Why did Argentina banish religion of public schools?

The Supreme Court agreed with parents who denounced discrimination against their children for not wanting to study this subject

Why did Argentina banish religion of public schools?

133 years ago, specifically in 1884, the South American country passed Law 1420 that said public education should be secular. On that premise, Argentina built its educational model, which was based on three pillars: public, free, and mandatory. The religion? It would be an optional subject, which should have parental authorization and it should be issued outside of school hours.

However, it has had to spend almost a century and a half for that model to be ratified by the Supreme Court of Justice. The most curious thing is that it has been the northern state of Salta, one of the most Catholic in the country, that established the historic decision. This region decided to ignore the secular model of the rest of the country and endorsed by law in its public schools to pray at the beginning of classes, making religion part of the school program.

Some mothers in this state had been reporting for months that their children were suffering discrimination because they did not want to study religion and the judges agreed with them: "including religion in the syllabus with the backing of a religious authority favors discriminatory behavior towards students. They are not part of the predominant (Catholic) religious group, which can generate inequality. "

The highest authority, of the Argentine justice system, urged the provincial authorities of Salta to comply with the sentence and ensure the end of religious rites during the school day. In addition, it annulled the norm that forced the parents to declare if they wanted their children to receive religious education.

Torcuato Sozio, representative of the Civil Rights Association (ADC), who accompanied the complaining parents in this process, did not hide his satisfaction: "It is an excellent decision, we are very happy because we were the ones who promoted this action and for what it supposes for the Argentines ".

This decision generated great expectation in the country, both in Buenos Aires and Salta Capital, where in the days before the Court's ruling several demonstrations were recorded both for and against religious education in public schools. The maximum Salta court had initially given the reason to the provincial authorities, but that was when the ADC decided to appeal.

Víctor Abramovich, Attorney General in the Supreme Court, supported the cause of this Association, noting that many schools in Salta did not offer alternatives to religion and that in school newsletters students who refused to study religion were labeled as "non-believers".

Therefore, from the next academic year, it is expected that neither in Salta nor will be taughtt religion in any other province, regardless of what it may be, in public schools during school hours. 

 

Latin American Post | José María González Alonso
Translated by Marcela Peñaloza

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