If we’re going to have religious fundamentalists trying to rabble-rouse left, right, and centre, in this country, the conservative media is going to have to figure out how to cover them responsibly. Believe me, I wish it wasn’t the case, but it is. We live at a time when the Globe & Mail willingly prints columns claiming that God personally intervenes to bring criminals to justice, when the Science Minister of this country — the Science Minister, for Christ’s sake — is an evolution-denying dunce, and when the Agriculture Minister of our largest ally seriously advises prayer as a solution to drought. Welcome to the post-Enlightenment.
Which brings us to Ontario. I wrote about it last week, but this week the ante was upped. Religious fundamentalist parents across the province apparently are writing in demanding that their children be removed from class before evil, sensitive, atheist-sounding, left-wing-ish anti-Christish topics come up. And it’s not just the usual bugbears, like gay marriage and abortion, as you can see from this form letter prepared for concerned parents by PEACE Hamilton, which lists as topics that parents object to having taught in their children’s schools:
- The occult — The form letter complains about the teaching of “witchcraft, black magic, spirit guides, Satanism, wizardry, new age, channelling… [and] psychic powers”
- Contraception — Schools should not “provide a false sense of security with regard to the effectiveness of condoms.” This bizarre caveat hardly matters, because later in the package it declares that the teaching of anything related to either condoms or STDs “cannot effectively be achieved for our child without interfering with his/her spiritual understandings of the value of abstinence.”
- The environment — Kids should not be exposed to any environmentalism presented “from a humanistic (for the benefit of man to live as long as possible) or naturalistic (deifying the Earth) worldview.” Also out is “environmental worship,” defined as “placing environmental issues/concerns above the value of Judeo-Christian principles.”
- Anything to do with “moral relativism,” “secular humanism,” or “naturalism” — Also out. Obviously.
Do Ontario’s schools really teach Satanism, black magic, “wizardry” spirit guides, and psychic powers? Speaking as a non-Ontarian, I feel like I’ve missed out on a really fun education.
The conservative media doesn’t seem to know quite what to make of these people. The Ottawa Citizen isn’t sure we should have students “trooping in and out” of the classroom, “buffet” style. One National Post columnist thinks we should just get rid of universal public education altogether so that kooks can freely dispense kookery in special voucher-funded kook schools. The Toronto Star thinks the whole thing is ridiculous, and doesn’t mind saying so.
PEACE Hamilton’s form letter explains that it is being sent because the family believes in “a set of values based on traditional Biblical-Christian principles.” I’m really happy they mentioned the Bible. My last post in this series also covered some important Biblical teachings that it presumably would be okay to teach in school, given that these kids were raised on “Biblical” principles. I have many, many more, but those were some of the best.Tweet