Religion in Schools / Godsdiens in skole

GODSDIENS IN SKOLE

Die SAOU verklaar onomwonde:

  • Ons aanvaar, respekteer en implementeer die waardes en letter van die Grondwet. Dit sluit in die vryheid van elkeen se reg op godsdiensvryheid. Ook die vryheid om godsdiens te beoefen by staatsinstellings soos openbare skole.
  • Ons tref ‘n duidelike onderskeid tussen –

o     Godsdiensonderrig;

o     Godsdiensonderwys; en

  • Die komende hofsaak op 15 -17 Mei 2017 fokus op godsdiensbeoefening by skole, dws daardie benadering van ‘n betrokke skool jeens bv saalopening, lofprysing, gebed, ens.
  • Ons aanvaar en ondersteun godsdiensonderwys by skole sodat elke leerling behoorlik ingelig kan word oor die verskeidenheid van godsdienste en wat hulle van mekaar onderskei. Dit word beskou as ‘n noodsaaklike en verpligte leerveld vir elke leerling binne die amptelike leerplanne. So kan elkeen kennis opbou en respek ontwikkel vir alle gelowe.
  • Ondanks skerp politieke verskille en selfs gewapende konflik oor dekades, het Suid-Afrika ‘n besonderse bate in godsdiensvryheid en -verdraagsaamheid. Nog nooit het Suid-Afrika die soort godsdienskonflik ervaar soos in Noord-Ierland en op baie plekke in die Midde-Ooste nie. Dáár skep godsdiensverskille en onverdraagsaamheid byna onoplosbare uitdagings. Dit is in wesenlike belang van die land dat hier nie godsdiensgeskille ontwikkel, wat bykomend tot die rasse-verskille en finansiële ongelykheid, bydra tot die verdieping van probleme nie.
  • Die SAOU aanvaar en ondersteun die bestaande beleid oor godsdiensbeoefening by skole soos vervat in die Nasionale Beleid vir Godsdiens en Onderwys (sedert 2003 die magtigende raamwerk). Na die inwin van deskundige regsadvies, is ons oortuig dat dit versoenbaar is met die bepalings van die Grondwet in artikel 15 (2). Dit bepaal soos volg: Godsdiensbeoefening mag by staatsinstellings plaasvind op voorwaarde (a) dat dit bly binne die reëls wat neergelê is deur die betrokke openbare gesag, (b) dit geskied op billike basis en (c) bywoning vry en vrywillig is.
  • Die veldtog om godsdiensbeoefening in skole te verbied of te omvorm word gedryf deur die Organisasie vir Godsdiensonderrig en Demokrasie (OGOD) onder die leiding van mnr. Hans Pietersen. Die SAOU het hoegenaamd geen bande of enige kommunikasie met die organisasie nie en het in geen mate met die organisasie oorleg gepleeg, beraadslaag of gekonsulteer nie.
  • Die SAOU is in beginsel nie ten gunste van die OGOD-inisiatief nie en het dit uitdruklik in die openbaar gesê. Tog erken die SAOU enige burger of instelling se reg om toegang tot die hof te hê oor enige saak van openbare belang.
  • Die SAOU is ‘n vriend van die hof in die saak, nie ‘n vriend van mnr Pietersen en sy organisasie nie. Ons toetrede tot die hofsaak moet in geen opsig hoegenaamd gesien word as ‘n aksie teen Christenskap en ‘n ondersteuning van mnr. Hans Pietersen se ateïstiese sienings nie.
  • Die enigste rede waarom die SAOU toegetree het tot die saak, is om ‘n bydrae te probeer lewer wat sal verseker dat die huidige beleid bly staan. Dit bly die SAOU se oortuiging dat die huidige beleid die beste raamwerk skep waarbinne skole en ouers die nodige vryheid het om

‘n eie benadering tot godsdiensbeoefening te formuleer en toe te pas.

  • Die meerderheid van die SAOU se lede is Christene. Die SAOU is hoegenaamd nie skaam daaroor nie. Van die SAOU se lede behoort ook aan ander godsdienste soos die Hindoe en Moslem-geloof. Ook daaroor is ons nie skaam nie.
  • Die oorgrote meerderheid van ons lede lewer diens in heterogene, veelrassige en multi-kulturele gemeenskappe. Ons benadering kan dus nie uitsluitend of eksklusief wees nie.
  • Ons erken en bevorder elke lid se reg om godsdiens te beoefen. Ook om by vrye keuse betrokke te wees by die opstel en uitvoering van die benadering oor godsdiensbeoefening van die skool waar hy of sy in diens is.
  • Die SAOU is oortuig dit sal hoogs onwenslik wees as OGOD hulle sin in die hofsaak kry. Ons het volle vertroue dat die Hof sal bevind dat die Beleid nie teenstrydig is met die Grondwet nie. Daarom ondersteun ons die reg van die ses(6) betrokke skole om hulle reëls vir godsdiensbeoefening binne die huidige statutêre raamwerk wat al vir bykans 14 jaar bestaan, te formuleer.
  • Ons veroordeel en distansieer ons van enige kwetsende en/of diskriminerende optrede van enigiemand teenoor leerlinge of onderwysers op grond van hulle geloofsoortuigings, of hulle vrye keuse om nie aan ‘n bepaalde skool se godsdiens-beoefening deel te neem nie, of hulle reg om binne die raamwerk van die Beleid ‘n eie benadering tot godsdiensbeoefening te kan saamstel.
  • Ons is oortuig dit sal ‘n groot terugslag vir alle gelowe wees indien OGOD die saak sou wen.

Die gevolg sal waarskynlik wees dat die Departement van Basiese Onderwys op grond van ‘n hofbevel gedwing kan word om die Beleid oor godsdiens in skole te moet hersien. Die onsekere uitkoms daarvan kan godsdiensbeoefening soos ons dit tans ken, ernstig in gedrang bring.

En dit is die laaste ding wat ons wil sien.

Vir meer inligting in die verband besoek www.godsdiensinskole.com

 


The SAOU states unequivocally that:

  • We accept, respect and implement the values and letter of the Constitution. This includes the right of everyone to religious freedom. It also includes the freedom to practice religious observances in state institutions such as public schools.
  • We make a clear distinction between –

o     Religion education;

o     Religious instruction; and

  • Religious observances. The court case scheduled for 15-17 May 2017 will focus on religious observances in public schools, that is, a school’s approach to assemblies, worship, prayers etc.
  • We accept and support religion education at schools so that every learner can be properly informed about the variety of different religions and what distinguishes one from the other. This is regarded as an essential part of the compulsory education of every learner within the official curriculum. In this way, each one can acquire knowledge and develop respect for all religions.
  • Despite sharp political differences and even armed conflict over decades, South Africa has maintained a unique freedom of religion and tolerance. South Africa has never experienced the kind of religious conflict seen in Northern Ireland and in many parts of the Middle East. In those places differences in religion and religious practices have created intolerance and almost unresolvable religious differences. It is in the best interests of our country that religious differences do not develop here. Such developments can only contribute to racial conflict, financial disparities and a deepening of problems.
  • The SAOU accepts and supports the current policy regarding religious observances in schools as contemplated in the National Policy on Religion and Education (the enabling framework since 2003). Having obtained expert legal advice, we are convinced that this is in line with the prescripts of Section 15(2) of the Constitution. Section 15(2) states the following: Religious observances may take place in state institutions on condition that (a) it follows rules made by the appropriate public authority, (b) it is conducted on an equitable basis, and (c) attendance is free and voluntary.
  • The campaign to curb or prohibit religious observances in schools is driven by the Organisasie vir Godsdiensonderrig en Demokrasie (OGOD) lead by Mr Hans Pietersen.
  • The SAOU has no ties or communication with the organization whatsoever, and has not in any way consulted with, or engaged in discussions with them.
  • The SAOU is, as a matter of principle, not in favour of the OGOD initiative and has categorically, publically stated its position. Nevertheless, the SAOU recognizes the right of any individual or institution to approach the courts on any matter of national importance.
  • In this particular case the SAOU is a friend of the court. The SAOU is not a friend of Mr Hans Pietersen or OGOD. Our participation in the court case should not in any way whatever, be seen as an action against Christianity or support for Mr Hans Pietersen’s atheistic opinions.
  • The only reason the SAOU has become involved in this case is to contribute and to attempt to ensure that the current policy remains in place. It remains the SAOU’s conviction that the current policy is the best framework within which schools and parents have the freedom to formulate and apply an own approach to religious observances.
  • The majority of the SAOU’s members are Christian. The SAOU is not ashamed of this. Some of the SAOU’s members belong to other religions, for example, we have Hindu and Muslim members. Again, we are not ashamed of this.
  • The greater majority of our members deliver service in heterogeneous, multi-racial and multi-cultural communities. Our approach can thus not be one of rejection or exclusivity.
  • We recognize and promote every member’s right to practice his/her religion as well as to be freely involved (if so desired) in the structuring and implementation of religious observances at the school where he or she is in service.
  • The SAOU is firmly of the opinion that it will be highly undesirable should the Court rule in OGOD’s favour. We trust that the Court will find that the Policy complies with the Constitution. Therefore, we fully support the right of the six (6) schools involved in the court case to determine their own particular rules for religious observances in terms of the Policy as the statutory framework that has been in existence for almost 14 years.
  • We condemn and reject any damaging and/or discriminating actions perpetrated by anyone against learners or educators on grounds of their religious convictions, or their free choice not to participate in specific school religious observances, or their right to conduct an own approach to religious observances within the prescripts of the policy.
  • We believe that it will be a major setback for all religions should OGOD win the case. It would probably result in the Department of Basic Education being forced by a court order to revise the Policy for religion in schools. The uncertain outcome of that could put religious observances in schools as we currently know it, in jeopardy.

And that is the last thing we would want to see happening.

For more information visit www.religioninschools.com