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Russia introduces RE in schools

Associated Press reports that school administrators in the Noginsk district, with some 20,000 students about 22 miles southeast of Moscow, have added religion to the curriculum as a moral framework to replace Lenin's now discredited communist dogma. After a recent endorsement from the Education Ministry, such programs look set to spring up around the country -- despite a federal law prohibiting religion in schools and the Russian constitution's separation of church and state. The full report (see link below) also says "Supporters of Orthodox culture classes so far have been more vocal than opponents. On Dec. 15, several hundred people gathered with icons and crosses in front of the Education Ministry, saying they were defending ethnic Russians' right to know their culture."

Human rights groups worry that bringing the dominant Russian Orthodox Church into public schools will upset the country's fragile ethnic peace.

Officials in Noginsk and the local priests who helped develop the class, "The Fundamentals of Orthodox Culture," say their version of the subject is respectful to other faiths. They say they are merely exposing students to the country's traditional religion, which they consider essential for understanding Russia, its art and its literature.

School officials are quick to point out that anyone can opt out of the class.

AP via

6 Jan 2003