Friday, September 04, 2009

Canadian judge says schools can teach children about various religions

I wonder how many parents up in Canada will turn to homeschooling because of a recent ruling?

Students must learn about other religions reports:

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 US Founding Fathers had great concerns about government controlling churches. That is why they had a separation of church and state. I don't know the history of Canada. It seems like they have much less concerns about government telling people what to believe.

I have a few concerns with Government schools forcing children to learn about various religions, especially at a young age.

1) Where do you draw the line in terms of which religions are taught? The are dozens, maybe hundreds, of Christian religions. Do you teach about each one? If not, why not? Do you teach about dead religions? If not, why not? Do you teach about religions that many people consider destructive, like Satanic cults? If not, why not?

2) How do you teach about religion without a moral context? Math has no moral context. Two plus two equals four. There is no judgment involved. Other topics like biology or weather can be more controversial. (Think about evolution and global warming.) Religion is highly subjected to our personal understanding.

3) How do you teach about religion without passing on some kind of endorsement, or disapproval? Teachers are individuals. They have preferences. It is hard, I believe impossible, to teach about a variety of religions, without giving some kind of support.

4) What business do the government schools have teaching young children about religion? The article says the government controlled exposure of religion starts as young as seven. Education should start with the basics, like reading and writing. Sadly too many public schools today can't teach the basics.

(Hat tip:

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


Jeanette said...

Will the schools teach any and every religion BUT Christianity?


Henry Cate said...

I haven't seen the syllabus, but my guess is they probably will teach something about Christianity.

It seems like government schools teach about the virtues of other religions and the vices of Christianity.

Fatcat said...

I think the schools should stick to teaching reading, writing and math.

Henry Cate said...

Fatcat - yes, but I am afraid government schools, as they are currently structured, will never again do a good job of teating reading, writing and math.

Crimson Wife said...

All the requests by parents to opt out of the course were refused? Wow, talk about scary...

abba12 said...

I attended a christian school for awhile, and was taught about various other religions there too, so I'm somewhat confused as to the issue, almost every school child will do it no matter where they are.

Henry Cate said...

Crimson Wife - yes it is scary. This ruling puts the schools in charge.

abba12 - There are a couple issues here which bother me.

One is the parents had no say. Initially in the United States when children were exposed to controversial topics, the parents could choose to keep their children home. For decades the government recognized the parents as being the ones in charge of the raising of the children.

Another issue I have is when children are taught about a variety of religions. Before about the age of eight many children do not process information, they just accept it with out question. It is the way their brain is wired. So if children in kindegarten are taught that all religions are the same, they'll just accept it.

CrisisMaven said...

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