Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences call for Russia to remain a secular state

posted 13 Jun 2013, 10:24 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Jun 2013, 10:26 ]
11 June 2013

Source: (info
More than 90 members of the Russian Academy of Science have addressed an open letter to the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Science and Education. The academics demand the closure of the Department of Theology within the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, which was opened in October 2012.

“Russia is a secular state. It is essential that all the main world religions and also all the main Christian confessions are represented in our country. The appearance of a department of theology under the leadership of an Orthodox priest in a state higher education establishment is in direct contradiction to the Russian constitution (Article 14), and also to common sense,” the text states.

The authors of the address believe that “nuclear safety cannot be provided with the help of theology, and nuclear technologies require not faith, but a particularly scientific approach, the education of which is the most important task of higher education. The existing departments of philosophy and sociology are sufficiently successful in allowing students to decide the questions necessary for a liberal education."

The academics draw a parallel with the system of party and Komsomol organs that existed within educational establishments in Soviet times, and consider that “the penetration of the church into the system of state education is difficult to explain as anything but activity outside of the law.”

“We demand that the activity of this ‘department’ and the financing of religious activities from educational establishment funds is quickly stopped,” the appeal states, as quoted by the Sova centre.