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Nachtengel
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 11:50 PM
MONTREAL -- Christian parents who objected to their children being taught about other religions in a mandatory new Quebec school course have suffered a serious setback with a ruling this week that the teachings do not infringe their religious freedoms.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean-Guy Dubois dismissed a bid by parents in Drummondville, Que., who said the course on ethics and religious culture introduced across the province last year was undermining their efforts to instill Christian faith in their children.

"In light of all the evidence presented, the court does not see how the ... course limits the plaintiff's freedom of conscience and of religion for the children when it provides an overall presentation of various religions without obliging the children to adhere to them," Judge Dubois wrote.

The course was controversial even before instruction began last September. During the year there were protest marches in some cities, and about 1,700 parents asked that their children be exempted from attending the class. All such requests were refused.

The course's introduction was the final step in the secularization of Quebec schooling that began with a 1997 constitutional amendment replacing denominational school boards with linguistic ones.

As of last year, parents no longer had the right to choose between courses in Catholic, Protestant or moral instruction. The new curriculum covers a broad range of world religions, with particular emphasis on Quebec's religious heritage -- Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism and aboriginal spirituality. It is taught from Grade 1 through Grade 11.

The course's scope was too broad for the parents in the Drummondville case, who cannot be named because their two minor children are involved. During the trial, the children's mother testified that she did not see why her 7-year-old son needs to learn about Islam when he is still forming his own Catholic spirituality. "It's very confusing," she said.

In his ruling, Judge Dubois cited a Catholic theologian who testified that religious instruction is primarily the responsibility of parents, not schools. He added that there is a commitment on the part of the Catholic church to understand other religions.

The Quebec government, which intervened in the case in support of the Des Chęnes school board, argued that the course was objective and in no way limited parents' ability to pass their religious beliefs on to their children. Teaching children about other religions is a way to promote "equality, respect and tolerance in the Quebec school system," it said.

Sébastien Lebel-Grenier, a law professor at Université de Sherbrooke, said he is not surprised that the new course survived a challenge under the Charter of Rights.

"What parents were demanding was the right to ignorance, the right to protect their children from being exposed to the existence of other religions," he said. "This right to ignorance is certainly not protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom of religion does not protect the right not to know what is going on in our universe."

He said the course is aimed not at instilling religious values but at trying "to explain to these children the diversity in which we now live in Quebec."

Richard Décarie, spokesman for a coalition opposed to the course, said the decision is a major disappointment. He believes there are grounds for an appeal, but he is not sure the parents involved can afford additional legal expenses. He said they have already spent close to $100,000 fighting the case.

"The course shouldn't be compulsory, because it changes completely how parents keep their moral authority over the education of their children," said Mr. Décarie, of the Coalition for Freedom in Education. "We're not talking about mathematics or French or English here. We're talking about something that involves the essence of the culture of people."

Two other challenges of the course are before the courts, with decisions expected this fall. Parents in Granby went to court after their children were suspended from school for failing to attend ethics and religious culture class. Montreal's Loyola High School, a private Jesuit school, has challenged the course, arguing that it obliges the school to put all religions on equal footing. The school says it already teaches world religions to its students.

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1956333

Kogen
Thursday, September 10th, 2009, 12:51 AM
I think I would agree with this. Knowledge of other religions does not convert children.

Sigurd
Thursday, September 10th, 2009, 07:18 AM
I think I would agree with this. Knowledge of other religions does not convert children.

Indeed. In fact, if delivered appropriately and in a different climate, without the "religion of peace" politically-correct BS, it can have the positive side-effect of being able to "know your enemy". Knowing about other cultures and religions can serve as a catalyst for being able to draw distinctive lines about which practices are of our folk, and which clearly aren't.

When it comes to dealing with Muslims, or Jews, or other such groups, I think that our children gain more of an advantage, than a disadvantage, learning about the teachings and practices of those faiths - it contributes to a more rounded knowledge of those alein cultures, and actively discredits the claim "You're just Nationalists because you don't know other cultures."

What is probably implemented as a folk-destructive iniative, it could very well have a much more positive outcome. The development of this iniative is thus something to be closely watched, and an iniative that could very well be appropriated once in power under a slightly different light. ;)

RockyMountains
Monday, September 14th, 2009, 12:36 AM
Do you really think they will be teaching them how "bad" other religions are? No, they will be telling us that they are just as good as ours except they come from a different country..

Bärin
Monday, September 14th, 2009, 12:38 AM
You know what "teaching" is in schools nowadays. Indoctrination.

Gardisten
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009, 06:03 PM
I think I would agree with this. Knowledge of other religions does not convert children.

Maybe not always, but the what this is intended to do is to make the kids question their own faith (if they have one) and in general further liberalize their world view. So the intent is not to convert the children to another religion, rather to secular humanize them.

GroeneWolf
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009, 06:13 PM
I remember religion classes. At one it was a general overview of the five "world" religion of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. At the second it even became more general and less in dept. Mind you, both where nominal Christian. And not even that hard. I even answered some questions purposely wrong because it was way to easy. And always the most funny wrong answer.

velvet
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009, 06:23 PM
Indeed. In fact, if delivered appropriately and in a different climate, without the "religion of peace" politically-correct BS, it can have the positive side-effect of being able to "know your enemy". Knowing about other cultures and religions can serve as a catalyst for being able to draw distinctive lines about which practices are of our folk, and which clearly aren't.

But can you expect this distinction from a 1.grader? Who most likely doesnt even understand the full extent of the term culture or religion, let alone what of this is his culture and practices and what not?

It will only serve to confuse them, the parents tell something else than what is tought in school, there will be no 'judgement' of what is teached, it will be presented as all equally good. On a six, eight or ten year old this will create more mental damage than serve to 'know your enemy'.
It is something else to offer that for older, somehow already stable children who are able to think in wider terms and understand contextes. For such young kids it is mental poison which will most of all make them question their own parents.

Sigurd
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009, 11:31 PM
Do you really think they will be teaching them how "bad" other religions are? No, they will be telling us that they are just as good as ours except they come from a different country..


But can you expect this distinction from a 1.grader? Who most likely doesnt even understand the full extent of the term culture or religion, let alone what of this is his culture and practices and what not?


Read again what I said. The crux of my words is " if delivered appropriately and in a different climate".

This means that for now, it's not a good thing, but precisely for what you two point out, the susceptibility of children to propaganda, means that similar classes could come in useful in a different climate.

See, the Frankfurt school got their perverted social viewpoints into people's heads by climbing up the academic ladder and manifesting themselves primarily in our education systems (besides their prolific appearance as politicians). This shows us that much indoctrination is made through people's heads, and that "subverting" the education system is effective.

Thus, I am not worried in the long run for such things being put in place - we can eventually use them to our favour once in the position. I am only worried in the short run, i.e. the period which for most of us will affect our siblings, children, grandchildren and nephews/nieces. But in the long run, such "World ethics" classes can be a much powerful tool for us to equally make a point, the wind can blow two ways. ;)