Equality Bill stifles fundamental right to freedom of religion – Church schools

Schools
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Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Church Schools Association, the Secretariat for Catholic Education and the Council of Major Religious Superiors, together with representatives of parent organisations whose children attend Church schools, expressed their serious reservations on the draft Equality Law which is currently being discussed in Parliament.

In a statement on Thursday, the organisations said that the draft undermined the freedom of religious belief with dire consequences on the expression of a Catholic ethos inherent in Church schools, noting that the aim of the bill should have been that of promoting respect towards diversity. The organisations noted that this violates the right of parents to choose a school with a specific ethos for their children.

“Should this draft law not be amended, Catholic educators can be asked to promote values which go against their conscience,” they warned.

Organisations put forward amendments

The Church Schools Association, the Secretariat for Catholic Education and the Council of Major Religious Superiors, together with representatives of parent organisations whose children attend Church schools proposed specific amendments to the draft law, particularly the introduction of a fundamental clause which provides for conscientious objection, together with other amendments that protect the right of parents to choose a Catholic Education for their children.

The organisations said that Church schools remain committed to promote equal dignity and respect for all persons irrespective of their diversity. They urged all MPs to endorse and protect the values of diversity and human dignity, together with freedom of religious belief as long as this falls within the parameters of human rights.