Sean Murphy of Catholic Civil Rights League examines the crucial liberty issues involved in a recent Quebec court decision involving parent's protected rights to instil your values and ethics in determining the education choices of their children. This is an important victory for some Canadians, commonsense and democracy. This decision limits the state’s power to impose a mandatory secular 'religion' and ethics course into all schools, be there private or public.
Listen to the broadcast from Roadkill Radio (Vancouver)
Barbara Kay: Score one for Quebec’s religious freedom.
Prof. Zucchi: Being 'neutral' on religion, involves making a choice
Raymond J. de Souza: violation of liberty repaired
Montreal's Gazette editorial: Victory for religious freedom
Charles Lewis: Public money is religious too
Listen also to:
Doug Farrow: ERC, why the fuss?
Soutenons les familles dans leurs combats juridiques (reçu fiscal pour tout don supérieur à 50 $)
A few comments on Sean Murphy's summary and introduction.RépondreSupprimer
1) The Roxton Falls Mennonite issue was about having their school curriculum and teachers approved (viz. State-sanctioned), not at that stage the ERC course. Quebec being the only authority in North America not allowing at that time these Mennonite schools. The Mennonite school has since then been allowed, but it may soon be banned again (These Mennonites don't send their youth to University to get an Educational degree, but this is another problem.)
2) "Equivalence" and the administrative law aspect. What was unreasonable was the fact that a civil servant working for the Ministry of Education decided, of his own accord, that for the Loyola course to be equivalent it had to be "secular" ("non confessionnel"), in doing so he had abused his power. He could only have used, in the absence of any lawful definition, the every day meaning of equivalence for a course: same goals (seeking common good, learning to get along: fostering "vivre ensemble"), same core competencies (dialogue, understanding of religious phenomenon, questions of ethics). And using that definition, Loyola's course was comparable. Being comparable the Minister had to heed to Loyola's request (the Minister has no discretionary power when a course is equivalent, it must approve it, contrary to what pretended the Crown).
3) Home-schoolers are obliged to teach the course, although again there how parents are supposed to adopt a (neutral) "professional posture" when discussing faith or ethics with their children is a total mystery to me.
4) Private denominational schools may teach a separate standard religious instruction course. But, of course, this present a scheduling problem (time is eaten away by the State's sanctioned "neutral" course), a pedagogical one (questions are treated differently in the two courses) and an ethical one (how can you advocate to your pupils always being a Christian in all your dealings, always standing for your beliefs and then not do it for an hour in front of them?)