Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Teaching Religion in Public Schools

Medyev and Putin in church
There is an Associated Press news article out this week telling of a new program in which priests are going in to public schools to teach religion. Guess where this might be happening. Wait for it. Wait for it. Russia. Okay, maybe the photo above gave it away. Full disclosure is that the pilot project which will have Russian Orthodox priests teaching faith, will have a companion offered in which students may choose instead to take a class in secular ethics. The AP article is here: Russian pupils to have choice of religion, ethics.

Another article reports:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has supported the idea of introducing a course in religious culture and secular ethics at general schools, and for assigning priests to the army and navy.

Medvedev said at a meeting on Tuesday that he had received letters from the leaders of Russia's main religions, proposing that subjects aimed at the younger generation's spiritual and moral upbringing be introduced at general schools, and priests attached to the army and navy.

"I have made up my mind to support both ideas - the idea of introducing a basic course of religious culture and secular ethics at schools. I also think it worthwhile to assign priests representing Russia's traditional faiths to the armed forces on a permanent basis," Medvedev said.

"I am ready to support both decisions," the president said.
12,000 students will be a part of the pilot project which is "a Kremlin effort to teach young Russians morals in the wake of a turbulent period of uncertainty following the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union."

It's great to here someone touting the obvious point that we must ground children in ethics if we are to find it taking root in their lives and this is something churches can do well. I like the separation of church and state, but if we don't have our children learning a moral basis in school, then we do have to make up that lack at home and by getting them connected to Christian formation in their church home. Right?

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor



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