Yesterday we learned that German school kids are separated by religion. And not the interesting religions, either. You have to choose between Catholic (yawn), Protestant (really just watered-down Catholics) and Athiest.
Actually, the Athiest kids get to study ethics, which sounds kind of cool.
The kids aren't totally segregated - basically, there are two groups of Catholic kids that share learning space with either Athiests or Protestants, which we can either regard as a practical recognition that most kids happen to be Catholic or as a Catholic infiltration (since the Athiests and Protestants rarely come into contact with each other).
Supposedly in urban areas with a higher concentration of other religions they offer additional classes. Just not out here in the Catholic burbs.
What will we do? you ask.
Ralf and I discussed it during his brief stopover home between California and Ireland.
First of all, he thinks religious studies are cool and we should all be more informed about different religions because this is such an important topic for so many people.
And who knows, maybe if more people treated religion like an academic topic rather than a purely spiritual one, they would be less likely to elect socially intolerant fiscally irresponsible environment ravaging Republican war mongers just because the church likes their stance on gay marriage.
(I know, it's hard to get a sense of how I feel about things.)
Next I pointed out that there aren't many hours in the absurdly short German school day and I'd prefer our kids to spend that time on reading, writing, math and science and he said why don't I run for Minister of Education.
I'm pretty sure that was sarcasm, which is part of the German marital benefits package.
But then, when I broached the topic of possibly enrolling K in Protestant studies to be with Leia, he got all huffy, like putting kids into religious groups at school was my crazy idea.
Ralf (bristling with indignation): 'Are you kidding me? We're not signing K up for some religion we have nothing to do with just so she can be with some kid she probably won't even like next year!'
No argument from me. I mean, OK, I did make some snarky comments about how I'm not the German here but we were basically in agreement by this point.
Anyway, the upshot is that we'll be going with Ethical (Athiest) studies next year and it remains to be seen if Celia's Catholic mom will throw her lot in with Leia (who is Protestant) or with us.
And Tina the Athiest.