Sunday, 17 April 2016

CHURCHES REJECT NATIONAL PLEDGE

CHRISTIAN organisations have castigated the Primary and Secondary Schools Ministry for imposing a national schools pledge without a prior consultation process, expressing fears that there could be an agenda to kick out the Lord’s Prayer recited by students during assemblies.

The Lord’s Prayer is deduced from Matthew 6 and Luke 11 when Jesus Christ’s disciples asked him to teach them how to pray.

The prayer has been a common feature at many public and missionary schools over the decades.

Christians feel this could be stopped by introduction of the Pledge of Allegiance, which is proposed in the curriculum review embarked on in 2014 by Primary and Secondary Schools Minister, Dr Lazarus Dokora.

Instead of the Lord’s Prayer, infant pupils will say: “Almighty God in whose hands our future lies, I salute the national flag, I commit to honesty and dignity of hard work.”

Junior and secondary school students’ Pledge of Allegiance reads, “Almighty God in whose hands our future lies, I salute the national flag, I commit to honesty and dignity of hard work. United in our diversity by our common desire for freedom, justice and equality.

Respecting the brave fathers and mothers who lost lives in the Chimurenga/Umvekela and national liberation struggles.

“We are proud inheritors of the richness of our natural resources. We are proud creators and participants of the richness of our natural resources.

We are proud creators and participants in our vibrant traditions and cultures. ”

With pupils already singing the national anthem and reciting the Lord’s Prayer in 10-30 minute school assemblies, churches fear the Pledge of Allegiance will clutter the programme and eventually see the prayer being kicked out.

Founder and leader of Word of Life International Ministries, Dr Goodwill Shana, said their general sentiment was that if this was pursued, Zimbabwe would follow in the footsteps of the United States which stopped prayer in public schools in the name of separating faith and the state.

“The national pledge (in the US) did away with prayer in schools. The general concern is the process will have Christian values done away with. The process itself was not open, it will be wonderful to have consultation.

“I think EFZ (Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe) is concerned with inroads the multi-faith agenda is making in trying to be as inclusive we slowly find ourselves doing away with Christian values. While we think, a pledge doesn’t appear outwardly negative but in the process where is it going,” the former president of EFZ said.

“From the Constitution, I have a right of association and (that applies) for children as well. The pledge isn’t on the curriculum and it’s an imposition and it might play the role of violating my Constitutional right. When you read newspaper articles (on the pledge) you see that the language used is arrogant, that it’s not optional, what kind of language is that?

“… Our country doesn’t need division, imposing is not the way. I have made (known) my concerns to EFZ – that the church should register concerns strongly.

“We shouldn’t just be against it but let’s have dialogue with the series of stakeholders involved. Politicians say we (church) are important but exclude us in these important decision processes,” Dr Shana said. sunday mail

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