Friday, October 13, 2006

The Next "Freedom of Religion" Talking Point

Apparently, Quebec has been quietly ignoring illegal schools run by evangelical organizations.

As is the case in most provinces of this country, the Quebec provincial government sets the base standards for educational curriculum. Schools are, I believe, free to push beyond that base standard but those that do not meet the standard will not be licensed by the province.

Given that Quebec suffered under Maurice Duplessis' religiously focused regime until The Quiet Revolution one might understand why they are more than a little cautious about formally recognizing these schools - especially when they blatantly ignore the core curriculum.

..."Certain teachings that are conveyed there are anti-biblical," he said in French to a Radio-Canada reporter.

He gave teachings on sexual education and evolution as examples. His school teaches creationism instead of evolution as the origin of different types of plants and animals.

Around about this point, my reaction was twofold. On sex education, I can accept that the religious are going to have objections to talking about sexuality frankly anyhow. Ultimately the children will figure it out anyhow. Teaching creation in place of evidence-based science is another thing altogether. Last I checked, evolution is considered part of basic biology. I pity any of those students should they take college-level biology later on.

I have no problem with a school adding bible studies to the curriculum - that's fine by me. I do however see a significant problem with an approach that thinks it's just fine to ignore standard material curriculum because it "conflicts with faith".

However, I'll put money that we start hearing about how the awful Quebec government won't recognize these schools officially, and are therefore limiting the students' futures. {e.g. chances are you won't get accepted into any credible university without a recognized high school diploma} The line will be that they are being discriminated against based on their religion.

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