Hacked or Hacked Off?

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Mefiante (October 02, 2009, 17:34:05 PM):
Sometime between late yesterday afternoon and the time of this post, George Claassen’s “Prometheus Unbound” blog disappeared. Did someone, a religious zealot perhaps, hack WordPress and delete the blog out of spite, or was Dr Claassen fed up with the latest furore over religion in schools?

At this stage one can only wonder. Whatever the case may be, it’s a bit of a loss.

Peter Grant (October 02, 2009, 18:06:22 PM):
Was really disappointed to hear he was backing down. This is even more upsetting. :(

Despite initially suggesting that legal action may be called for against the offending schools, Prof. Claassen has now decided to withdraw from the debate following numerous abusive and threatening calls and emails

I bet they threatened his family.
rwenzori (October 02, 2009, 18:48:25 PM):
Can anyone load the Google cache? I keep getting the "Sorry..yadayada..automated requests" bit.

EDIT. Looks like it got copied here:


State schools contravene law on religious instruction
Posted: 2009-09-18 13:32:08 UTC

Laerskool Stellenbosch, just one of many public (state) schools blatantly ignoring the National Policy on Religion in Education by indoctrinating children in religion during general class-time.

Many South African public (state) schools are blatantly flouting the National Policy on Religion in Education (as published in the Government Gazette 25459 of 12 September 2003, notice 1307) by openly using Christian religious indoctrination to influence pliable and vulnerable children in South Africa.

Three schools are examples of this pressure on children to participate in Christian religious ceremonies, but we have countless examples of many others just as guilty of this illegal practice: Stellenbosch Laerskool, Louw Geldenhuys Laerskool in Linden, Johannesburg, and Baysville Spesiale Skool in East London come to mind.

The National Policy on Religion in Education encompasses the following broad principles, and any school and principal or teacher ignoring or contravening these regulations, are guilty of contravening the National Education Act.

* A public (state) school must be secular and may not pursue and force down a religious ethos;
* A school may not practise the religious apartheid of our past but should rather advance integration of the community at large;
* Reading from the Bible (or any other religious holy book) and praying in general class-time is illegal;
* Sectarian teaching of a specific religion is illegal and a majority adherence of one religion may not lead to the exclusion of other religions or a secular world view.

Yet at Stellenbosch Laerskool, Louw Geldenhuys and Baysville, East London, classes and many school ceremonies are opened with readings from the Bible, praying to the Christian god, at the exclusion of children from other religious communities or secular world views getting an equal opportunity to practice their principles.

An example: at Stellenbosch Laer a child asked her teacher why we hold cancer weeks, HIV/Aids week etc. but not a week for Jesus, as her mother pointed out. The next thing the school instituted a Jesus week (17-20 March 2009) in which children would learn about God’s grace in their lives. (Clearly only the Christian God’s grace).

The school told children: “Every learner, teacher and worker will get a yellow ribbon on Monday to wear for the whole week (totally voluntary). The idea is that everyone will shine their light for Jesus.” (Elke leerder, opvoeder en werker kry Maandag ’n geel strikkie om te dra vir die hele week – heeltemal vrywillig. Die gedagte is dat almal jou liggie helder sien skyn vir Jesus.)

On the Wednesday of the week children would have taken part in holy communion during which wine would have been substituted by grape juice or other cool drinks.

And so it goes on. Only because parents from a secular world view complained about this open contravention of the National Policy on Religion in Education, the school cancelled the Jesus Week. With regard to the yellow ribbons being worn voluntary, these protesting parents pointed out the following:

“The yellow naturally reminds one of the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear during the Second World War in Nazi Germany so that they could be recognised as the rejects of society, although this time the process is reversed so that the ‘good ones’ among us carry The Mark. Learners, teachers and workers who do not want to wear their religious faith on their sleeves, will, naturally voluntarily, get to bear the consequential disrespect. In contravention of the National Policy on Religion in Education the ‘marked’ will immediately be recognised and will thus NOT be protected against ignorance, stereotyping, caricaturisation, and blackballing.”

Furthermore, these parents correctly emphasised in a letter to the principal, Mr. Hawkie de Villiers, and the school parenting body: “What do we have here: naive Christianity or school-supported fascism? This planned ‘ribbon for Jesus’ activity is in direct conflict with the school’s task to protect young children against religious discrimination and coercion.”

rwenzori (October 02, 2009, 18:59:45 PM):


Because of these complaints, the religious policy at the school was put on hold until a new governing body was elected at the beginning of 2009. Since then the illegal practice has again been taken up. On the school’s website these clear contraventions of national policy is there for all to see (http://www.lstellen.wcape.school.za/gedragskode.htm). I only want to emphasise a few examples of this blatant disrespect for the laws of the country and the bad example set to young children:

“Die skool sal ‘n Christelike karakter hê en dit sal in alle aktiwiteite uitgeleef word” (my emphasis);

“Laerskool Stellenbosch stel dit ten doel om: Deur woord en daad Christelike lewenswaardes vir leerders te moduleer om sodoende ‘n lewensingesteldheid te kweek” (my emphasis).

This is just one example of daily contraventions of the National Policy on Religion in Education at Stellenbosch Laerskool and where the wishes and warnings of these parents are still being ignored and in fact ridiculed.

In a letter to the school governing body a groups of parents emphasised the following, still being ignored by the continuing religious policy at the school:

Paragraph 6.1 of the National Policy on Religion in Education clearly indicates that school assemblies must reflect the multi-religious nature of the whole of South Africa: “Where a religious observance is organised, as an official part of the school day, it must accommodate and reflect the multi-religious nature of the country in an appropriate manner.”

“It may not ONLY be Christian,” the parents emphasised. “Does the school governing body also understand it in this way? It means that the practicing of religious rituals during class time may not take place in general classes. Please read the national policy on this carefully.”

The parents also quoted from section 6.3 of the National Policy on Religion in Education:

“A school assembly has the potential for affirming and celebrating unity in diversity, and should be used for this purpose. Public schools may not violate the religious freedom of pupils and teachers by imposing religious uniformity on a religiously diverse school population in school assemblies. Where a religious observance is included in a school assembly, pupils may be excused on grounds of conscience from attending a religious observance component, and equitable arrangements must be made for these pupils (my emphasis).

Stellenbosch Laerskool continues to ignore these regulations. Teachers still use class-time to teach Christianity and pray to a Christian creator-god.

At Louw Geldenhuys Laerskool in Linden, Johannesburg, similar contraventions take place. On its website, the principal, Mr. Arrie Genis, writes in a message to parents the following (http://www.llg.co.za/sake.html):

Mr Arrie Genis, principal of Laerskool Louw Geldenhuys, who ignores the National Policy on Religion in Education

“Deur middel van die onderwysproses leer die kind homself ken en ontdek hy talente wat hy in diens van sy Skepper en sy medemens kan aanwend.”

And: “Ons kinders is ons allerkosbaarste vreugde, deur God self aan ons toevertrou.” (my emphasis. One can ask: who is this Skepper – Creator – and God? The Christian God, Muslim God, or the God of any other religion? And how does the child distinguish between these gods?)

Genis recently openly and sarcastically rejected the complaints by parents against Christian religious instruction at the school: Genis used freedom of association as an excuse why he could flout the national religious instruction at school policy.

“Furthermore, I have news for you: all school ceremonies by the Laerskool Louw Geldenhuys are opened by teachers, ministers and even learners by means of ‘lay’ preachings, as approved by the parents and the school’s management body… I am definitely not ashamed of our (religious instruction policy) and will not change that.” (my emphasis: even children are used as religious propaganda- fodder. Again it reminds one of Nazi Germany where the youth were utilised to get the message of the Führer across).

Recently a group of parents at Baysville Spesiale Skool in East London complained to me as director of Sceptic South Africa that regular “altar calls” are held every Friday morning. It is virtually compulsory for children to attend these and Monday and Friday gatherings in the school hall where Christian evangelism is preached to them. Children refusing to attend, are naturally seen as outcasts and treated as such.

Every day the staff meeting is opened with Christian prayers, despite the fact that one of the teachers is a Hindu and some are atheists or secularly inclined.

Some teachers start their classes every day in one hall with a Christian religious ceremony and this leads to the children in their classes only starting with real school subjects at 08:45 or even nine ’o clock: nearly an hour after the school has officially opened.

Just one example of the outrageous things told to the children: “Isn’t it ‘strange’ that most tsunami’s and other natural disasters happen in those countries where ‘they still worship idols’? Well, there might have been a few believers that have perished too, but it’s O.K., because ‘then they’re with God’”.

Sceptic South Africa is considering laying criminal charges against these schools unless these policies are immediately halted and the schools adhere to the National Policy on Religion in Education. We are not living in Nazi Germany or the apartheid state anymore.

Is that the right one?
Peter Grant (October 02, 2009, 20:56:53 PM):
Not sure about the blog post, but the above looks roughly the same as the article here:


I spotted it a while back and left the first reply, one of the few friendly ones. Amazing what nut jobs come out of, who knows where? One of them actually seems to believe that this is all a plot to start teaching children to commune with the dead. Instead of cold-reading though, I think he believes they will be summoning demons. ::)

If it's protection George and his family needs, we should find a way to get it for them.


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