Swedish coalition party questions legality of Christian school


Northern Europe


The Swedish Liberal party leader Johan Pehrson campaigns against confessional schools. They do not promote integration but promote oppression instead. Photo EPA, Jonas Ekström

The party leader and two top members of the Liberal Party in Sweden have provoked the right to exist of Christian schools. The party is part of the governing coalition.

On Sunday, party leader John Person (also Minister of Integration) wrote an op-ed in Expressen. The article was co-signed by Equality Minister Paulina Brandberg and Children’s rights spokesperson Juno Blom.

In the first sentence, they already used to word “oppression”. Many migrants come from a background in which discrimination is usual. But that is not the biggest problem. The critical point is that Sweden allows that to survive. As long as religion is part of the school system, oppression will remain, the three Liberals say.

The politicians, therefore, campaign for a “total stop to religious free schools”, they write. “We cannot accept that a single school in our country makes integration difficult and inhibits students’ freedom. Particularly serious is that the children with the greatest need to be integrated in Sweden are often the same children sent to independent religious schools. It must not be like that – the school should be a place where language, knowledge and education are the focus, not the practice of religion or oppressive norms. (…) It’s about freedom.”


The Liberals are the smallest partner in the three-parties coalition of Prime Minister Kristerssen. The largest group are the Moderates; the other party are the Christian Democrats. The fact that the Christian Democrats are part of the same government team makes the debate about confessional schools especially sensitive.

The Christian newspaper Dagen writes that this article shows that the governing parties “openly disagree” on the matter of confessional schools. The government’s official position is that it does not see confessional schools as a problem. If there are problems at those schools, they have to be solved.

Christian Democrat MP Magnus Jacobsson responded on Twitter by saying: “As a Christian, I thank the Liberals for their religious oppression.”

According to Dagen, there are seventy denominational schools, of which the majority is led by a Christian principal. Schools are free to have prayer and devotional time but must follow the School Act.



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