Father Bob, Father Bob, Father Bob…
In today’s paper, Fr Bob has jumped on the “dump Special Religious Education and replace it with General Instruction on Religion” bandwagon. He says: ”
“Children can have religious instruction in parishes, mosques and ashrams.
At school, there ought to be a general religious curriculum to introduce children to the ideas and motivations and rituals – in a word, the ethos – of all the religions…
It should be mum and dad who help children come to conclusions, not the instructor in religious class.”
Yes, Fr Bob, and Mum and Dad have the right to ask a parish priest, a teacher, or a religious instructor, or indeed anyone they trust, to help them in the exercise of teaching their values to their children. A “general religious curriculum” would be a nice thing too, just as a general “science” or “maths” or “literature” curriculum is a good thing, but that doesn’t rule out the perfectly legitimate place for education in doctrine specific to one’s family of origin religion.
The same article also quotes InterAction co-founder Ali Majokah:
The current system is unfair because it allows for indoctrination to occur. It allows for students to be instructed in one religion rather than giving them a broader perspective.
One man’s “indoctrination” is another man’s catechesis and another man’s “values education”. It’s what parents do. And moreover, parents have a right to pass on their beliefs and values to their children, and, as I said above, to seek assistance in this task. One way in which they do this is by their choice of school – which is why the right to have special “denominational” schools must be upheld. Another way is by taking advantage of the state provision for special religious education in state schools. To educate your children in your faith is a major obligation of most religions, including Christianity, and especially Catholicism. It can’t be replaced by a “general mish mash of all things religious”.
Indoctrination. It’s what parents DO.