Spain's socialist government is facing a bitter back-to-school fight this September as thousands of families boycott the pro-homosexual course "Education for Citizenship and Human Rights."
The Spanish Family Forum reports that at least 15,000 "conscientious objections" out of 200,000 students have been officially registered with school authorities. However, the number is understated because whole provinces have not yet reported figures from their areas.
Esperanza Aguirre, the president of the Community of Madrid (Spain's largest province), blasted the program, calling it "indoctrination" and said that her government would only teach those portions that were not objectionable to anyone.
"The Catholic Church, the churches in general, the doctrines are doctrines, and therefore, because the parents so choose, in the religious schools religion is taught," said Aguirre. "But Alfonso Guerra [a prominent socialist and former vice-president of Spain] has admitted to us that what the government wants to do is to indoctrinate, it wants to create a lay religion for which compliance is obligatory in the schools."
According to the National Catholic Confederation of Heads of Families and Parents of Students (Concapa), one school in the province of Andalucia has decided to list the course, but has privately told them that it will not actually teach it. Concapa says that five parents are suing the government in the Supreme Court of Andalucia to prevent the program's implementation, and that there are 200 more families who wish to join them.
Many Catholic schools are implementing the program in name, but are simply ignoring the elements that promote homosexual behavior. Some are using textbooks that positively denounce it.
The program's guidelines state that children are to be taught to reject "existing discrimination for reason of sex, origin, social differences, affective-sexual, or whatever other type" and to exercise a "critical evaluation of the social and sexual division of labor and racist, xenophobic, sexist, and homophobic social prejudices."
It also instructs teachers to "revisit the students' attitude to homosexuality" and suggests that a good exercise is to make a list of every type of disrespectful expression referring to foreigners, people of other races, homosexuals, etc., and open a dialog over how they are used in daily life and if they are or are not disrespectful."
The Catholic archbishop of Toledo, Antonio Cañizares, denounced the program as students returned to school, stating that "the government is acting in an unconstitutional manner because it is imposing morals." He encouraged Spaniards to resist the program with the means available to them.