Tag Archives: opus dei

Brandenburg rejects Opus Dei’s plans for new school

Took a while but I finally got some feedback. Turns out the federal state of Brandenburg has rejected the application Opus Dei has made for the foundation of a privately run school.

The official reason provided is not quite as clear a statement as I might have hoped for, but I won’t start nitpicking here. This is how it goes:

Article 7 of the [German] Constitution establishes that private schools, as an alternative to public schools, are subject to governmental supervision and thus to the laws of the federal state in question. The federal states independently govern educational objectives in their own state constitutions and school laws.

According to § 120 of the Brandenburg school law private schools serve as an alternative to public schools present or intended in the state. The application of the society for the support of schools of free agencies, however, is no full-featured alternative because it exclusively relates to the education of boys. Public schools in the state of Brandenburg, however, are coeducational in accordance with § 4 of the Brandenburg school law.

This regulation for coeducation implements the requirement of § 3 of the Brandenburg school law, according to which schools in the state are to be arranged in a way to “ensure equal access independent of economical or social condition, national origin, political or religious conviction, or gender.”

This is based on the sexual equality laid down in the state’s constitution. There § 12 establishes that nobody may be favoured or disadvantaged because of his gender, and that the state is obliged to ensure the equality of man and woman in education “through effective means.” This includes the equal right of access to educational facilities.

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Potsdam replies to Opus Dei’s plans

The letter to Potsdam’s mayor I quoted in my previous post has been replied to. This is a translated excerpt:

I have read your comments and the manuscript of the ZDF broadcast of April 10th 2007, which unfortunately I could not watch, with interest. Regarding this I would like to let you know that the municipality and the majority of the city councillors are watching the order’s endeavour to found a private school, not a state school, in Potsdam with concern. The city council has, for example, charged the mayor with ensuring that there there are no negotiations with the order regarding the surrender of municipal real estate.

Beyond that, however, the city’s means of influence are very limited. Currently the order has submitted an application for the founding of a school with the federal state’s ministry of education. Should this be approved or a lawsuit against a rejection successful and the order possess an adequate realty, there is no way to impede such a school in Potsdam.

At any rate, the city does not financially support this school in any way.

Finally, I would like to let you know that there are more than 40 public schools in Potsdam at which lessons are done according to a binding curriculum. Parents need not worry their children might not be accepted there.

Well, I never worried about the lack of state schools in Potsdam, but that’s a fair enough remark, I suppose. So, it’s the federal state of Brandenburg, then. Let’s see what they have to say about this.

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Opus Dei to fund school in Potsdam near Berlin

Is there no end? I’ve been discussing Creationism and Intelligent Design with people ad nauseam (and believe me I don’t get tired of discussions quickly) and pulling my hair trying to comprehend why American conservative Christians cannot cope with it being dealt with in church and perhaps Sunday schools, but not in a state school. Now, I hear that right in my back yard, Opus Dei plans to raise 2 million Euros for funding a school near the German capital. Read and watch the full story in German on the ZDF site.

Can we please stop them?

We do not need a recruitment center for Opus Dei. We do not need to provide them with an excellent disguise for subverting the education of our youth. Even if the teachers will be paid by the administration, it requires little imagination predict what the school board would look like. There is even less imagination required here because examples from the United States abound (for the most prominent example ref. here and here).

Here is the translation of my e-mail to the mayor of Potsdam:

Dear Mr. Jakobs,

though I am not a citizen of Potsdam, with reference to the ZDF’s report from April 10th 2007 (http://www.zdf.de/ZDF/download/0,5587,5000716,00.pdf and
http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/inhalt/17/0,4070,5262961-5,00.html) I need to ask if we need, even in light of all budget deficit, a recruitment center for Opus Dei in Germany?

For a long time I was only worried about circumstances in the United States where “Creationism” and “Intelligent Design” are social phenomena, but have, by now at least, largely disappeared from state institutions. Now we are to build a school for Opus Dei members here? An undertaking where the stakeholders announce they will furnish the curriculum with question marks, at least. You do not need a lot of imagination to picture what the school board would look like. This is especially true because examples of what they would look like abound in the United States.

Even traditio.com (a traditional catholic network, which one cannot quite accuse of liberalism) warns of the subversive cult of Opus Dei, (ref. the entry of June 22nd in: http://www.traditio.com/comment/com0506.htm)

One may not share my personal assessment according to which the outlook and methods with which Opus Dei, much like other self-proclaimed “Christian” organizations for laymen (as for example the Discovery Institute in the U. S.), try to exert their influence on the government, eventually to bring about a theocracy and doing so understanding subversion as an acceptable means, justify monitoring through the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution no less than those of Scientology. Even if you do not, those people should still be confined to founding private Sunday Schools. You do not need to promote their influence in state schools.

I, for one, would like to rely on my daughter, when she enrolls in a school in one and a half year, enjoying classes according to a curriculum that was designed and accounted for by elected representatives and quality-assured by our ministers of education … not by Opus Dei, not by whatever Mullah, not even by the Pope Benedikt.

Kind regards,

Karl H. Beckers

If you feel like contacting the mayor, too, here’s how to.

You might also want to take a look at the Opus Dei Awareness Network (ODAN) site.

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