Quebec students MUST take ethics-religion course

s_lone

Council Member
Feb 16, 2005
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Quebec students must take ethics-religion course
Supreme Court dismisses parents' appeal against mandatory attendance
CBC News Posted: Feb 17, 2012 4:59 AM ET Last Updated: Feb 17, 2012 10:14 AM ET


Canada's top court on Friday rejected an appeal from parents in Quebec who sought the right to keep their children out of an ethics and religious culture program taught in the province's schools.

The program, which was introduced in 2008 to elementary and high schools by the provincial Education Ministry, replaced religion classes with a curriculum covering all major faiths found in Quebec culture, including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and aboriginal beliefs.

"Unless it can be found that any exposure of children to realities that differ from those in their family environment is unacceptable in light of the constitutional or quasi-constitutional protection conferred on freedom of religion, [the court] cannot conclude that the appellants have been able to prove their case," the Supreme Court of Canada said in its ruling.

In 2009, Quebec's Superior Court rejected a request from two Drummondville parents who wanted to to keep their children out of the program.

After their appeal was denied in Quebec in 2010, the parents took it to the Supreme Court, which heard their case in May 2011.

Incompatible beliefs
When the program became mandatory in Quebec schools in May 2008, the appellants, who cannot be named under a court-ordered publication ban, had one child in elementary school and another in secondary school.

The parents wrote to the two schools to request that their children be exempted.

They claimed their children would suffer serious harm from contact with a series of beliefs that were mostly incompatible with those of the family,

The school board refused to grant the exemption, responding as other boards had to similar requests. The Quebec minister of education publicly stated that there would be no exemptions.
 

mentalfloss

Prickly Curmudgeon Smiter
Jun 28, 2010
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As an atheist, I have no problem with this.

Educating people about all faiths and their ethical significance - and consequently, allowing them to think for themselves and make critical decisions of philosophy is a good thing, no?
 

mentalfloss

Prickly Curmudgeon Smiter
Jun 28, 2010
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I personally do not think this is needed, discover religion on your own time and buck.

Well what leads to a better place for all of us?

We're not talking about a one-sided institution, like catholicism or whatever. It's one course to show people the fruition of our ideas and motives. Personally, I would enforce a philosophy course on ethics in general, but society will need a few generations to move in that direction and we have to get through religious tolerance first.
 

mentalfloss

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Jun 28, 2010
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I believe Canada is already a fairly inclusive place, I don't really see the need for this.

Right, but we don't want to be conservative because that plunges us back into ignorance.

We want to be progressive and forward thinking.

Unfortunately, most parents belligerently teach their children to follow what they were taught because their parents taught them and so on and so forth. This is silliness, because the child isn't open to learn any other options and it's based on the luck of who turned out to be your parents.

If all of the religious and ethical options were on the table to begin with and they had a choice to decide which mantra to go with, then people would be less conflicted early on in life and all that mental clutter that gets in the way of important decisions could be freed up.

A one-time intro course to the foundation of all of our beliefs can't cost that much to us and is a worthwhile expenditure.
 
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DaSleeper

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May 27, 2007
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Question: Is it a "course" with tests at the end of the year, where the results of the tests would determine acceptance to college or university????

Then they can do what you see parishioners do during the sunday sermon:smile:......but don't snore to loudly.;-)

I wonder if those of islamic faith will be exempt?:lol:
 

mentalfloss

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Jun 28, 2010
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Question: Is it a "course" with tests at the end of the year, where the results of the tests would determine acceptance to college or university????

Then they can do what you see parishioners do during the sunday sermon:smile:......but don't snore to loudly.;-)

I wonder if those of islamic faith will be exempt?:lol:

It would be best as a children's course, taught without any religious influence - and only to educate.

Teachers are pretty good at that, and they're come down on hard by the board if they aren't fair and unbiased in their approach.
 

WLDB

Senate Member
Jun 24, 2011
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As an atheist, I have no problem with this.

Educating people about all faiths and their ethical significance - and consequently, allowing them to think for themselves and make critical decisions of philosophy is a good thing, no?

I pretty much agree. I took a similar course by choice in grade 11. It helps to understand other peoples way of thinking/worldview.
 

Cliffy

Standing Member
Nov 19, 2008
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Don't tell me that Quebec is far ahead of the rest of Canada in teaching tolerance. Now, isn't that a surprise.
 

wulfie68

Council Member
Mar 29, 2009
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Is it possiible to teach histroy without mentioning religion?

Bingo.

In my school days, the history parts of the social studies classes were always referring to the influence of religions, whether in studying ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, the religious influences in the Medieval and Renaissance periods (especially the historical impacts of the rise of Islam and of the Protestant Reformation), the impact of religion on Russian history, and of course the impact the difference of Catholicism in Quebec and the predominance of protestant sects had in the development of Canada. (that little list isn't all inclusive by any means either)

It isn't necessary to study the intricacies of the theologies but an understanding of the basics of the religions helps us understand the origin of some of the issues and conflicts that exist to this day. Parents that strongly object to this type of study need to have their fitness to be a guardian of our future citizens examined, IMO...
 

mentalfloss

Prickly Curmudgeon Smiter
Jun 28, 2010
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The focus with this class would have to remain on ethics.

Inevitably, as we evolve to let go of our religious leanings, students will begin to learn about ethical philosophies such as deontology and utilitarianism. I really hope it goes that way as those concepts are pivotal in fostering critical discussions on policy.
 

coldstream

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Oct 19, 2005
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It seems to fit into the pattern of 'post' religious age. Far from respecting all religions it respects none of them.. making them all products of historical, psychological and social origins.. containing no transcendent Truth.. only relative values.

The only thing you CANNOT question in this social philosophy is the amorphous concept of individual 'human rights'.. under which aegis things ALL relgions find abhorrent.. abortion, homosexuality, promiscuity, euthenasia.. is deemed not only acceptable.. but determined to be worthy of mandatory 'worship'.

The new paradigm is every bit as sanctimonious of its 'infallibility' and potentially tyrannical as any religion.
 

Bar Sinister

Executive Branch Member
Jan 17, 2010
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Don't tell me that Quebec is far ahead of the rest of Canada in teaching tolerance. Now, isn't that a surprise.


OK - I won't tell you. A course dealing with the perils of racism and intolerance has been part of Alberta Social Studies for decades. Unless things have changed I expect it still is.

I personally do not think this is needed, discover religion on your own time and buck.

Discovering other religions on your own time has not worked particularly well in most cultures. Anyone remember how Judaism was "discovered" by most Christians during the last thousand years?
 

Dexter Sinister

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Oct 1, 2004
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It seems to fit into the pattern of 'post' religious age. Far from respecting all religions it respects none of them.. making them all products of historical, psychological and social origins..
So what's wrong with that? That's what they are. Has it not struck you as significant how relative to culture religious belief is? The only reason you're Christian is because of where you grew up. If you'd grown up in Pakistan you'd be a Muslim, and just as convinced of Islam's truths as you are of Christianity's. If you'd grown up in India odds are you'd be a Hindu, and just as convinced again. That ought to be the strongest single clue to the fact that they're human inventions, they come from inside our heads, not from any outside agents, those are inventions too.