jeudi 3 septembre 2009

Mother to National Post: "Gross misrepresentation of my views"

Letter sent today to the editor of the National Post.

To the Editor

National Post

1450 Don Mills Road, Suite 300
Don Mills, Ontario
Canada
M3B 3R5



Fax: 416-383-2305



Dear Sirs,



It is somewhat with dismay that I read in your columns a description which radically misrepresents my views and the reasons I went to court so that my children could be exempted from the new Ethics and religious culture course recently imposed in Quebec.

In the article “Students must learn about other religions: judge”, you let Sébastien Lebel-Grenier, a law professor at Université de Sherbrooke, characterize the grounds of my court challenge as “demanding […] the right to ignorance, the right to protect their children from being exposed to the existence of other religions”.

This is obviously false and paints me unfairly as an obscurantist. I believe your readers need to hear what my grounds were as can be attested by my petition and testimony in front of the court.

Obviously, my husband and I have no problem about our children knowing that other religions exist – they already know their existence and freely discuss about religious diversity. Neither have we any qualms about knowing facts about other religions, the Catholic religion course previously taught in public schools in Quebec did so; we did not object. Our grievances are elsewhere: we object to the fact that our youngest child, then aged 6, should be taught that all religions have the same value. I objected to the textbook my child had to use where all stories, be they Biblical (the Nativity), aboriginal (Big Hare) or animal tales (The Mice X-Mas), are told as tales of equal value and truth.

It is important to note that the factual content taught in primary school is rudimentary; facts are not the real objective of the course. It is about instilling a pluralistic vision of religion: all are nice, more of them is better than one, all have truth in them, and none is therefore really true because they contradict each other. Learning basic facts about Islam, since you quoted me on that, does not need to start at 6 and last 11 years at school, it could easily be learned, as in other provinces, at the end of High school in a geography or history class.

One paradoxical side-effect of this course is that, in secular schools today in Quebec, pupils must “dialogue” about their religious background or beliefs and be labeled, in the eyes of their peers, in denominational terms thus dividing them on religious or philosophical lines.

As far as the Ethics component of the course is concerned, we decided to ask that our eldest son be exempted after he approached us and told us how he felt very ill at ease about “ethical” discussions and debates which dealt with sex in what he found to be an intrusive and indecent fashion. Again here, the teachers cannot state what is true or false and anything goes. We cannot see how this is a proper education and would rather our son took more useful and constructive courses.

I trust you will inform your readers about our real grounds for asking our children to be exempt, we think this is an important matter and readers should have access to both sides of the story.



Yours Sincerely,



Suzanne Lavallée
Drummondville

8 commentaires:

Chris K a dit…

Well said, Suzanne! Hold tight!

PhillyChief a dit…

So it's not a right to ignorance but a right to superiority which you're primarily arguing for? You're objecting to the lack of acknowledging your beliefs as the best and for suggesting that others have any truth. Well that clears it up. Thanks!

Boxton a dit…

Well, Philly that's called Freedom of religion and belief.

Actually, holding true your beliefs. Yes, I know how cocky, the state should put good order into this. No parents should think their beliefs are actually true and that they have a right to transmit them to their children.

Thanks, that's clears things up.

Romanus a dit…

There is no right to superiority being claimed here. From what I can see from the course material, all religions are being ridiculed by the mere simplistic, superficial treatment they are given.

PhillyChief a dit…

Expecting the schools to teach that one religion is better than the others is most certainly not freedom of religion. That's quite the opposite.

I seriously doubt whether in these classes any of the various stories and beliefs from other religions are taught as being true, I would think the intent is to teach what each religion believes and leave it at that. I don't see why a child can't sit through such a class all the while still maintaining their own beliefs as true and other religion's beliefs as untrue, just as they would in a history class learning about the ancient Egyptians' or even the Vikings' beliefs.

It really sounds as if you lack any faith in your child to maintain the beliefs you want to instill in the face of hearing different beliefs. Ok, so you're willing to let him hear them, but only with the caveat that they be presented as inferior. How progressive!

Boxton a dit…

PhillyChief,

You should learn how to read : "of equal truth", that may mean all false or all true, as you said yourself a public school in a single course imposed in the name of diversity (do you sens the paradox?) cannot do otherwise.

But this immediately means that children, aged 6, are told at school that all religions are okay. One of the main architect of the course said in his court report that the course must teach absolute respect of these religions: a plurality of respected religions being a good thing in order to come to universal truths and such things.

You may disagree that such course starting at 6 and lasting 11 years could affect a child's faith, but in liberal democracies this is a matter for parents to decide, not the State.

Note that the State says on the one hand this course is innocuous, but it is absolute necessary (hence the absence of exemption) to train "whole citizens". Hmmm, smacks a little of fascism or communism here, I dare say.

Anonyme a dit…

PhillyChief, being from the US (according to your profile), you may not be aware that the provincial government voted a law amendment that restricted parents' rights to choosing the form of education suitable to their beliefs. This was done in an evening session, basically in secret.

The course arrives on the heels of such amendment, and is furthermore mandatory. So to answer you're question, no, it's not a right to ignorance nor a right to superiority, but a right to choose. A right parents' used to have, which was taken away from them by the same government who is imposing the course. People with and without faith alike are opposing the course.

TV

freela a dit…

Parents, by virtue of being parents, not only have the right but they have the duty, to chose what they believe is best for their children.

If parents are convinced that something is True and Right, they will ensure that their children are made aware of this conviction.

If they do NOT do so then they do not love their children.

In the same manner, parents strive to proptect their children from thibgs thaqt would be harmful to them, be it physically, emotionally or mentally.

They will therefore restrict their children's access to people, events or discourse whhich they consider as loving parents to be harmful.

In this manner, some parents wish to restrict their children's access to teachings which portrawy their beliefs as nothing more than another fairy-tale.

We all know that the Government of Quebec has its own long-term agenda. This givernment is made of of PEOPLE, each with their own weaknesses, belief systems, and blind spots. In what way are these people more qualified to decide what is best for our childrenh than are the parents who love them?

Marilyn Morse