Presentation on theme: "Religious Symbols in German Schools Law, Religion and Education: Religious Freedom in the Sphere of Education Conference, Oxford, 8-9 October 2010 Dr Tobias."— Presentation transcript:
Religious Symbols in German Schools Law, Religion and Education: Religious Freedom in the Sphere of Education Conference, Oxford, 8-9 October 2010 Dr Tobias Lock, Faculty of Laws, University College London
Legal Framework I: Guarantees in the Basic Law Article 4 (1) Freedom of faith and of conscience, and freedom to profess a religious or philosophical creed, shall be inviolable. (2) The undisturbed practice of religion shall be guaranteed. Article 6 (2) The care and upbringing of children is the natural right of parents and a duty primarily incumbent upon them. The state shall watch over them in the performance of this duty. Article 7 (1) The entire school system shall be under the supervision of the state.
Legal Framework II Federalism: organization of schools in Länder (state) competence Neutrality of the state in matters of religion and philosophy of life –No state church –But: no laïcité either –rather: ‘open neutrality’ Decisions by Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) on Christian state schools (Baden-Württemberg) and education according to Christian principles (Bavaria): accepted as constitutional Also accepted: school prayer BUT: no identification with a religion
Part I: Symbols Installed by the State: the Crucifix decision Bavarian Regulation: ‘In every classroom a cross shall be affixed’ Constitutional complaint by pupils and their parents: violation of Article 4 (negative freedom) FCC: –The cross as a Christian symbol –Definition of negative freedom of religion –Interference with that freedom by a symbol
Part I: Symbols Installed by the State: the Crucifix decision Dissenting opinion Criticism voiced by commentators Follow-up: –Amendment to Bavarian legislation –Teachers demanding removal of the cross
Part II: Symbols Worn by Teachers: the Ludin Saga Facts: –female Muslim primary school teacher (German national) insisted on wearing a headscarf at school –Was applying for her first job –Authority refused to employ her for lack of aptitude Legal Background –Teachers employed as civil servants (Beamte) –Article 33 (2) Basic Law Every German shall be equally eligible for any public office according to his aptitude, qualifications and professional achievements.
Part II: Symbols Worn by Teachers: the Ludin Saga Federal Administrative Court –Confirmed authority’s decision –Aptitude requires prognosis whether candidate will fulfil their duties –Wearing of headscarf protected by Article 4 –But restrictions possible Neutrality of the state Negative freedom of religion of pupils Federal Constitutional Court –Successful complaint –Technical argument: denial to employ a teacher for the reasons stated requires explicit legislative basis, which was missing
Part II: Symbols Worn by Teachers: the Ludin Saga FCC (cont’d.) –On the headscarf as a religious symbol: subjective test –On interference with negative freedom of pupils: objective test –Explicitly distinguished the crucifix decision Criticism –Dissenting opinion Interesting that it was not questioned that there could be an interference –Commentators Distinction to crucifix not convincing
Part II: Symbols Worn by Teachers: the Ludin Saga Ludin follow-up: –Legislation passed in Baden-Württemberg to ban headscarf –Ludin lost in Federal Administrative Court –No further complaint made Legislation: in 8 out of 16 Länder: ban –In 6 Länder: privileging of Christianity? ‘the [...] portrayal of Christian and Western cultural and educational values does not contradict the conduct required of teachers’ –Federal Administrative Court:
Part III: Symbols Worn by Students Difference to teacher: forced to attend school Interference with student‘s right to religious freedom would hardly be justifiable