Here's another news story, about religion!
Students must learn about other religions
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 Chênes 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.
Okay, I'm a heathen atheist & a lot of the time I don't have much opinion on religion other than "ho hum" or "wow that's outrageously stupid", usually when something outrageously stupid happens. I believe in critiquing religion & it's practices, sometimes harshly under stark fluorescence, which is occasionally read as "bashing" *cough*
I will say, I think it's important to learn about religion. Whether you're Pagan, Agnostic, Christian, or Hindu. I mean let's face it, it's everywhere. It ties into issues of society and culture and race. When I hear parents like this declaring they don't want their young children learning about Islam I see them A) buying into rampant Islamophobia and B) saying they don't want their kids to learn about a certain culture.
That is to say, KEEPING THEM IGNORANT. We don't need more ignorant people in this world, we need globally-minded citizens ready & able to respect people. It is, in fact, positively influencing your children and teaching them. It's opening their minds. Schools aren't going to force you to adopt a new way of life but they WILL show you a different way. I'll never understand why some people see this as a bad thing.
Also, one more time: kids aren't stupid. You're projecting. Your kids are going to grow up and, horrifically enough, make their own decisions with or without you. It's not confusing so much as enlightening, and if that's confusing to you maybe you should just step aside.