The Greek government has launched an attack on the Council of State after this week’s decision that changes in grade-school religion lessons are unconstitutional.
The decision concerns policy changes made by former education minister Nikos Filis. The Church of Greece appealed to the highest administrative court on the grounds that the changes remove the emphasis given to the Orthodox faith, Greece’s main religion.
Greece’s Ministry of Education and SYRIZA ruling party issued statements opposing the Council of State decision, accusing the judges of succumbing to church pressure.
In a statement issued by the education ministry, it is said that the new lesson program has been implemented already and is being embraced by teachers and students.
“The Council of State decision on teaching of religion takes the education system and society years back,” the statement adds.
“The Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs declares its determination to continue the work of renewal, pluralism and democratization of curricula and teaching materials at all levels.
“The new teaching of the religion course has been fully incorporated and has been fully accepted by teachers and students because it was a mature demand of Greek society.”
SYRIZA called the Council of State decision scandalous, accusing it of being based on extreme views of theologians.
“Education must cultivate critical thinking, promote the principles and values of freedom, democracy, coexistence and diversity.
“We call on the Ministry of Education to pursue the work of deep reform and modernization of teaching programs that has long since been launched,” an official SYRIZA statement read.