Parents or the State?

Parents or the State?
By Ruth Nordström, Editor
Ruby Harrold-Claesson




Ruth Nordström is the chairperson for Swedish Human Rights Lawyers and also for The National Organization PRIM. Ruth Nordström is an Editorializer at the Christian newspaper, Världen idag (The World Today).  

This article, 'Föräldrar eller staten?' was previously published in Världen idag on March 23, 2012.
The article has been translated into English by Ruby Harrold-Claesson, lawyer and president of the NCHR/NKMR.
It is published here with the kind consent of the author.



Swedish society is well regulated. Our laws and regulations are very detailed and Swedish authorities regulate everything from the cumpolsary use of bicycle helmets to the recommended eight slices of bread per day. Since the new Education Act came into force, teaching in Swedish schools is now being disected and controlled in detail in the aim of removing all the Christian elements.

Världen idag/The World Today has previously drawn attention to an initiative of the National Organization PRIM, to initiate a petition against the new Education Act, and its regulations and practices. After the new Education Act came into force, a number of schools were refused the right to start or expand operations, primarily because the school's bylaws be considered to be too "Christian" and that the Christian schools are not considered to ensure religious volunteerism.

The new rules concern not only the Christian schools, but also the municipal schools. While the UN Convention on children's rights ensure children's rights to spiritual development, the National School Board and the Education Inspectorate, claim on the contrary that no religious elements, neither prayer, blessing nor creed, are allowed during municipal schools end of year ceremonies that take place in church.

Only a single hymn may be sung and the pastor may attend provided that he does not deliver a religious message. The consequence will be that Swedish students will be deprived of the knowledge, experience and understanding of the culture and traditions that shaped the Swedish society for a thousand years.

All international treaties and conventions concerning the right to education emphasize the rights of parents to choose their children's education. The parents are therefore those who are considered to be their children's primary educators and trainers, not the state. ECHR First Protocol states clearly that the state is obliged to respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their religious beliefs or philosophical convictions.

The Education Inspectorate and the National School Board are focused on removing Christian teachings from Swedish schools to distinguish value-neutral education. This approach runs counter to the European Court, which has determined that that is impossible, because the philosophical, religious and other value-based aspects are included in most school subjects. Therefore it can never be the State's prerogative to prohibit denominational teaching.

On Monday, March 19 PRIM and Världen idag/The World Today handed over thousands of signatures to the European Commission. EU Commission President Barroso's adviser in the dialogue between the EU and, among others, Christian denominations, received the petition and promised to raise the issue in the European Commission. The petition has also been given to the European Parliament and to other European bodies.

If we want to preserve the possibility to ensure that the next generation will have a Christian value base, we need to be prepared to fight for parents' and children's rights. Our children do not belong to the state, they belong to the parents.

How the Convention on the Rights of the Child Will Destroy Family Sanctity
By Aaron Young, - May 3, 2010

The Wrongs of The United Nations' Rights of The Child
By Charles H. Francis, Esq.

Sweden: Parental Inquisition
By Peter Kamakawiwoole, - Jan. 26, 2009

Confiscating children: When parents become victims
By Ruby Harrold-Claesson

A misguided crusade that will break up families
Lynette Burrows defends parents' rights

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