In 2008, Quebec introduced a mandatory ethics and religion class. The class includs the major faiths in Quebec and discussions of ethics. To me, that seems like a great idea. I’d like to see more of that in Alberta schools.
One couple challenged the mandatory classes in the courts, on the basis of their Charter rights.
According to the Supreme Court’s case summary, the parents have a problem with the course because of the “disruption caused by forced, premature contact with a series of beliefs that were mostly incompatible with those of the family, as well as the adverse effect on the religious faith of the members of this family.”
In other words, they didn’t want their children to know that other religions exist. Too bad, it’s Canada. The Supreme Court seems to think that too, and rejected the case:
Unless it can be found that any exposure of children to realities that differ from those in their family environment is unacceptable in light of the constitutional or quasi-constitutional protection conferred on freedom of religion, [the court] cannot conclude that the appellants have been able to prove their case.
Now, it’s just too bad that the class doesn’t explicitly include atheism.
You may listen to Rob Breakenridge interview Cara Zwibel from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on this decision. http://www.630ched.com/other/audiovault.html
Date: Friday, February 17, 2012 Hour: 10:00am
Approximate Time Index: 35:00/59:58
Comparative religion courses are always a good thing in schools. I find that many believers have a misconception that atheists don’t want religion taught in schools. The problem is, believers only want one religion (theirs) taught and to be treated as fact. I want a wide variety to be taught, including their crazy parts (Xenu the Intergalactic Space Lord, Jesus of Kolob, transsubstantiation, genital mutilation of boys and girls, marginalization of women and outgroups, etc).
When people begin to see clearly how nuts other religions are, it does tend to lead them to ask uncomfortable questions about their own. And that is EXACTLY why believers tend not to like comparative religion classes, at least in my opinion.
From the Globe and Mail
Editorial: Sorry, but education is not indoctrination
“These parents were not seeking a true religious accommodation. They simply wanted to shut out the influences of a diverse society on their children. They wanted to go back to a Quebec, and a Canada, that no longer exists.”