Against the Clericalization of Education!

As they have many times previously, activists of civil society are opposing the loss of the state’s secular character and every attempt to clericalize the state.

This time, we speak out against the scandalous resolution by the Minister of Education and Sport, Ljiljana Colic, to arbitrarily exclude Darwin's theory of evolution from school curricula and programs. She claims that "it is just a dogmatic theory, as is the theory that says that God created man," and asserts that "both theories exist parallel to each other and legitimately in the world."

We believe that excluding one of the most significant theories in the history of civilization and equalizing it to the Church’s creation theo­ry furthers the radicalization of clericalism and funda­mentalism, which has been very destructive during the past years. Additionally, this intentional deci­sion taken by a person employed by the Faculty of Philology has absolutely no scientific or rational justification.

The Ministry of Education and Sport released a brief report in which it stated that this decision has not yet been put into effect, but Ljiljana Colic's public addresses failed to confirm this. It is on this basis that we raise our voices in protest.

If this proposal is accepted, Serbia will join the small number of Islamic states where Wahhabism and similar fundamentalist sects domi­nate and the part of the American school system that is under the influence of extreme Protestant fac­tions. The scientifically approved theory of evolution is taught in religious schools - Christian, Islamic, and Jewish. As every educated theologian knows, the theory of evolution does not oppose biblical doctrine. Moreover, all contemporary science is based precisely on the theory of evolution. Banning sci­ence in the name of the Church is a retrograde tendency, and Minister Ljiljana Colic's association with the Serbian Orthodox Church promotes the deprivation of the demo­cratic rights of children, citizens, and educators. If this policy is imple­mented, Serbia would indisputably become the first European state that practices a fun­damentalist theory of evolution.

Following these societal ten­dencies, we are now asking our­selves whether the Church will soon be intervening in health care. Will abortion be banned? Will contraception be banned? Will we now be forced to use the ancient calendar? Will there be massive demonization and violence against ‘the other’ and those who are different? Will we live strictly according to the codes of the Serbian Orthodox Church?

We are in opposition to the sudden and presumptive decision by the Minister of Education and we support all scientists and scientific institutions that stand in defense of their theories and the principles of science.

We further state that the Serbian Orthodox Church must be separated from the State and its institutions; this interference is in flagrant violation of the Constitution, according to which the State is secular.

We demand that Minister Colic's decision be IMMEDIATELY withdrawn. If it is not, we will seek her resignation.

Women in Black, Belgrade

This announcement is sup­ported by forty groups from Serbia and Montenegro and a large number of individuals

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