Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cultural Relativism as the State Religion: The Case of Quebec

Barbara Kay, in the National Post, has a damning indictment of the new school curriculum on ethics and religion, which has been imposed on every public and private school in Quebec, including home schoolers. The government claims the right to tell parents how their children must be educated in areas of ethics and religion. The government furthermore presumes to impose cultural relativism on every citizen regardless of his or her sincerely-held religious convictions.

This is the "dictatorship of relativism" that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) warned about in his homily at Pope John Paul II's funeral. It is dictatorial because it is imposed from the top down by the State without regard for the natural rights of parents to educate their own children and it is relativism because it teaches that all religions are equally right (and thus necessarily all wrong).

"In September 2008, after years of pre-planning by elites without public consultation, Quebec’s Ministry of Education established a province-wide, compulsory pedagogical program called Éthique et Culture Religieuse (ÉCR).

All Quebec students — public, private, even the homeschooled — must take ÉCR (with the exception of one secondary school year) from age six through high school.

On its sunny face, the ÉCR program introduces students to the rich variety of religious beliefs and rituals in today’s “intercultural” Quebec, where all citizens “live together in the bosom of a Quebec [that is] democratic and open to the world.”

But a newly landed bombshell amongst Quebec’s chattering classes, a study produced by Ethnic Studies Phd candidate Joëlle Quérin for the Institut de Recherche sur le Québec, persuasively argues that the ideology behind the course is anything but benign, reinforcing concerns about this troubling program I expressed in these pages last December.

Following a close analysis of the course’s stated objectives, content, teachers’ roles and suggested activities, Quérin pulls no punches in her conclusion: “I wanted to verify if the course gives knowledge to children or if it indoctrinates them. I observed that it was the second alternative that prevailed.”

This is getting very close to home. The collapse of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec has created a vacuum into which a naive, Enlightenment faith in reason and tolerance has flowed. The philosophical underpinnings of this new state religion are so self-contradictory, so shallow and so detrimental to civil society and the family that they are inadequate to sustain civic life and freedom. Quebec is on a fast slide into tyranny. And persecution is looming on the horizon.

"Quérin cites, for example, one instance where students were invited to redesign the Quebec flag, replacing the cross with a more “inclusive” symbol, and another, an activity called “Youpi! Ma religion à moi!” (my own religion!) in which religions actually invented by students are accorded the same esteem as real ones. Such subversive pedagogical impulses dismissively mock Quebec’s unique culture, based, like all others, in a shared language, religion and collective values formed over time."

This exercise teaches impressionable young children to mock the religion of their parents and lays the groundwork for propaganda against Christianity, just as we have seen in the USSR, China, Nazi Germany and other totalitarian regiemes. There is push back, but so far it is weak and divided. Anti-clericalism today ought to take the form of anti-statism.
"A May 2009 Léger marketing poll on ÉCR found that 76% of québécois prefer a choice in religious education; they think their elites have shown contempt for the population. Many parents are demanding ÉCR exemptions, if not outright abolition of the program. Grassroots resistance movements — strange bedfellows of anti-clericalists, practicing Catholics and nationalists, each with their own support network — are pushing back through political activism, the media and the courts .

As well they should. ÉCR is a creepy state foray into social engineering. Disguised as multicultural feel-goodism, the program is in reality the utopian Quebec Left’s strategic plan for societal transformation. Their tactics: the appropriation of parents’ natural and rightful authority over their children’s religious upbringing; the willful erosion of children’s pride in their Quebec patrimony; and the slow suffocation of students’ inherent curiosity and intellectual autonomy.

If Quebec does not wish to end up in the sick ward of western cultures, ÉCR must be excised in the operating theatre of popular resistance."

Pray for Quebec.

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