16 May 2011

Religious education in public schools

There's a fight brewing in Quebec about religious education in the schools. I think it's utterly ridiculous.

The gist, if you're not inclined to click the link, is that there is a new religious education course mandatory for all students in both elementary and high school in Quebec - both public and private schools. Its curriculum includes all major world religions, but it about 90% Christian oriented.

The religious opponents are grumbling that they're not allowed to indoctrinate their kids in school any more with the idea that their religion is right and all the others are wrong. The secular opponents are grumbling that they don't want their kids learning about religion at all.

The two have something in common: they want to keep their kids ignorant. How scared must they be of their children not having the same belief system they have that they would keep their children ignorant of the beliefs of the people around them. Knowledge is never a bad thing, unless you're scared of power it gives. How horrible to be scared that your child might choose to be a Muslim or Christian or anything different from you! It really points to how insecure people are about their beliefs.

Snap is agnostic. She thinks this religion stuff is a load of crap, but she's not quite arrogant enough to flatly state that there is no God. This bothers me just because I feel like she's missing out on the relationship with the divine that she could be having. However, she's 16 and needs to go through this to get a firm belief. I hope it comes.

Now, if she comes out the other side of it and decides she is called to follow the path of the Baha'i faith, I'll be fine with that. I'm pretty much okay with all religions. I figure the path to God is pretty huge and looks different from wherever on it one might be. I also figure that if I ask 20 people who know me well to describe me, I'll get 20 different and contradictory answers. So why would I expect everyone to describe God exactly the same way?

7 comments:

harebell said...

Nice link, but just one small issue with your post. You wrote, "The secular opponents are grumbling that they don't want their kids learning about religion at all."
The article never mentioned anything about secular opponents at all. Every quote was from an educator or mostly one of the xtian cults who thought 90% of the curriculum wasn't enough for them.
As an atheist I would have no objection to a comparative religious course being offered to students at all. I would prefer equal time to be given to each of the topics within the course and also some time given to rejecting religious belief altogether.

I'm pleased this course isn't being pushed into the Science curriculum, but it appears the xtians don't like it impinging on their publicly funded indoctrination time. Funny thing that karma.

Luna said...

From the article... "In the against column we have the secular Civil Liberties Association".

It doesn't say there why they're against it, but I heard an interview on the radio about it and they were opposed to any religious education.

I'm glad you're not opposed. I think the biggest reason it's focused so much on Christianity is because of the place that Christianity has in Quebec's culture and history. But I do think that 90% is a little much!

harebell said...

I reckon that the CLA probably didn't agree with the present set up either and it probably was based on the compulsory attendance nature of it's application and the disproportionate weight given to xtianity in the course. They are at least remaining consistent to that ideal, whereas the xtians are exhibiting double standards.

It also appears that they want to empower the child to disagree with their mentors to a higher degree too.
http://ccla.org/2011/05/10/ccla-to-intervene-in-case-on-religious-freedom-in-schools/

Luna said...

No, they didn't. I didn't mean to say that they were fine with it the way it was, unlike the Christian groups.

And I LOVE that they want to empower children to disagree. They should definitely be allowed to do that. I remember getting in *so* much shit in highschool for bucking against the teacher in Christian Ethics. It didn't help that I was a smarty pants, and would call up my uncle (a priest) to check my info and give myself more ammo. Hah. I made that bastard eat his words a few times.

harebell said...

Like you my slide began when the Padre said, "everything has a cause... except...." then I was told to go to the Headies office and wait for my mom to pick me up.
It's been bye bye religion ever since.

Luna said...

I really get upset by how badly organized religion has screwed up religion. I'm sorry you had such a bad run with it, harebell. I only had the one bad teacher in that subject area. And I think I learned more trying to prove him wrong than I did doing anything else. :)

Ignorance said...

Is there actually any organisation campaigning for your point-of-view there? There seem to be many Christian organisations campaigning bent on control.

I'm for general religious education, but having it 90% Christian seems a lot too much to me. Of course they can't cover every religion out there, but the goal should at least be to introduce the children to all world religions, preferably more than that.

By the way, I think you will not find many atheists stating there is/are no God/gods. Not You didn't say that, but some atheists on the internet can be pretty rude about that point.