Edith Inderkummen, educated at the University of Lucerne, began teaching religion part-time in the autumn last year at an elementary school in Brig in the German-speaking part of the canton.
But in March of this year, Inderkummen turned her back on the Catholic church to “return to the Jewish roots of Christianity,” the 20 Minutes newspaper reported online on Thursday.
The school’s administration immediately summoned the teacher to tell her that she was no longer authorized to teach religion, the newspaper said.
The catholic Bishop of Sion, Monsignor Norbert Brunner, withdrew her right to give religious instruction, according to website infosperbe.ch.
The decision stems from an agreement between the canton and the bishopric which stipulates that only people who believe in the Catholic faith can give religious courses, 20 Minutes said.
On behalf of the bishop, a Catholic official intervened with the public education department and the school administration to ensure that Inderkummen would be also banned from teaching a course on ethics and religious culture.
The vicar general, the bishop's administrative deputy, had asked her to give courses in a very rigorous way and to submit her plan for lessons one or two days ahead of time to the inspector of schools, 20 Minutes said.
Finally, Inderkummen, a former MP for the canton and head councillor for the municipality of Erschmatt, was sacked.
Upon learning of the decision, Oskar Freysinger, the cabinet minister in charge of public education in Valais, was reportedly “surprised” and ordered an investigation, local newspaper Wallis Bote said.
Valais is traditionally a Catholic canton, while the bishopric of Sion, the canton's capital, is the oldest in Switzerland.