Looking for Sean McLachlan? He mostly hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog these days, but feel free to nose around this blog for some fun older posts!

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Wednesday, 9 April 2008

The Religion Room

Yesterday Almudena and I took Julián to see the school he'll be going to next year. I'd never gotten a good look at a Spanish public school before and I have to say I was impressed. The classrooms were well stocked, everything was clean, and they had some amazing computerized blackboards that immediately hypnotized all the toddlers on the tour.

One room they didn't show us was the classroom for religion. The topic is optional, although the conservative party wants to change that, and about half the parents opt for their child to have an hour of reading instead.

I'll be one of those parents. We passed by the religion class on the tour and I poked my head in. Virtually everything was Christian--posters on the life of Jesus, the Ten Commandments, a crucifix at the front of the class, etc. At the back of the class there was one poster on the "Religions of the World" that listed Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. There are a few more than that, folks!

I told this to Almudena and she just shrugged, saying "Religion class in Spain is Catholicism."

OK, fair enough. The vast majority of Spaniards are at least nominally Catholic, but I want my kid to have a well-rounded religious education. I'm an agnostic, but I think it's important.

It'll be easy enough. We know Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, Pagans, Bahai, and Zoroastrians. I even know one amusing little atheist who insists that his "knowing" there is no god is somehow less dogmatic than religious people "knowing" there is.

Between all these people and our well-stocked library I think we can educate him about all types of belief, not just the dominant one in his culture. Education isn't just about teaching kids the familiar, it's about exposing them to the different.

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