Friday, February 17, 2012

From Mandatory Christian Prayer to Mandatory Multiculturalism

If you have read William J. Murray's My Life Without God, you know that the mandatory Christian prayer with which Maryland schools opened their day was into the 1960s really quite stupid.  Murray, who is now a Christian evangelist, points out that it was very perfunctory, and done only because the law required it.  While where this led the courts seems positively mad, at least they were taking a consistent position: removing religion from public schools.  Now I see that progressive sorts are busily putting prayer back in public schools, in Quebec.  Quebec, like many American states into the 1950s, until the 1990s had religion classes in its schools. There were classes for Catholics and classes for Protestants--and once upon a time, there were so few of any other religion to be an issue.

Now, Quebec has an Ethics and Religious Culture curriculum (ERC) that runs from elementary school through graduation that appears to be an attempt to teach children about all religions.  In some abstract sense, this is a good thing: you should have an awareness of what other religions believe.  But a number of Catholic parents were concerned both about the substance of the class, and the likely effect it would have to be teaching about other religions to seven year olds, while attempting to raise them as Catholics.

In light of the dominance of anti-Christian sentiment among school teachers and curriculum writers, I can certainly see why there might be some reluctance to have their kids put into what was likely to be a propaganda campaign directed against Christianity, apologistics for Islam, and enthusiasm for New Age ideas.  So the parents asked to have their kids exempted from these classes.  Nope!  And the Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the requirement that they send their kids to these classes.

For those liberals who find this reasonable, ask yourself what your reaction would be if, in an alternate universe, your public school system had a curriculum called Love & Sexuality taught by people who promoted the idea that while there were many expressions of sexuality, some were clearly better than others: and you get one guess which deviance forms would be treated as worthy of contempt.  Now, imagine that your children had to take this class if they went to public school, and there was no way to remove them.

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