Protestants Condemn Content of New Schoolbook

2005 2005-01-13T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The administration of a number of protestant confessions of Belarus state that Protestants are purposefully discredited in the new schoolbook “Fundamentals of Security and Vital Activity”. The Ministry of Education doesn’t take the blame, but promises to revise the content of the chapter “Beware of Sects”.

“Are Protestant churches busy with earning money? Are the principles of their work the same to the principles of swindlers and fortunetellers?” – ask the leaders of Protestant churches in their letter to the head of the state. To their mind, distribution of false information foments religious enmity. That’s why they demand to exclude the book from the school curriculum.

In its official response the Ministry of Education called the accusations groundless. In her interview the vice-head of the board of secondary education Valiantsina Mayewskaya said:

-- The Committee on Religions considered their application as well: we didn’t limit their rights in any respect. There’s only one paragraph which says there are sects of Seven’s day Adventists, Our Lady church, “White Congregation”, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the methods of their work are similar. What can be insulting there? It is reference information about them. When we reissue the book, we will come back to this issue and may write it in another way. But they are always dissatisfied.”

According to representatives of Protestant churches, this is not the first case when insulting information about them appears in schoolbooks – before that it was published in the books “Man. Society. State” and “Man in the World of Culture”. Every time the authorities promised to correct the mistakes.

The major presbyter of Minsk region Henadz Brudzki thusly commented on the situation:

-- At first we were defamed in the textbook, but then we were told it was libel, but it wasn’t aimed at us. They also promised to us to correct it. We believed them, but with every reissue the material becomes even more libeling: only a dilettante can compare “White Congregation” to Baptists, or one could purposefully defame Baptists for good money. If all our contacts with the authorities end up with such come-offs, it can turn into religious chauvinism. We are to stop this religious war somehow.

Now the heads of a number of churches discuss the possibility to apply to court concerning protection of honor and dignity of Protestant church in Belarus.

According to RFE/RL