Switzerland: Petition for the removal of religious manual

Source: FSSPX News


A petition calling for the removal of the new method of biblical and inter-religious teaching in French-speaking Switzerland (enseignement biblique et interreligieux romand, ENBIRO) has been submitted to the president of the Greater Council of the canton of Valais, Jean-Paul Duroux.(see DICI n° 84)

Equipped with 2000 signatures, this request was deemed by its presenters as “an initial victory against the law of silence”, said the Valais daily newspaper, Le Nouvelliste. The parental and citizen committee at the origin of this step were delighted to have been able to “break the omerta imposed a priori by the Department of Education of Valais, with the somewhat embarassed silence of the bishopric.”

The signatories of the text consider the manual ENBIRO to be lacking in respect for the Catholic religion. “A veritable bircher-müesli, kind of multi-religious melting pot, smacking of New Age and in fact, putting Jesus and Mohammed on an equal footing”. Judged to be “educationally flawed”, it must therefore be withdrawn immediately.

If their grievances would not be heard by the Department of Education, the petitioners decided to intervene by means of the Greater Council, “in order to ask that it would authorize at the very least, the free choice of the local authorities”. On Thursday at Sion, there was a suggestion of launching a people’s initiative or a referendum.

The Department of Education, Culture and Sport gave this reaction: “Withdrawing ENBIRO would amount to suppressing whole hours worth of classes. Do you think that would be imaginable? In putting this document into our childrens hands, the schools of Valais are doing no more than their duty. The rules were clearly defined in 1991 by Cardinal Schwery (former bishop of Sion): for parents, the number one responsibility is the moral education of their children; for the Church, the task of teaching the catechism; and for the school, religious history”. At the very most, the head of DECS declared himself ready to consider possible minor alterations…