26, 2012 by smilingjack
#8

thats because gays are eal and your god is fictional. but than again reality isnt big with christians. christians who belive that all gays should be put to death.

religon in private and completely out of schools.

if you want to teach your children the world is flat - knock yourself out. schools are for advancing education - not fairy stories.

#10 absolutely. that includes christian nuns with those silly hats.

#15

you sum up christians perfectly. deluded in the extreme. people like you should be institionalsied for mental health problems.

Im reminded of george harrison singing about "his sweet lord" "I really want to be with you" until he got cancer and spent every second suddenly not trying to be with his imaginary god.

I think any christian that falls ill should be banned from hospitals because their god oobviously wants them to die so why would they anger their creator - the thing they want more than anything else is to be with it.

the wackiest bunch of hypocrites alive.
05:49 November 27, 2012 by j.kibe.karanja@gmail.com
School children should be allowed to meet in Churches or religious places even if there are no religious services or talks.

God is not limited to churches or religious places or even people.

God is Spirit and is in every place and in every person. As one acient poet once said, " In Him we live and move and have our being".

James Kibe Karanja: j.kibe.karanja@gmail.com
13:42 November 27, 2012 by Zombie
It's about time people stop believing in these superstition non-sense.
03:43 November 28, 2012 by jimfromcanada
The idea that religion leads to violence has become a conventional wisdom that cannot be sustained by examination of history. Most people were religious until recently and violence was common. But the increase in secularization in the USSR, China and other socialist states as well as in Europe does not demonstrate any associated decrease in violent behaviour.

Repressing religious behaviour is only going to marginalize believers and give them less reason to support values common to the wider society.
11:16 November 28, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
None of this insanity would even be happening if Sweden would stop importing muslims here! Whether you are a believer in a Christian god or not, you gotta admit Sweden was a MUCH nicer place when most Swedes were Lutheran.
00:51 December 1, 2012 by Baroness.Fredericks
Atheists and Muslims are having a grand ole time with bashing Christians, but don't bash them. That would be something else. If Sweden wants to be so atheist and anti God, *(not anti allah though), then they should ban and change the flag. For it's golden cross means nothing to these people. Argue, call names, provoke fights, slander people, make and poke fun and even condemn, but right is might. A "CHURCH" is for worshiping God, no matter what anyone says or thinks. If God is so hated then don't send your children in one.
Today's headlines
Romanian beggar lands bumper lottery win
Photo: TT

Romanian beggar lands bumper lottery win

A Romanian man who slept under a bridge in a Swedish city and lived by begging recently landed a 210,000 kronor ($27,000) lottery win after buying a ticket on impulse, saying he now wants to build himself a house. READ  

Agency: Dream in vain of a white Christmas
There is little chance of snow in Stockholm this Christmas. File photo: TT

Agency: Dream in vain of a white Christmas

Sweden's weather agency SMHI has warned those living in southern parts of the country to stop dreaming of a white Christmas or risk disappointment. READ  

Shots fired at Stockholm migrant camp: report
File photo: TT

Shots fired at Stockholm migrant camp: report

Stockholm police have launched an investigation after reports that shots were fired at an EU migrant camp in the south of the city on Saturday. READ  

Löfven launches Swedish 'American Dream'
Photo: TT

Löfven launches Swedish 'American Dream'

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven used his Christmas speech on Saturday to launch his idea of the "Swedish Promise", an equivalent to the more familiar "American Dream". READ  

Hoho: Estelle records cute Christmas message
Princess Estelle pictured in her 2014 Christmas jumper. Photo: Kate Gabor/royalcourt.se

Hoho: Estelle records cute Christmas message

Video: Sweden's little Princess Estelle has got into the spirit of Christmas by recording a special message together with her parents. READ  

Swedes over-estimate English abilities: expert
BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg suffers a linguistic let-down at The White House in 2010. File photo: TT

Swedes over-estimate English abilities: expert

Swedes are generally confident in their own English abilities, a new survey has shown, although one expert has questioned whether this belief is misplaced. READ  

Sweden seeks ban on foreign booze advertising
File photo: Shutterstock.

Sweden seeks ban on foreign booze advertising

Two powerful Swedish lobby groups have turned to the European Commission to try and get a complete ban on alcohol advertising on television, after it emerged some channels were dodging the ban by being registered abroad. READ  

Minecraft creator beats Beyonce in mansion bid
Markus Persson created hit game Minecraft. Photo: TT

Minecraft creator beats Beyonce in mansion bid

UPDATED: Swedish billionaire Markus Persson is reported to have outbid the likes of Jay-Z and Beyonce with his half billion kronor offer ($70 million) for a 2,000-square-metre Beverly Hills mansion. READ  

Accelerated for Ice Music
Ice Music taps Texas troubadour for new tunes
A scene from a 2014 Ice Music concert in Luleå. Photo: Graeme Richardson/Swedish Lapland

Ice Music taps Texas troubadour for new tunes

The world's "coolest concert" is set for a Texas twist in 2015 when Luleå's innovative Ice Music welcomes American musical talent from Austin, home of the South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival. READ  

Second baby on the way for Princess Madeleine
Princess Madeleine at the previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Second baby on the way for Princess Madeleine

UPDATED: Sweden's Royal Court has announced that Princess Madeleine is pregnant with the second child of her financier husband Chris O'Neill. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 18th to 25th
National
'Unprecedented' Russian activity: Armed Forces
Society
Interview: The Local chats with Melinda Gates
Society
VIDEO: Stockholmers try out some Swedish tongue twisters
Society
Eight things to do when it gets dark in Umeå
Blog updates

19 December

-t or no -t? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! There are many things in the Swedish language that can give you a grey hair or two,..." READ »

 

19 December

Editor’s Blog, December 19th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Father Time has taken another week from us, but never fear – good old Father..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Inside Sweden's first 'light therapy' school
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: December 17th
Estelle through the years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Society
Why are there so many 100-year-olds in one Swedish town?
Society
Is it time to better celebrate Sweden's diverse identity?
Gallery
Property of the week: Huddinge
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
CATCH UP: Russian plane in Baltic near-miss drama
Lifestyle
How my compass drew me to Sweden
National
The man whose memory you need to remember
Gallery
People-watching: December 13th - 14th
Sponsored Article
How to get your own office anywhere in the world
Politics
'Our party will stand alone': Stefan Löfven
Society
The Local chats to Ruben Östlund, director of Golden Globe nominated Force Majeure
Lifestyle
Ten things to know before a Swedish party
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 12th to 19th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The 2014 Nobel Banquet
National
The Local's guide to the Nobel Prizes 2014
Education
Introducing... Education in Stockholm
Society
The Swedish Christmas market with a twist
Lifestyle
Why do so many Swedes have tattoos?
Society
Get 20% off Swedish Christmas decorations
National
Dewani family: We only heard half the story
Business & Money
Business in Stockholm: 'efficiency is money'
Gallery
Property of the week: Östermalm
National
Meet the Swedes hosting festive feasts for 'lonely' guests
Gallery
TIMELINE: Swedish honeymoon killing murder trial
Gallery
People-watching: December 7th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: What's it like to fly planes in Sweden?
National
Submarine hunters 'robbed' of reward cash
National
The Local's Countdown to Christmas
National
'Dangerous' USB charger recalled in Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's King and Queen wrap up France tour
National
Analysis: Should Snowden get asylum in Sweden?
National
Swedish schoolboy in female saint role row
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's political crisis unfolds
Gallery
People-watching: December 3rd
National
What happened to Sweden's ice bucket cash?
Lifestyle
Top Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
SIS: the thinking behind globalised learning
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

817
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options