BEFORE we rummage through this debate we should say from the outset that our country faces a monumental challenge of monstrous proportions. This misfortune could be traced to a multi-headed monster that in its many forms, resemble the Sword of Damocles.
This monster that assumes a multiplicity of identities draws its strength from moral debauchery, depravity and social decadence that has sunk to new depths. There is no question we should subject ourselves to radical surgery to preserve our very existence as a nation. A week hardly passes by without one among the many media houses reporting about a vile crime of domestic violence such as passion killings or the like.
Unfortunately the most vulnerable members of our society namely women and children are at the receiving end of this scourge of senseless violence. Early this week the public-interest law firm, the Legal Assistance Centre released shocking data underlining the level of domestic violence mostly against women. As a caring Khuta the Ondonga Traditional Authority (OTA) has also expressed sadness about the decay in moral and religious values particularly among our youth.
This Khuta called for the reintroduction of Biblical studies in public schools as one way to restore moral values, because school kids no longer respect elders.
Namibians - irrespective of religion - should support this progressive plea from this respected authority. We say "irrespective of religion" because when people speak about religious education the narrower interpretation of religion that often springs to mind is Christianity. While on the other hand religion is defined as a faith, a belief or one's church, mosque or even synagogue.
So let us not allow ourselves to be lost in the semantics of religion, because its very definition in a broader term refers to Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, which all preach about a higher and benevolent and moral deity. In simple terms these religions preach about good deeds that are linked to Godliness and reprove bad deeds that are linked to Satan and his dark forces.
Simply put, all these religious groups preach to their followers about the quintessence of being morally upright, about the good and about righteousness. There is also great tolerance for the practice of all manner of religious beliefs in our progressive Constitution that offers the faithful Carte blanche.
The reasoning in an editorial in one of the dailies that Muslim and Jewish children would be forced to study the Bible therefore lacks basis. Because nowhere in our Constitution does it say that only Christians will enjoy religious monopoly at the expense of other faiths.
Going back to the constitution - Namibia is a secular state, meaning the state itself and by extension our country is neutral in terms of religion that is why we have a proliferation of churches some of them not Christian by their very make-up.
That said, we do not think our government will go against the constitution that it swore to uphold to the letter, should it be that the 'OTA' proposal is endorsed.
We should also consider the fact that even among Christian churches, there is a lack of consensus about the day on which Christians should go to church with some insisting Sunday is the right day of worship, while others argue Saturday is the right day and they even invoke the Bible to support their arguments. This resulted in some Christians feeling prejudiced when they are forced by their fellow Christians to sit for exams or to work on Saturdays.
So some of the arguments in that editorial by one of the local dailies is out of sync and partially flawed. It is also paramount to note that the advantages that will come with religious education if it is reintroduced into schools would most likely out-weigh the perceived disadvantages that would come with the proposed religious education.
What we need is a nation with a sound religious foundation and not a nation of heathens and citizens who have scant respect for property and other lives.