Marchers back re­li­gion classes

Los Angeles Times - - The World -

Thou­sands of cler­ics and faith­ful marched through Sofia, Bul­garia’s cap­i­tal, in sup­port of a push by the coun­try’s Chris­tian Ortho­dox Church to in­tro­duce manda­tory re­li­gion classes in schools.

Or­ga­niz­ers said 10,000 peo­ple took part in the peace­ful protest. Some shouted: “Sixty-six years of athe­ism are enough!” — a ref­er­ence to the coun­try’s com­mu­nist past.

Re­li­gion is cur­rently taught as an op­tional course. The church’s pro­posal en­vi­sions the manda­tory study of Ortho­dox Chris­tian­ity, Ro­man Catholi­cism or Is­lam.

The govern­ment says it will hold a pub­lic de­bate on the is­sue. About 80% of Bul­gar­i­ans are Ortho­dox Chris­tians, though reg­u­lar church­go­ers are a mi­nor­ity.

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