Textbook row: Kerala Catholics pledge to protect their beliefs

August 15th, 2008 - 10:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Kozhikode, Aug 15 (IANS) Members of Kerala’s 29 Catholic dioceses took a pledge on Independence Day Friday to protect their faith from “atheist movements” and “anti-religious” ideas propagated in a controversial Class 7 social science textbook. They took the pledge after mass in the church, following the instructions of the Kerala Catholic Bishop Council (KCBC).

“We won the nation’s freedom along with the freedom to practise religion. But through the imposition of the Class 7 textbook an effort is on to destroy religious beliefs,” Marian Arackal, a priest and dean of studies at the pastoral orientation centre of KCBC at Kochi, told IANS.

The pledge includes an article that advises people not to get influenced by “atheist movements”, a church euphemism for Communist organisations, and to carry on the protest against government policies that deny freedom of religion.

Various political and religious groups have been protesting against the Class 7 textbook introduced by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led government this academic year. They allege that the book injects atheism and communist ideology into young minds.

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