Spanish Supreme Court Rules Mandatory Controversial Civics Course Isn’t Indoctrination
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
MADRID, February 20, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Spanish Supreme Court has ruled that the government’s mandatory Education for Citizenship and Human Rights (EpC) course does not violate the constitutional right of parents to instruct their children on matters of morality, and that Spaniards do not have the right to withhold their children from the course on the grounds of conscientious objection.
However, the court also decreed that EpC cannot be used for "indoctrination" or "proselytizing" by endorsing a particular viewpoint regarding contentious moral issues.
"In a democratic society, the educational administration should not be the one to exercise judgment on controversial moral issues," said the court. Such determinations, it added, "belong to the area of free debate in civil society, where the vertical teacher-student relationship does not exist, and of course to individual consciences."
Teachers, added the court, "must limit themselves to explain and inform" on controversial issues "with neutrality, without indoctrination" and states that EpC "does not authorize the educational administration nor centers of education, nor teachers, to impose or inculcate particular points of view on moral issues that are controversial in Spanish society."
Although teachers will not be permitted to endorse a particular viewpoint under the court’s ruling, they will be able to present arguments in favor of homosexual behavior and moral relativism to students.
Moreover, the course materials themselves state that students are to make a "critical evaluation of the social and sexual division of labor and racist, xenophobic, sexist, and homophobic social prejudices" and instructs teachers to "revise the student’s attitude towards homosexuality," which some say leaves little room for an "unbiased" presentation of controversial material.
Although the Supreme Court had already given a particular judgment on four cases, it did not give its general ruling until Tuesday of this week.
Most opponents of EpC have declared victory in the case, noting that they may still have recourse to the courts if children are led to a particular viewpoint they object to. However, some have said that they will continue to boycott the course and will appeal their case to the nation’s Constitutional Court and beyond.
Carmen Morneo of the anti-EpC group Not One Step Back points out that "one may receive one’s diploma with up to three failing grades," hinting at a strategy for continuing the boycott.
Spain’s Minister of Education, Mercedes Cabrera, acknowledged the Court’s ruling and urged Spain’s teachers and schools to address controversial issues from all angles, without indicating a preference for any one. However, she also asserted that "the sentence says that the exemption or non-attendance to this course may violate the citizenship rights that all boys and girls have in this system," suggesting that there would be negative consequences for those who continued to resist.
Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Spanish Government Seeks to Force Homosexual Indoctrination on Students Living Abroad
Spanish Families Defy Mandatory Homosexual Indoctrination in New Video
Children Can be Compelled to Receive Homosexual Indoctrination against Parents’ Wishes: Spanish Supreme Court