ADF International


Bejarano and others v. Spain

Date of most recent action: 01 Feb 2014

Thousands of parents object to mandatory anti-Christian curriculum in Spain

What’s at Stake

  • The right of parents to choose their children’s education
  • The right of parents to protect their children from harmful moral teachings and practices contrary to their beliefs


“Education for Citizenship” may sound like a good idea. But what if the curriculum for this idea taught your child that family isn’t important, that Christianity is comparable to the Klu Klux Klan, and encouraged sexual immorality? These classes were made compulsory for all state and private school students in Spain and, not surprisingly, many parents objected.

In 2006, more than 54,000 Spanish parents sent in complaints to the Zapatero-led government regarding the mandatory anti-Christian “Education for Citizenship” classes. Shocked by sexually explicit content, cartoons ridiculing Jesus, and the fact that the course material openly mocked the Catholic Church, parents asked to withdraw their children from the classes.

Parents and pro-family organizations filed more than 2,200 lawsuits against the government. The suits argued that the compulsory nature of the objectionable classes violated the conscience rights and religious convictions of parents and students alike. An overwhelming majority of the cases were decided in favour of parental rights. However, the same subject matter continued to be taught.

In 2010, Professionals for Ethics, a Spanish organization protecting Christian values in the public square, called upon Alliance Defending Freedom and other attorneys to assist in taking the matter to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). More than 300 Spanish parents and children included their cases in the suit. Three years later, the new Spanish Government agreed to replace the compulsory course with a different curriculum.

Roger Kiska, Senior Legal Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom said: “The decision of the new government is of significant international importance. It underlines parents’ right to raise their children according to their beliefs. Spain is rightly respecting basic human rights by abandoning a class that forced students to participate in values training contrary to their convictions.”

The case against Spain remains before the ECHR and could set a crucial precedent for future cases.

Our Role in the Case

Allied Organization Professionals for Ethics, together with Alliance Defending Freedom, successfully represented over 300 parents before the European Court of Human Rights, which forced the Spanish government to change the curriculum.

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