Thursday, March 08, 2007

Georgian Orthodox Education

IWPR reports on the teaching of Orthodox Christianity in Georgian schools, and the conflicts with families of other religions. One point to be made out of this is the importance of religion as a powerful cultural marker in post-Soviet countries. Most Georgians undoubtedly see Orthodoxy as part of Georgianness, despite the acknowledged presence of religious minorities, such as Muslims in Ajaria. Beyond that, however, religion plays a major role in Georgian identity in particular. The republic issued a commemorative coin for the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. When identifications between a faith and national community are that strong, all minorities are stuck in an uphill battle.

Israel might be an exception to this, as despite its being "the Jewish state," you don't generally hear complaints about religious oppression of non-Jews. Part of that, however, may be because the religious groups here are somewhat geographically segregated, and were dramatically so in the state's formative period. I've never looked into the history of Israeli education to see how religious education evolved over time.


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