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God 'not welcome' at school advent services

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 25 Nov 2012, 09:45

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

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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."

Story continues below…

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)

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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

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

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.


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.
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