MANILA

Bishop thumbs down mandatory Bible reading in schools

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A RANKING official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Friday, October 11, expressed reservations over the proposal to make Bible reading mandatory for public school students.

In an interview, CBCP Vice President Bishop Pablo David said he is not fully supportive of the said proposal of House Minority Leader Benny Abante as it may violate the religious freedom of non-Christian students.

"I would understand making Bible reading mandatory in schools run by Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Pentecostals etc. (But) It will not be right to make Bible reading mandatory for students in public schools, who are Muslims, Buddhists, or Animists," said David.

"We are a country that respects religious freedom. There is nothing wrong if it is done in a manner that is respectful of the students' religious affiliations," he added.

He said forcing the Bible on all students may eventually backfire.

"We are happy enough that our public education has not yet assumed the ideology of western secularism, which totally forbids religion in public spaces and institutions. Proof to that is the fact that Catholic students are allowed to recieve religious instructions (Catechism) in public schools," said David.

David said Bible reading may be adopted as an elective subject.

"It would be a great idea to include an elective or optional subject on the Bible in high school, if only to get students to appreciate how most, if not all, are good human and that the values are drawn from this sacred book," said the Kalookan bishop.

Earlier, Abante filed a bill seeking to make Bible reading mandatory in all public elementary and secondary schools in the country.

Based on House Bill 2069, Abante, who is also a pastor of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Ekklesia, reasoned that having such a policy will hopefully guide people, especially the country's leaders, towards the path of righteousness. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)


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