‘Keep religion out of school’, UWI lecturer says

Head of the Political Science Department at UWI Cave Hill, Dr Tennyson Joseph. (Photo source: barbadostoday.bb)

The head of the Political Science Department at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus has decried what he calls the “tyranny of the majority” which imposes Christian teachings in public schools.

According to Dr Tennyson Joseph, the governments of Caribbean countries, including the government Antigua & Barbuda, should leave religious teachings to the “private sphere” as opposed to the “public sphere”.

Dr Joseph said, “What happens in a modern democracy is that you separate church from state. In the American system for example, nobody’s going to impose something on you in the public sphere; in schools they don’t teach religion.

“Now at home; if you’re a Jew, then you bring your child up as a Jew. If you’re a Muslim then you bring the child up as a Muslim. If you’re a Rastafarian you bring your child up as a Rastafarian. That is how a modern democracy works [but] the problem in the Caribbean is that the state imposes a religion on young people.”

The UWI academic argued that, “If [one] was a Christian living in a Muslim society and your child goes to public school and they are teaching the child about Islam and you don’t agree with that, you would feel oppressed. You would not want the school to impose that view on your child.”

“The minority needs to be insulated in what I call a tyranny of the majority.”

The lecturer was speaking to HTS News Force based in St Lucia and was responding to concerns raised by a religious leader over previous statements that Dr Joseph had made about religion and education.