Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Judge's Ruling Upholds Religious Freedom in Quebec

Barbara Kay has an excellent column in The National Post celebrating the blow struck for religious freedom by the Quebec Justice Gerard Dugre in banning the government from imposing its religion on a Montreal, private, Catholic high school. She writes in "Score One for Quebec's Religious Freedom":

Who gets to decide what kind of religious and moral instruction children receive in school? Parents or the state? Quebec says it’s the state. But late last week, a Quebec Superior Court judge delivered a powerful blow for the opposite side of the argument.

The case was initiated by Loyola, a private, anglo, Catholic high school located in Montreal. Loyola had requested an exemption from a provincially mandated ethics and morality course — Éthique et Culture Religieuse (ECR) — on the grounds that it provides its students with an equivalent program, albeit one imbued with the school’s Jesuit pedagogical principles. On June 18, Justice Gérard Dugré found that the government’s decision to refuse Loyola’s request was invalid because the refusal was based on the assumption that a confessional program could not accomplish the goals of ECR.

The Ethics, Culture and Religion curriculum is specifically designed to pry children away from the Christian beliefs of their parents and convert them to the state religion:
Religious activists opposed to the program see it as a blatant case of social engineering, a statist indoctrination of children into the ideology of moral relativism. Their quite reasonable fear is that the course will convince impressionable children that no religion is unique or has any superior moral insight to offer or is worthy of special reverence.

As I wrote in a column at the time of its implementation, “The program is predicated on the worst possible educational model for young children: the philosopher Hegel’s ‘pedagogy of conflict.’ As one of the founders of the ECR course put it, students “must learn to shake up a too-solid identity” and experience ‘divergence and dissonance’ through ‘le questionnement.’ ”

But her quotes from the judge's decision are music to the ears of those who decry the dictatorship of relativism:
In his 63-page decision, Judge Dugré issued a surprisingly aggressive and even humiliating rebuke to the Ministry of Education: “The obligation imposed on Loyola to teach the ethics and religious culture course in a lay fashion assumes a totalitarian character essentially equivalent to Galileo’s being ordered by the Inquisition to deny the Copernican universe.” By insisting on rigidly secular guidelines for the teaching of religion, Judge Dugré said, the Quebec Charter of Rights had been violated.
In a free society the government, representing the majority, does not have the right to impose the religion of the majority (Secularism) on the minority against their will. This is a basic freedom enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, recognized in the UN Charter and one which Canadians have given their lives to defend.

Read it all here.

When the government of the day seeks to usurp the place of the family and violate the freedom of the individual with its intolerant and irrational new religion, then resistance by all possible means is mandatory for those who would defend liberty. Thank God for a judge who understands the Charter and basic logic and who possesses the courage to stand against the baying mob.

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