Priest supports ban on religious teaching in schools

An outspoken Anglican cleric is supporting the recent call for religious teaching to be omitted from the school curriculum.

Rev Morris, who is also a senior teacher at the Combermere School, argued strongly today in support of a position advanced earlier this week by University of the West Indies political scientist Dr Tennyson Joseph that it was not the responsibility of the school to teach religious education.

“Let the church do its work, let the Ministry of Education do its work. The Ministry is not obligated to teach religious education in schools and it should not,” the outspoken cleric told Barbados TODAY.

Admitting that he had always been an advocate of removing religious studies from the schools’ syllabus, Morris complained that “a lot of people take religious education in schools and they try to make our young people feel that they are sinners”.

“They are teaching doctrine more than anything else,” he said.

He went on to say that argue like Joseph that no one religion should be favoured within the education system.

“Barbados is not a Christian society, if you want to say it is a free society, it is a tolerant society and we tolerant all kinds of religions. If they are going to teach Christianity in the schools, then they should teach all religions in the school. They should teach Islam, Hinduism, and more so Rastafarianism,” Morris said.

However, retired principal of the Graydon Sealy Secondary School Matthew Farley did not share Joseph and Morris’ view; neither did Shone Gibbs, president of the Barbados National Council of Parent Teacher Association.

Matthew Farley
Matthew Farley
President of the  BNCPTA Shone Gibbs.
President of the BNCPTA Shone Gibbs.

Gibbs was very dismissive of the suggestion that religious education should be banned in schools. In fact, he said it “should not be entertained at no level”.

He also said any move to abolish religious teaching in schools “must be resisted by all right thinking Barbadians”.

“As a society, we have embraced diversity, we have accommodated others
and made provisions respectfully for those who are non-Christian, but we’re a
pre-dominantly a Christian society. It’s part of our values and everything must be done not only preserve it, but to make sure that the values associated with our Christian principles become part of who we are,” he said.

Farley also told Barbados TODAY that a fully secular education system would be difficult to conceive of since very society infused their religious beliefs into the learning system.

“I don’t know if there is any society anywhere in the world that has an education system that is totally secular that excludes people’s faith,” he argued.

The veteran educator also pointed out that there were provisions within the Education Act that allow for religious diversity in our schools.

Therefore, “persons can teach their religious concepts and ideologies and still maintain a presence within the mainstream educational system,” he said.

He also suggested that those individuals who were unhappy with the teaching of religious education in schools should make a conscientious choice to withdraw their children from school once a week to be taught their faith, similar to how children of the Muslim faith were allotted half-day on Fridays.

However, in light of the recent case in which two Rastafarian parents were brought before the court for not ever sending their children to school, Farley warned that “you can’t just allow anybody to keep their children at home and say, ‘I’m homeschooling my child’.

“The question is, what curriculum are you exposing the child to, under what conditions is that curriculum being taught, who are the persons who are equipped and trained to deliver that curriculum?” he said.

He further cautioned that “you can’t just have a free for all society where everybody going to say that we’re going to keep our children at home and home school them.

“And teach them what?” he insisted.

The former principal also questioned how children would be able to “come into the society and live in the real world, without having to be exposed to the wide range of English, Mathematics and Social Studies”.

63 Responses to Priest supports ban on religious teaching in schools

  1. Ashanda Coward
    Ashanda Coward October 22, 2016 at 5:27 am

    Why? Blessed Bobb the same said bible said this would happen we just need to watch and prayer trust me. It will get worst.

  2. Seth St John
    Seth St John October 22, 2016 at 5:53 am

    But look at yall though..
    Acting like the dark ages all over again, quoting scripture and showing outrage that someone says religion should not be forced on people, didnt your own messiah say the same thing? Why are you so scared? Look.. i understand that it may be a difficult concept to grasp for you, but if people want christianity in their life, they will seek it out, the idea that it is needed to produce grounded citizens of society is laughable. School is there to educate, and religion should be there as a guide in life for those that want it.

    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria October 22, 2016 at 6:08 am

      I agree to some extent.
      1. I think it should be taught, but rather than its focus being Christianity as it is to date, all religions should be taught about. It is after all Religious & Moral Education and not Christian Education.
      I think that in 2016, in our society where Muslims, Christians, Rastafarians, Atheists etc coexist harmoniously, we are doing our children a disservice by not teaching them about these different religions. Contrary to popular belief, the world does not revolve around Christianity. Ignorance is not bliss.
      2. I do not think that teachers should be made to indoctrinate children in the Christianity. I am not a pastor or q priest, nor am I a Christian, so why should I have to teach children about a religion, I do not practise or even have much respect for? It makes me feel like a fraud. I have no problem teaching about morals or values, but why should I have to teach about The Christmas Story or the Easter Story, as the syllabus states, when I believe both to be a lie???
      Furthermore, why should the Rastafarians, atheists and Muslims in my class have to sit through two periods of week of being taught about a faith they do not practise???
      Are we ISIS???Forcing our beliefs on others?

    • Seth St John
      Seth St John October 22, 2016 at 6:13 am

      Ignorance gets you comments such as can be read on this reply section.. fair point, but there will always be people who consider religion a stain on this world and there are things that could be taught that would be of actual benifit in our changing economic atmosphere. Why isnt there a class on life prep that teaches the basics of financial management, gives insights into job search and resumes, how to do basic business plans for those students looking to chart their own path? If school was actually about preparing students for life, our island wouldnt be in the mess it is in.

    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria October 22, 2016 at 6:21 am

      It is the parents’ job to teach their children how to manage money, not a teacher’s and to prepare them for life. The teacher teaches them how to count, add, subtract, reason, it is up to me to teach my children how to use those skills wisely when it comes to their finances. I do not know why people want to assign parental roles to teachers.

      • Peter Thompson October 22, 2016 at 9:32 am

        Most parents do not have these skills; how can they then teach them?

    • Seth St John
      Seth St John October 22, 2016 at 6:23 am

      Illogical, a vast majority of parents cant do it so how can they be expected to teach it? Teaching anything is, by definition, what we have teachers for.

    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria October 22, 2016 at 6:27 am

      Sweetheart, the role of a teacher is not to teach “anything”.

    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria October 22, 2016 at 6:28 am

      Furthermore, it is not our job to teach children how to manage money Just because their parents are inept.

    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria October 22, 2016 at 6:29 am

      I can’t braid hair, so I can’t teach my daughter how to. Are you suggesting that it is therefore the teachers’ job to teach her?

      • Peter Thompson October 22, 2016 at 9:33 am

        Hair braiding is not a necessity for the prosperity of society… money management is.

    • Seth St John
      Seth St John October 22, 2016 at 6:31 am

      I would think that Braiding hair is hardly a comparison to learning to balance your finances.

    • Brien King
      Brien King October 22, 2016 at 7:34 am

      Angela Maria , are you a teacher working at a school ?

    • Goody Smarts
      Goody Smarts October 22, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Brien King what is so wrong with what she said ?

    • Brien King
      Brien King October 22, 2016 at 8:39 am

      Goody Smarts , did I indicate a judgement ? All I did was ask one question, what’s wrong with that ?

    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria October 22, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Yes, I am a teacher.

    • Olutoye Walrond
      Olutoye Walrond October 22, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Seth St John It is the parents’ duty – if they so choose – to inculcate religion in their children. Nobody else has that right for inevitably they will be imposing their own religious biases, beliefs and prejudices on the children.

    • Brien King
      Brien King October 22, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Angela Maria , I got that from your comments, just wanted to be sure of my understanding, cool.

    • Olutoye Walrond
      Olutoye Walrond October 22, 2016 at 8:55 am

      Angela Maria At secondary level there is already a subject called comparative religion in which students learn about the history, doctrines and traditions of major faiths.

    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria October 22, 2016 at 8:55 am

      Seth, my point is that teachers do not have to do everything. Don’t you all realise that is the problem in this society? You all don’t want to hear it, but top many parents are sending to school children for teachers to raise. You believe that it is our job to feed them, clothe them, discipline them, counsel them etc. Teach them everything they need to survive in life.
      So while we are doing all of this and our actual jobs of teaching the national curriculum, tell me… What are YOU PARENTS doing????
      My point is, there are some skills that a parent is responsible for teaching its child. How to manage money is one of them. It’s that simple.

    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria October 22, 2016 at 8:59 am

      @Olutuye, I am glad to hear that. At the Primary level, I can only introduce other religions in Social Studies and the objectives barely brush on them. There are entire countries where Christianity is not the main religion. How will children cope if they were to visit such countries, if they are not taught in school about them?

  3. Danny Colombian Clarke
    Danny Colombian Clarke October 22, 2016 at 5:54 am

    Well when a priest speaks out against religious teachings we all know it’s really the last days . When I was in school our parents had to sign a letter indicating if we would take part in religious education or not due to our beliefs etc . It’s not that hard . Who wants to attend go but don’t force it

    • Sherlock Holmes. October 22, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      I bet he has the smell of Sulphur all over him.

  4. jrsmith October 22, 2016 at 6:30 am

    Black people is so good at the manufacturing of religions ,there is 100s of different bibles and religions this is confusing even the adults furthermore our young people.
    The bible is not an educational device, it carries no black history it carries no condemnation of slavery and was put in place by the new generation of the past slave masters just to control black people , which not the same tactic is used by our non productive politicians….

    The Christians pictures of a blonde haired blueyed man on the walls its alright and having 10 bibles in the homes , but struggling to have or put food in the fridge. why we are so educated but education is becoming so controversial …

  5. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 6:46 am


    Where in the bible did it said so. Prove all things 1 Thess5:21 give us the location please.

    Our people need liberation and the removing of the spiritual veil and deep sleep and they ain’t getting it from religion.
    Some children only do RE to get an extra certificate. But still dumb as a hammer to the knowledge of “god”.

    Both of these men are correct – Morris and Tennyson.
    The problem is that the church is not doing its work in the church so education in the schools will not do any work either because it is the same teaching by the same people.
    What the holy father says “Isaiah 56:10-12 and Jer23. Hosea 5:15. Hosea 4:6.
    “god” solution : Jer3:22
    Come on people stay off these misleading things such as hellivision and facebook and instagram and research. We can read now. Lets get understanding.

  6. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Seth St John

    I totally agree with your point. Angela is taking about small money but you are talking about the bigger cash.
    That is because the school system produces servants not masters. While the wealth stay with the minority in Bim and other countries. Because when you leave here to go over and away you will perform the same task taking up the servant position. Just earning pittance.

    The whole curriculum should be revamp. The system has us on lock down as a people.

  7. Trident Black
    Trident Black October 22, 2016 at 7:07 am

    I agree Rev, let the parents and the religious institutions do their work and shoulder some responsibility instead of just taking people’s money and blaming teachers for everything.

  8. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Angela Maria

    I like your point that the teachers job is to teach nothing. Hair braiding and history should be taught in school and let us get back to our roots. Please watch this video especially the ending on the school scene.
    We as a people was beat down from slavery and none restoreth any thing that was taken. Please view sis.

  9. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 7:24 am


    You are wrong:

    The entire bible is about black people. It is their history book and future, because the most high knew that they would forget as a people who they really are. The bible is portrayed as white because the whites conquered and now control the entire earth and gives you those white images and movies to match from their holy wood. Read Deut 28 -30. Isaiah 5:13

    Come on people research and read.

    We were made bajan where is that under the table of nations found in the bible.

  10. Heru Clarke
    Heru Clarke October 22, 2016 at 7:26 am
  11. islandgal October 22, 2016 at 7:31 am

    They should teach children about how God became big business and how people use religion to manipulate others. I totally agree to take Religious Education out of schools or teach about ALL religions. Also the history of Religions.

  12. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 7:31 am


    In case u read it: Egypt in deut 28:68 means bondage. not the land of egypt.

  13. Ronelle King
    Ronelle King October 22, 2016 at 7:42 am

    School is a learning institution. There is no reason why religion should be in schools. It is indoctrination plain and simple.

    One spends so much time during the school day practicing religion it is ridiculous.

    If you want learn more about and practice your religion go to your place of worship.

    Why should I have to sign a slip that requires my child to sit outside of the assembly room for the entire time a whole sermon is going on? Then be excused before class, before break, before lunch and before home time?

    Why can’t we spend that hour or two learning about out Bajan customs/culture or honing creative skills in the youth?

    Religious education should be taught as an optional subject at secondary level. That being said, Religious education is the study of ALL religions not just your own.

  14. Ronelle King
    Ronelle King October 22, 2016 at 7:46 am

    It’s funny how people are demonizing this man because he has an understanding of church and state.

    You’re advocating for indoctrination simply because it is YOUR religion and the focus is just that
    . Had the religion been that of Islam for example; you would be singing a completely different tune.


    • islandgal October 22, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Thank you Ronelle King! Indoctrination is what it is all about. These Christians cannot understand that school is not the place to teach religion. That is the work of the church and parents. Religious education should be about all religion and not about one.

  15. Goody Smarts
    Goody Smarts October 22, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Blessed Bobb your are wrong again Barbados is not a religious country. Stop There are no religious countries in the Caribbean. The religious countries are in the middle east and a few on the African continent, But Barbados is none, Barbados is a democratic country.

  16. Goody Smarts
    Goody Smarts October 22, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Blessed Bobb because the majority of the people in this country believe in a imaginary sky daddy does not mean that the country is a religious country.

  17. Heru Clarke
    Heru Clarke October 22, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Nonsense! Why do children need to be taught any religion? Shouldn’t they be taught about religions instead? They’re people in this nation that follow none of them, and are upstanding, law abiding citizens, and contribute positively without a religious affiliation! So really, why is it imperative that we force one religious position on children, in the name of morals and values, that clearly you don’t need religion to have!

  18. Angela Maria
    Angela Maria October 22, 2016 at 9:08 am

    So then parents will take the children to church so that they still get religion and don’t turn savage as you are suggesting people do without Christianity in their lives. Problem solved.
    (I don’t know why some of you grown ups believe that muttering insincere prayers like robots every morning and singing a few hymns ancient and modern keeps children in line).

  19. jrsmith October 22, 2016 at 9:10 am

    @ , Jennifer, hail , hail all you do is quote verses from one of the versions of the bibles.
    Bishop (Desmond Tu TU) said the white man when to Africa, said to the black man lets pray , when the black man open his eyes , the white took the land , diamonds and the gold, the black had the bible , why haven’t anyone of you Christian people ever challenge what he said…religions is the confusion to the world…

    The black man always tell us God ask him or her to start a church, the white man go right ahead and start a business, is it that god see the black man is only capable of doing anything else….thats why we have the 1% of people in our Barbados who owns and controls everything , and never give a second thought for the people or the political system…

  20. Olutoye Walrond October 22, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Whenever I see the phrase “right thinking Barbadians”, I know immediately that the user really means Barbadians who think like me. Mr. Gibbs what is right for you might be very wrong for others.

    Religion is a personal matter. Nobody should impose religion on anyone else, even a child. We choose to believe or not to believe in God.

    We are a “Christian” society by choice, not by constitution. Individual citizens choose to be Christians.
    There is no state church in Barbados and no Bishop of Barbados under our constitution. E.W Barrow changed that back in 1969.

    The fact that we inherited a school system with religion is no reason to maintain it. Societies always need to reform themselves.
    Teach our children values – love, respect for elders and their peers etc. These things can be accomplished without someone deciding that their prayers and their gospel songs should be for them and everybody else.

    There are some girls still in captivity in Nigeria right now who were kidnapped by persons who thought their religion was good for them and others whether they wanted it or not.

    We are doing the same thing, only on a lesser scale.

  21. Alex Alleyne October 22, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Why not go all the way and “ban religious teachings in Schools”….PERIOD.

  22. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 9:34 am


    then first read the quotes i gave in the kjv. Tu Tu was a sell out like most of our priest/pastors. And I ain,t from Africa either.

  23. Peter Thompson October 22, 2016 at 9:36 am

    It is a mystery to me why Bajans have such an emotional attachment to the religion that played such a dominant role in enslaving their ancestors.

  24. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 9:52 am


    I agree with you. But religion was imposed on us – by our slave master and oppressors. He first taught our fore fathers in the stable on benches and then set up his theologion schools and philosophies to be carried on by the church.
    This religion and lies is continued through generations by our mothers, grannies, schools, churches etc. Religion is a man made doctrine which has nothing to do with god. If we investigate we will see that Christianity/religion is responsible for the genocide of many people world wide. Some of the biggest hate groups and organizations use Christianity to execute people i.e the kkk for starters. The church/religion keeps our people asleep and in a zombie state while they sit among the graves. Dead among the dead.

    • islandgal October 22, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      The Black man does not want to shed the shackles that are still holding them back.

  25. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 9:53 am


    High level brain washing brother.

  26. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Look up slave hut images. Then Notice how the church look like a much larger slave hut. with the “trained theologian” in the pull pit. Down the pit we go.

  27. Goody Smarts
    Goody Smarts October 22, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Fiona Griffith and I repeat again for those who do really care about truth. In America 99% of mass school shootings are done be religiously indoctrinated kids. Majority of the crimes are done be people who are fundamentalists Christians.

  28. Mac October 22, 2016 at 10:35 am

    What is Religious Studies.

    Religious studies is not the study of christianity
    The study of christianity is what is taught in public schools.

    Religious studies, as the name implies it is the study of religions (religions not a religion) and as such I think it should be taught in schools.
    If this is done students would have a basic understanding of most religions and be able to make an informed decision of which religious belief to embrace, rather than forced to follow one.

    Don’t forget Atheism

  29. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 1:08 pm


    And satanism too, that is the newest one in the USA.

  30. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 1:10 pm


    Look at Bussa he still got them on. That should say a lot.

  31. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Meanwhile schools in the USA banning the wearing of afro hair. While we sit in our doctrine of man’s dung.

  32. jrsmith October 22, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    @, Jennifer , hail, hail , you are a fighter good on you..

  33. Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 3:37 pm


    Thank you sis. We need to wake up.

  34. Mac October 22, 2016 at 8:37 pm



  35. ch October 22, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    What is the dominant religion in Muslim societies? Islam. What is the dominant religion in Jewish societies? Judaism.
    So why must Christians be apologists and cowards in asserting Christianity in a predominantly Christian society?
    It is blatant hypocrisy to to denounce a faith from which you have derived benefits simply to be popular and ” modern”.
    If this came from a professed atheist, I would still disagree but respect that he was true to his beliefs.
    It also insults the intelligence of young people to pander to the lowest expectation of them.
    Are they too weak to be criticized for their ” sins”?
    And too weak to maintain their taught faith in every wind that blows through a classroom, peer groups and social media?
    If so, that reflects parental failure to build confidence and self-esteem, not curriculum failure.
    Where is the valid statistical evidence that the capacity to learn is adversely affected by having religion in a school, in any form?
    Religion is a part of life in the real world and that is where children have to grow and live…when the parents are gone and the teachers are gone and the priests are gone.
    Education is not just about memorizing and regurgitating information but about training the mind to think and process that information and make reasonable conclusions.
    So a thinker knows that slavery existed in antiquity, thus pre-dating Christianity and was built on racism and economic greed, supported by political and social institutions not arising- de novo- from the institutions themselves.
    Removing religion from a school curriculum is as absurd and irrational as removing Mathematics because some people think mathematical theories are bogus- or Biology because some people denounce evolution.
    “Educere”- to lead forth ( from ignorance).

  36. Craige Campbell October 23, 2016 at 5:36 am

    This more than anything make me lose hope in bajans. This christianity business was given to us at a point of the triangular trade, at the end of a whip, hung from a gibbet, under pain of death, and look at us now !!!!! BEGGING TO BE ABLE TO CONTINUE WHIPPING OUR CHILDREN AND BRAINWASHING THEM.

    What a sad bunch of slaves !!!!!!! Massa is gone but u guys are on autopilot.

  37. harry turnover October 23, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Scripture,History and Geography if they are still taught in Schools should be discontinued immediately and replaced with an introduction to monetary Economics, Basic Computer maintenance and studies and basic Electrical studies
    If one is interested in Scripture go to bible studies.If one is interested in History and Geography go to the Library and read.
    Home economics should be taught at home

  38. Andrew Simpson October 23, 2016 at 8:42 am

    And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Jos 24:15 NIV

  39. Carl Barker October 23, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    @ Olutoye Walrond. You said “Teach our children values – love, respect for elders and their peers etc.”
    What really is a value? I used to bake cake once, and would set the oven to around 300 degrees. The cakes always came out fine. We changed the oven and again I set the oven to around 300 degrees, but the cakes were burnt almost to charcoal.Reason? The first oven was Fahrenheit the second was Centigrade. My mistake was in thinking that every value is valid for all situations!
    My question is, “whose values are you going to teach?”
    Some countries welcomed their guests with open and hospitable arms, while others ate them! Who is right? What makes your value system better than mine?
    See why I prefer to follow the Bible? Like a sheep?

    • BlackmanDenyce January 23, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      When has teaching children “love, respect for elders and their peers etc.” ever turned out to be a bad idea? Even hypothetically?

  40. O'Livia R Harewood March 16, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Bad idea, you take religious studies out of school. Had scripture class in Barbados most than 45 years ago and it help me so much and, kept me out of trouble, help me in my decisions in every part of my life, even today 2017 the bible is still my guide to everything I do. Psalm 91 is for protection, Proverbs is wisdom, John 3:16 Love……


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