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Enseignement religieux à l’école publique – situation légale

In Germany, religious education is governed by article 7 of the Basic Law. Placing the entire curriculum under public control, this article implements religious education as a regular teaching subject in public schools, except in non-confessional schools. Parents can however decide for their child to follow religious lessons or not. From the age of 14, pupils can themselves decide to follow these lessons or not. No teacher can be forced to teach religion against his or her will.
As regards the content of religious teaching, the Basic Law stipulates that the religious education shall respect the principles of the religious communities without prejudicing the right of control by the State. Traditionally, religious lessons are organised by the Catholic and the Protestant Churches, the majority of the Länder imposing to follow a secular teaching of moral education (Ethik) to all the students who don’t belong to one of those communities.
The mere exception in the regulation governed by article 7 is the Bremen clause (art.141 of the Basic Law) which states : the first sentence of paragraph 3 of Article 7 shall not apply in any Land in which Land law provided otherwise on January 1, 1949. This clause is currently applied in the Länder of Bremen, Brandenburg and Berlin.

For further information, see the article "Religion in public education" of Hans Michael Heinig in Gerhard Robbers (Hrsg.), Religion in Public Education – La religion dans l’éducation publique, European Consortium for Church and State Research, Trier, 2011, 167-194.

D 18 juillet 2012    AMatthias Koenig AMiriam Schader

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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