“Reasonable” Accomodation for Religious Belief

A group in Ontario is suing a school board for prior access to individual lesson plans so they can have their children opt out of classes they disagree with.

For anyone who has any knowledge of the interference of religion in education, this can only mean one of three things – sex education, LGBT issues, or evolution. In this case, it appears to be the gay agenda that has them incensed.

The defense fund is headed by Lou Iacobelli, a retired teacher and occasional anti-abortion campaigner.

The organization was “formed to assist parents who have had their parental rights violated or not respected,” said Albertos Polizogopoulos, the group’s lawyer.

The defense fund’s bare-bones website zeroes in almost exclusively on gay rights issues, noting their opposition to “misguided” Gay-Straight Alliance clubs and books penned by gay and lesbian authors.

“This state ideology seems determined to eradicate all traces of judeo-christian [sic] morality from society, and is using our schools to achieve that goal,” reads the site. “If parents do not beat back this government incursion against parent rights, it will usher in an era of persecution, against people of faith, like never seen before in Canada.”

The site asserts that they have been approached by a “number of parents” and estimate that their legal actions against the Ontario government will cost between $30,000 to $200,000 per case.

Last September, the Toronto District School Board released an anti-homophobia curriculum guide that recommended schools not advise parents when teachers would be talking about gender discrimination, homophobia and non-traditional families.

“If a parent asks for his or her child to be exempted for any discussions of LGBTQ family issues as a religious accommodation, this request cannot be made because it violates the human rights policy,” states the guide.

This is wrong in so many ways, it’s hard to know where to start. First of all, curriculum information is freely available for all parents, and at the first of every school year, there is an opportunity for parents to meet the teachers who will be instructing their children. In any case, teachers always make themselves available for individual meetings with parents outside of regularly scheduled parent-teacher interviews. It is a current practice for teachers to notify parents of any potentially controversial topics and an opt-out for those classes already exists.

The parents group has some examples of the persecution of Christianity in Canadian classrooms on their website.

From Quebec:

Quebec’s Ministry of Education is forcing all students in the province, whether in private or public school, to take a mandatory course in ‘moral relativism’, euphemistically named Ethics and Religious Culture. It teaches for instance, that all religions and ethical choices are equal. In an appeal process that is still ongoing, a Quebec Superior Court decision provided exemption for a private Catholic boys’ school, ruling that the government was “totalitarian” to impose its course on that school. The Quebec government has since appealed that decision to the Supreme court, at great cost to the families involved.

Somehow it is discriminatory to discuss other religions besides Christianity as being equally valid, and no one would ever suggest that all ethical choices are equal. their complaints are obviously based on the concept of equality and acceptance of homosexuality.

From Ontario:

The role of government does not include setting children against the religious beliefs of their parents. Yet, below are a few examples from McGuinty’s EIE government documents which illustrate this is precisely what’s happening. McGuinty’s EIE directive recommends that all schools should:

  • celebrate the Gay Pride Parade as “equity-related work”
  • set up openly homosexual student clubs know as ‘Gay-Straight Alliances’ (GSAs)
  • use texts written by gay/lesbian authors
  • help teachers to “modify personal beliefs”

Here we see the typical accusation that the inability to enforce particular religious beliefs on the rest of society is discriminating against those who hold them. These people have the right to have whatever distorted beliefs that wish. They do not have the right to force those beliefs on others.

This is from a pamphlet explaining Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy

Canadians embrace multiculturalism, human rights and diversity as fundamental values. However, there are ongoing incidents of discrimination in our society that require our continuing attention. Homophobia has risen to the forefront of discussion. Bullying, hate propaganda and cyberbullying are major concerns for parents and students. Racism, religious intolerance, homophobia and gender-based violence are still evident in our communities and, unfortunately, in our schools. Rejection, exclusion, and estrangement are associated with behaviour problems in the classroom, decreased interest in school, lower levels of achievement and higher dropout rates.

Ontario is Canada’s most diverse province, and we must find solutions to these concerns. We must address the needs of a rapidly changing and increasingly complex society by ensuring that our policies evolve with changing societal needs.

These are the goals this parents group is fighting. Should they win this battle, it opens the door for their brand of religion to insert itself deeply into the curriculum.

They are bigoted and doing their damnedest to keep the rest of the country as mired in the middle ages as they are.

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