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Letter to the Editor: Keep religion out of schools

Re: God, the new boy in class, Vol 8, No 47, Dec 9 to 15

Dear Madam,

While I enjoyed the catchy title of the article, I was not happy to read its contents. Although Deputy Education Minister Frantisek Tóth feels that journalists are "making a fuss" I'm glad to see that groups such as Inakosť are voicing their concerns.

Religious education in schools is problematic financially and socially. First of all, the Catholic Church as well as other groups (one of which is not Christian) are already generously supported by taxpayers for their day-to-day functioning, staffing, and even charity work. With this money they should be able to organize Sunday school classes for the children of their believers. Schools can support religious education by offering free or low-cost space for a religious group to conduct optional classes. But I think that the burden of these programs should be borne by the religious community (the collection plate, volunteers, etc.) and not by the school system.

Second, it is the role of the Church and parents - not the public schools - to raise children within a specific faith, prepare them for confirmations and other sacraments. While students living in this Christian country should know how Christianity has shaped Slovak history, culture, development, and values, this is not all they should know. A well-rounded citizen should also know about the history, culture, development, and values of other world religions (such as Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism). This would increase Slovaks' tolerance and appreciation of people professing other faiths, which is something that is sorely lacking, both among the citizens and the state administration.

Eva Tornová

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