Opinion: Religious Education Should Teach Children Pluralism and Tolerance

June 24, 2004

Source: The Christian Science Monitor


On June 24, 2004 The Christian Science Monitor ran an opinion piece by Ghassan Rubeiz in which he argued, "In madrassahs and Sunday Schools around the world, children are taught about how to live a God-centered life. But children also learn prejudice and discrimination when they are taught that people of other religions are not 'saved,' or that those who believe differently are 'misled.' I speak from experience: As an Arab-American who grew up in a Christian environment in Lebanon, a country of 13 recognized religious sects, which experienced political sectarian meltdown in the 1980s. Unfortunately, much of the rest of the world is also turning sectarian through the wrong kind of religious education...NGOs and governments may one day adopt the theme of religious pluralism for children and advocate for it globally. Children deserve to be protected from abuse of fanatic religious socialization just as much as they deserve to be protected from sexual abuse or child labor. Through the Convention on the Rights of the Child, NGOs can popularize the religious pluralism agenda for children."