School Prayer Issue Arises In Denmark

Since the end of World War II, Europe has undergone a dramatic revolution in terms of religion and multi-cultural groups within society. It has also witnessed a dramatic decline in church attendance as a higher percent of the population, although Christian, do not wish religion to be part of public institutions. A public school in Jutland has become the center of controversy when some parents complained their children were compelled each morning to recite the “Our Father” prayer. There has never been a legal decision regarding whether or not Danish schools can require children to say prayers.

One would assume the Danish parliament would render a decision on this issue, but there are few politicians who dare to venture into this controversial issue. According to Marianne Jelved, education spokesperson for the Social Socialist People’s Party, “the issue is completely and exclusively a local one.” She argued Parliament should not become involved in dealing with school issues.

The United States has faced this issue and its decision is that while schools can teach about religion, they can not propogate any religion in classrooms. It is a sensible ruling and avoids religious confrontation which inevitably will emerge in Denmark regardless of the refusal of its parliament to take a stand.

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