Ethics Or Religion In Schools?

Finland has recently witnessed an outflow of individuals who were members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church due to disagreement on the issues of gays and lesbians. So far, teachers have not witnessed parents shifting their child from religion to ethics classes which many expected would occur as many people became disaffected with religion. In Finland, students take religion as part of the school curriculum although since 1985 they have the option of taking an ethics class. Satu Honkala, head teacher of the Latokartano Comprehensive School notes nearly half the students in this school either take the ethics class or a class that presents their religion rather than that of the Lutheran Church. Figures indicate no more than 10% of students in Finnish schools opt for the ethics course. The prevailing feeling is that religion should be taught in schools. However, there is a move to giving parents the initial option of whether they wish their child in a religious or ethics class at the beginning of the semester. Currently, parents must request the ethics class.

As an American it has always been my nation’s belief that religion does not belong in a public school. There is nothing to prevent teaching about religion, but the concept of instilling religious beliefs goes against our system of education.