The Government of the Grand Duchy is considering a bill to abolish religion and ethics classes in public schools (between which students could freely choose), and instead introduce courses on “values” that would be compulsory for all. The Minister for Education, Mr. Claude Meisch, justified this reform proposal by saying that in this way pupils would be enabled to “build their own values”. (Read here)
Will they really? The simple fact is that the “liberal” politician is seeking to replace freedom of choice by compulsory indoctrination.
It is a common standard in Europe that religion classes in public schools are never compulsory, but that pupils may (at their own request, or, if they are below a certain age, at the request of their parents) always “opt out”. This is what is called “negative” religious freedom. Some countries, among them Luxembourg, provide that pupils who do not participate in confessional religion classes must instead attend non-religious courses on “ethics”. But there is always freedom of choice.
By abolishing religion classes and instead introducing compulsory teaching on “values”, the Luxembourg government plans to set an end to that freedom. In fact, this means that pupils will be indoctrinated with the government’s own set of “values”. Abolishing freedom of choice and at the same time saying that this will enable pupils to make their own choices sounds rather disingenuous. We may refer on this occasion to what we have said elsewhere on this website with regard to “sexual education” classes: it is an internationally recognized human right for parents “to ensure the education and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious, philosophical and pedagogical convictions”. The Sate’s role in education is therefore merely ancillary: it has to help and assist parents in educating their children according to their values; the government must therefore abstain from indoctrinating children with its own ideology. The project of a compusory “values” class is in clear and open contradiction to this fundamental right.
There is currently is a citizens’ initiative in Luxembourg to oppose the “liberal”-socialist-green government’s totalitarian project. It is called “fir de Choix” (which translates as “pro-choice” and gives a totally new and very positive meaning to these words). The initiative claims to have collected 25.000 signatures, which for a country of the size of Luxembourg (550.000 inhabitants, among them many non-citizens) is a remarkable outcome. To show our moral support, we have included it in our Links list.