Freedom of religion wasn’t formally codified in Sweden until 1952, but for decades Swedish law has forbidden religious teachings in schools. Children are required to attend a government-approved school, and one of the criteria for approval is no religion. This of course refers to the teaching of religion, not teaching about religion: comparative religion studies replaced the subject “Christianity” on the syllabi of Swedish primary schools and high schools in 1969 and still remains. In recent years, however, privately run schools have proliferated in Sweden, many of them backed by religious organisations of various stripes. Thus a new initiative from the multi-party conservative Reinfeldt government to explicitly forbid religious school teaching, e.g. creationism and intelligent design in biology class. They will double the number of inspections of schools regardless of who runs them, ban anonymous donations to schools and make it easier to close schools that break the rules. Well done, say I.

Thinking back on my own school days, I remember a time when things were different. Private schools were almost unknown and mainly associated with the upper class. In my publically-run school in the late 70s, a lukewarm Christianity still lingered in the form av psalm-singing in the mornings and church visits at Christmas. But none of our teachers ever seemed religious. Nobody’s parents were religious. My high-school religion teacher was easy-going and neutral about the various religions we discussed, and only after graduation did I learn that she was actually a member of Evangeliska Fosterlandsstiftelsen, an old missionary outfit inside the Swedish Lutheran church. Sweden was different back then, still incongruously sporting a State Church, with few evangelicals and Moslems making the news.

Says Minister for Education Jan Björklund, “Pupils must be protected from all forms of fundamentalism”. Indeed.

[More blog entries about , , , , , ; , , , , , .]

Comments

  1. #1 paddy
    October 16, 2007

    So that was, what, the first good thing that the government has done? I wonder what the second will be? Or how long we will have to wait for it.

  2. #2 Martin R
    October 16, 2007

    Reinstating the toll gates around Stockholm. They did that too. But I didn’t vote for them.

  3. #3 ArchAsa
    October 16, 2007

    Well, the toll gates was not their idea, in fact they spewed vitriol over the try outs, only to do a double take after reaching power. With the added bonus of stipulating that the money raised should not specifically go to expanding communal transports – which was the main idea – but to build new roads for more traffic!!! Now, as an archaeologist desperate for employment, I will not quarrel too much with that, but it still sticks in my throat.

    Cudos to Major Björklund for finally putting at least a minimum of restraint on the proliferation of religious private schools. The whole idea is an abomination in a democratic country in my opinion, and a recipe for segregation and future disaster.

    However, as a sidenote: The major newspaper DN headed the story with a picture of playing dark skinned obviously muslim girls. This is generally what the media likes to show when the topic is raised. But in the slideshow accompanying the article it clearly states that of the 72 religious private schools, only 9 are muslim and 60(!) are christian… And to tell you the truth, they scare me MORE.

  4. #4 Pierre
    October 16, 2007

    I have to agree with Paddy, it does feel good to know that our government are capable of coming up with something good. Maybe there ought to be one or another inspection in the “common” school too? It was only the last year I read a column in the lokal newspaper written by an angry teacher of the ‘högstadium’ (what ever that is in english)in town who claimed his right to teach intelligent design…

  5. #5 Christina
    October 17, 2007

    That’s it. I’m moving back home.
    We have at least five Christian and one Sikh private schools in this relatively small town. The public schools, which are very good around here, are having to close down due to lack of enrollment. Why? Because the Canadian government says you can’t teach creationism under the heading of biology, and the kids get to learn about contraceptives in high school. So, after the last election, those opposing such blasphemous knowledge as sex ed and evolutionism, Catcher in the Rye etc. and who could afford it, jointly decided to pull their kids out of the public system. This would be why we were known as the capital of teen pregnancies in Canada for the longest time. They’ve all had their babies, left school and gone on welfare by now, though, so now we’re just known as the capital of teen mothers on welfare instead… It’s all very fucked up, and I wish the government would take a firm stand. The again, maybe they ought to deal with abominations such as Bountiful, BC (http://www.rickross.com/reference/polygamy/polygamy99.html) first!

  6. #6 Martin R
    October 17, 2007

    Pierre, the inspections are intended to cover all schools including municipal ones.

    Christina, the girls in expensive private schools are hardly the ones who get pregnant and go on welfare, right?

  7. #7 andrew
    October 17, 2007

    Sweden has abandoned christ and high beauty in favour of the welfare state and national disingration, the former fuelled by indiviudals working on average half a year directly for the government (by paying large income taxes), and the latter fuelled by race and religion-blind policies of mass immigration. The welfare state that productive swedes fund in turn encourages single motherhood and national disintegration (by paying mostly Muslim migrants to do nothing). Sweden has a much smaller genetic underclass than other European nations, especiall Britain, due to eugenic policies carried out into the seventies, but since then has decided to import people from the most unintelligent parts of the world imaginable, the bottom of the barrel being avg 67 IQ somalis.

    As an aside, the great James Watson explains what everybody already knows. As he says, in ten years the genes that govern intelligence will have been discovered and the blank slate worldview will crumble into dust. Bruce Lahn was silenced, others will not be. Race differences are very much back on the agenda, those who cling to the blank slate will have a hell of a storm to weather.

    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article2630748.ece

  8. #8 Martin R
    October 17, 2007

    Woah, a conservative Christian xenophobic racial supremacist!

    I wonder if I should delete that comment. Is it hate speech? Andrew says that Somalis have a low average IQ, which, even if it were true, given the cultural and educational bias built into IQ testing, wouldn’t say much about their actual intelligence.

    I find this sort of freak-show comments kind of morbidly fascinating. Guys, what do you say?

  9. #9 Christina
    October 17, 2007

    Martin, oh, yes they are! That’s the irony – many of them are not allowed to stay with their parents any more after they so obviously did something so sinful as get pregnant out of wedlock. Once they get kicked out, they’ve no choice but to either quit school and go to work (then they get welfare to pay for daycare and some expenses), or they stay in school and have all expenses paid for by the government. The only reason I know how that works is because I used to run a non-profit daycare program for babies of teenage parents. Then there is also a large percenatge of these kids with kids that stay at home with their parents, but they are still entitled to single parents’ benefits from welfare, which they all claim. As long as the teenage custodian claims taxes as single, they get welfare, whether they live with mom and dad or not. Anyhow, my point was that we see the very real consequences of this bullshit about not teaching them about homosexuality, sex, other religions, evolution and whatever else they’re missing out on in our society, and even though the tuition is paid by the partents, the taxpeayers still end up picking up part of the tab. Once you’re in the welfare system, it’s notoriously difficult to get off of it, so sometimes we’ll end up paying for their faulty education until they die. Besides, there just is no excuse for keeping people ignorant even if it doesn’t cosy us taxmoney.

    As for Andrew’s post, kind of proves my point in respect to what happens when you raise people in ignorance. You end up with disrespectful, narrowminded bigots with the braincapacity of a newt. Don’t feed the trolls.

  10. #10 andrew
    October 17, 2007

    Sir, I am a race realist, not supremacist. If I were a supremacist I would say whites are most intelligent. But east asians, brahmin Indians and Ashkenazi Jews are more intelligent than whites. This is what the IQ data shows, and when all races are jumbled together, like in America for example, society becomes stratified by IQ, which correlates with race. So American universities are almost dominated by East Asians, Jews and Brahmin Indians/Parsis, with whites very underrepresented. As are the Hispanics and Blacks, who score poorly on IQ tests, and form a vast and permanent underclass in the US.

  11. #11 andrew
    October 17, 2007

    Note that I also consider East Asians to be better behaved than whites in a given society, and harder workers. Japanese society is vastly superior too western society in terms of general well-being and social togetherness. Less welfare dependency, a million times less crime, better organizational capacity etc, entirely because of the genetic makeup of the Japanese. Indeed Richard Lynn’s first book was about how East Asia’s superior scores on IQ tests and societal stability would lead them to eventually outgrow the west, and China is in the process of proving him right.

  12. #12 ArchAsa
    October 18, 2007

    For anyone suffering under the delusions that IQ actually measures true intelligence and capabiliites (or who just want to read a very good book) I strongly recommend evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould’s “The mismeasure of Man”. He explains what IQ really measures, and also why any mad idea of breeding for intelligence and giving up on the “lower classes” is completely bonkers.

    Martin, let the comments stand – they are stupid but not violently offensive. It is sometimes good to be reminded of the ranting stupidity in existence.

    As an aside, what really makes me angry about the private schools that Christine mentioned is the fact that children are not given the basic democratic right of information and knowledge, after which as adults they have a right to choose their faith and ideology. Parents are allowed to teach them about their values, but not allowed to isolate them from oppsing views.

    Allow sunday/saturday schools of religious teaching for christians and muslims and jews – leave the ordinary school free of it.

  13. #13 Martin R
    October 18, 2007

    I believe that Americans tend to think that any state interference into how they raise their children is a form of government oppression. You know, quite a number of these people believe that being required to pay taxes is government oppression. They think that religious schooling should be the default and that anything else should be an option, not mandatory.

    The real problem is that US and Canadian public funding is allocated to schools regardless of their religious tendencies. Which in turn is a reflection of the number of religious politicians in these countries’ parliaments, and by extension, a reflection of the opinions of American voters. So, basically, the problem is that too many Americans want religious indoctrination in schools.

  14. #14 Denis Vlasov
    October 18, 2007

    Talking ontopic, this news is a good example to follow. But here, in Russia, the situation is quite different. Government-supported course aims to introduce “the basics of the Christian Orthodox culture” into schools, and it has been accomplished successfully in several regions already. I hope that ban on such practices is only a matter of time in Russia (somebody got to sue government in the European Court).

  15. #15 Martin R
    October 18, 2007

    How charmingly Medieval of them. That policy must be so popular in Central Asia…

  16. #16 Thinker
    October 18, 2007

    The real problem is that US and Canadian public funding is allocated to schools regardless of their religious tendencies.

    This is not my experience. I don’t know about Canada, but in the US there is usually quite a stir if there is anything overtly religious going on in a publically funded school (with the obvious exception of the “under God” thing in the pledge of allegiance). Although many parents and some politicians would like to have it otherwise, there is actually a fairly strong separation of church and state.

    During my time in school in the US, I certainly never experienced anything like what many kids in Swedish schools have to endure: ending the school year in church, singing hymns!

    True to American tradition, there have also been a number of court cases on religion in US public schools. Quite consistently, these end with religion not being allowed as part of the school’s activities. (As opposed to groups using the school after hours, which is allowed if all groups are allowed equal access.) Ed Brayton over at Dispatches usually covers these in a very good way.

    As for privately run and funded schools and “home schooling”, that is a completely different matter…

  17. #17 ruthger
    October 20, 2007

    Right, even up to my late teenage years Christianity still had a lot more place in the public school system than any other religion. Who is fooling who?

  18. #18 andrew
    October 24, 2007

    Steve Sailer explains the background to the James Watson controversy, a man found guilty of crimethink. I like Sailer’s analogy with Galeleo. Instead of trial by Inquisition we have trial by the new religion of political correctness. How much longer will this charade continue? It is statistically almost impossible that all races magically evolved identical IQ levels after being seperated by almost 40% years, but leftist policitcal correctness is based not on reason but on faith. If I believe, if I have faith that there are no race differences beneath the surface, then it is true. And so a generation of Watsons are forced to mumble angrily – E pur si muove!!!!

    http://www.vdare.com/sailer/071021_watson.htm

  19. #19 GenesForLife
    July 8, 2009

    Andrew,

    Your assumptions are flawed in one major way, even if there would generally seem to be a correlation between the average IQs of different categories of people, the average wouldn’t exercise any influence on the highest possible/ lowest possible IQs from any category, which basically means, genes are no constraint on IQ levels, which is what you seem to be implying.

    Just by there being more people of moderate IQ, in relation to those categorized as being of high IQ, the average can be skewed, and unfavorably so.

    Basically, Eugenics is what I call pseudoscience.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.