Sweden bans mention of Jesus at kids’ Advent services

Wed, 28 Nov 2012

Head teachers in Sweden have been told they can take pupils to Christmas services in church – but Jesus cannot be mentioned.

Advent services for children are part of the curriculum, but religious content has been ruled out by education officials.

They said “prayer, blessings or declarations of faith” are all banned, yesterday’s Metro newspaper reported.

Excluded

Last year the Scottish Government came under fire for failing to mention Christmas in its “Winter Festivals” programme.

St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night were all mentioned several times in the press release – but Christmas was excluded.

In January 2011 it emerged that more than three million school diaries with no reference to Christmas or Easter had been issued by the EU Commission.

The diaries made reference to Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Chinese festivities, as well as Europe Day – but December 25th just carried the message: “A true friend is someone who shares your concerns and doubles your joy.”

‘Ludicrous’

An EU ombudsman later ruled that a separate sheet correcting the omission was “sufficient” – and a reprint was not needed.

In 2009 Christmas carollers were banned from the Houses of Parliament in case they inconvenienced MPs having lunch.

And in the same year Rochdale Borough Council put up Christmas lights in August in order to celebrate the religious festivals of several faiths. The move was described as “absolutely ludicrous” by one local resident.