Recently, the topic of The Lord’s Prayer in public schools across Alberta has come back into public media discourse, after a St. Albert school sent a letter home to parents regarding their continued practice of allowing the prayer by segregating the students into prayer and non-prayer rooms each morning.
Along with this news, there has also been a lot of discussion surrounding government budgets for school systems, after the MacKinnon Report seemed to point towards major cuts to education and healthcare systems. This has spurred a renewed interest in topics regarding public funding of duplicate systems in our province, and discussions about ending funding to Catholic Schools, including a resurgence of my OP Ed regarding the Catholic School funding issues from December of last year.
In both these instances, the prayer issue and funding of Catholic schools issue, the media and readers miss the nuance within the arguments. This leads to misinterpretation of the motivations behind these concerns, and people basically writing off the issues as attacks on religion, or as anti-theist in their nature due to what is seen as atheist bias.
This is not the motivation at all and while most of us leading the charge on these issues are outspoken atheists, faith and religion aren’t really the point. These issues could easily be swapped out for concerns regarding racism, or sexism. The concern that segregation is happening, and that one group seemingly has extra special privileges over the rest of us is what we are actually calling out, not the religion itself.