By Daniel Mallett
Edmonton Catholic Schools has launched a campaign to “protect” the right to publically funded Catholic indoctrination of children in Alberta. You can find more information about the campaign here: http://www.ecsd.net/trustees/the_future_of_catholic_edu.html The Catholic school board has used our tax dollars to send out a request to all Catholic parents to mail a postcard to their MLAs that supports the protection of Catholic education in Alberta. The postcard has this cute yet disturbing picture of a kid holding some ancient bronze-age tribe’s book that contains writings about genocide, rape, torture, slavery, infanticide, filicide, racism, ethnic cleansing, blood sacrifice, homophobia, misogyny, polygamy, and incest (among many other evils). You can see the full-text of the letter and postcard on their website. The argument they make to support publically funded Catholic indoctrination of children is asinine. 1. History Just because something has been around for a long time does not mean we should keep it going. The issue of constitutional protection has been dealt with by other provinces that disbanded the Catholic school system. And let’s not forget that the UN says funding of Catholic schools is discriminatory — I do not believe our constitution was designed to protect discrimination. The argument that they educate 1/4 of children is pathetic – obviously those kids are still going to get a public education in a secular system! 2. Distinctiveness AKA: Discrimination. They seem to believe that Jesus is crouching behind each student, ready to help them cheat on their math test: “At every important milestone of learning, Christ is there, igniting a child’s curiosity and desire to learn.” This type of special pleading, if we followed it to its natural conclusion, is ludicrous. Should we have an Islam school board so Mohammed can whisper answers into every little child of Muslim parents? Is the Flying Spaghetti monster telling children of atheists parents how to spell? Does the Buddha help kids write their diploma exams? This type of superstitious magical thinking only takes away from the hard work and dedication of the students in Alberta. The crazy part of this is that Catholic schools are NOT distinct. Religion creates dividers where none exist — all children are children! The kids of Catholic parents are as naturally curious about the world as the kids of non-believers and Muslims and Jews and Hindu’s and everyone else! When they play at recess they play the same games as non-Catholics. When they go to class they learn the same alphabet, and the same math, and the same science (hopefully). If it weren’t for the name on the building and the symbols on the walls — you would be hard-pressed to find any difference between a public school and a Catholic one. This is the great lie of Catholic education — that there is something distinct (in other words) superior to it. It is a vacuous belief that betrays the discrimination, arrogance, and sense of superiority that believers feel. The Catholic school board cares only to protect their own self interests. When a typical class size in Alberta is over 30 kids, why in the name of Zeus are we wasting money paying the salaries / benefits / pension plans of religion teachers in Catholic schools? Surely, if these people believed in the importance of their religion they would indoctrinate these kids for free and on their own time! How can these teachers get paid to supervise while their students sit in mass or get instruction in first communion or confirmation? As taxpayers, we deserve to know how many tax dollars are wasted on religious indoctrination in these schools. Please write your MLA on this issue. My suggestion is to take the postcard and put a warning label on it and then mail it in.