Must education have a religion?
It is getting increasingly clear that God has nothing to do with religion. And that the perpetuation of a particular kind of exclusive belief — this is god and none else — through evangelising and setting up and managing schools and hospitals is a sort of imperialist quest for more minds to sacrifice at the alter of influence, power and money.
So, when Abby Nurre, 26, was fired from a Fort Dodge-based St. Edmonds Catholic School for not believing in god, it didn’t come as a surprise. The fact that she was fired because she revealed this on Facebook too is not unexpected, given that for a large number of developed economy citizens, the social networking site is as real as life itself.
What astonishes me is that believers continue to follow such restrictive and suffocating interpretations of god. I’m sure if I met god and asked him, “Sir, are you a Catholic, do you take care of only the Catholics, or do you exclude non-Catholics from your blessings,” he would only laugh at me — with compassion. He would do the same if I replaced ‘Catholic’ with any other religion, sect or sub-sect.
My objection to organised religion is not that it exists as an alternative power centre with the occasional relief being provided to some of its followers through some of its beliefs — an activity that’s entirely individual and has nothing to do with the organisation.
My objection is the coercive nature of any organisation, particularly one that is as backward, regressive and dogmatic as religion. The nearest it comes to any other form is that of dictatorship that keeps you at the dictator’s mercy — he could be benign but chances are rather low.
Among many other things, organised religion forces people to think and believe in a manner that’s interpreted for them by the self-styled leader of the time. And the first thing there is to have faith — the blinder the better — in a particular individual, book, culture and, of course, the leader.
Nurre’s fault was that she was teaching in a Catholic school while being a non-believer and making no bones about it on Facebook. That honesty cost her the job. The easier thing for the school would have been to handhold her into the Catholic belief system through a system of evangelising the religion does very well. This was also something that would have happened by default in the process of teaching Catholic students.
Pity the school and the religion chose this road.
But some questions still plague the mind. One, should every teacher in a Catholic school necessarily be a Catholic? Two, by that extension, must every teacher in a Sanatan Dharma school be a Hindu, a Muslim in an Islamic school, a Buddhist, a Sikh, a Jain in their respective schools?
Finally, must education have a religion?
Religion this week
Faith and Financial America’s Moral Compass
Becoming One with God: Do We Make It Harder Than It Is?
Where the Bikini Finds Sisterhood With the Hijab
What Kind of Life Do You Want to Live? Reflections On Graduation Day
A primer for reporting on religion