A previous web article reported on a recent vote by the Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe (PACoE) to approve a report that claimed creationism was a danger to human rights in Europe.1 While the PACoE vote does not have any legal status, it is assumed to have influence.

That influence perhaps has already been seen.

the .... government decided to ban biology teachers from teaching creationism or intelligent design alongside evolution in independent schools, which includes Christian schools.

This week in Sweden, according to “The Local” (an English-language Swedish news agency), the centre-right coalition government decided to ban biology teachers from teaching creationism or intelligent design alongside evolution in independent schools, which includes Christian schools. There is already such a ban in place in its state government schools (called public schools in the U.S.).

U.K. and U.S. readers may be puzzled as to how the Swedish government can ban something from independent schools such as Christian schools. This is because independent schools in Sweden are not fully independent. While an independent school is privately owned, it receives a grant from the government, which can then determine the school’s curriculum.

The Swedish Education Minister, Jan Björklund, was quoted by “The Local” to say: “Pupils must be protected from all forms of fundamentalism.” Presumably he is not too concerned about atheist fundamentalism that demands the teaching of just one viewpoint in his government schools. This decision by the Swedish government will essentially lead to generations of their schoolchildren—in both secular and Christian schools—to be unable to scientifically critique evolution. That the Swedish system allows such a diktat to apply to Christian schools is, I would contend, a gross infringement of the human rights of Christians in that nation.

At the time of writing this article, I have not read of any reaction from prominent Christian leaders in Sweden. However, the move is in line with other pressures suffered recently by Swedish Christians. For example, in 2004, Pentecostal Pastor Ake Green was convicted of “hate speech” for preaching against homosexual behavior. Originally sentenced to one month in jail, Pastor Green’s sentence was fortunately quashed on appeal. Such a decision by the Swedish government, along with the recent PACoE vote, could create an environment whereby Christian–based voluntary-aided schools in the UK will be threatened with like action if creationism happens to be a part of their science curriculum.

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Footnotes

  1. The Council of Europe (CoE) is not to be confused with the European Union. The CoE is a broad umbrella group of 49 European nations, much akin to the Organisation of American States (OAS) in the Americas, whereas the EU is a closer-knit pseudo-federation of 25 countries. Back
  2. Creationism to be banished from Swedish schools,” The Local, 2007.