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Canada: secularist outrage at pro-life petition at Catholic school

Catholic World News - April 24, 2012

The Canadian Secular Alliance and People for Education are expressing outrage that at least four teachers at a Catholic school in Mississauga, Ontario, have asked students to sign a petition in support of pro-life legislation.

Catholic schools in Ontario receive public funding.

“It just raises the question again: is this the sort of thing that taxpayers should be funding?” said Greg Oliver, president of the Canadian Secular Alliance. “Individual students have the right to hold whatever opinion they come to independently, but this is a case of a publicly-funded school system essentially using these children, either indoctrinating them, or using them as a political tool, to advance certain opinions.”

“No one was forced to sign anything; it was presented as an option,” said a spokesman for the school board. “

“Pro-life, right-to-life, is part and parcel of the catechism of the faith, which affirms life from conception to natural death,” he added. “So, certainly we support students and staff in engaging in marching and awareness around that issue.”

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  • Posted by: - Apr. 24, 2012 6:57 PM ET USA

    In Ontario, where this school is located, taxpayers are given a choice as to where the education portion of their taxes is assigned. The only tax dollars assigned to Catholic schools are the taxes of Catholic school supporters. Parents are required to support Catholic schools with their tax dollars in order to enrol their children in Catholic schools. The teachers involved are providing a wonderful example in the face of the federal government. Canada has NO LAW with respect to abortion.

  • Posted by: Defender - Apr. 24, 2012 2:53 PM ET USA

    U.S. Catholic schools use public school textbooks, test their students yearly (as do public schools) and often credential their teachers, as well (though not uniformly in teaching religion). The drive to best public schools academically has reduced religion to just another subject. This has also led to administrators who are incompetent and even intemperate towards religion.

  • Posted by: spledant7672 - Apr. 24, 2012 2:17 PM ET USA

    Canada does not have constitutional separation of Church and State like in the USA. We are a pluralistic society in which we contribute according to our common values, each drawing upon the source of one's values. That is something secularists forget in assuming that secular is the neutral position in Canada whereas it is but one position among the many legitimized for participation in our pluralistic context. Good on the school board for supporting Catholic teaching when under fire.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Apr. 24, 2012 11:37 AM ET USA

    All the more reason for not accepting public funds for Catholic schools. This will require a greater spirit of charity among Catholics to support the education of children.

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Apr. 24, 2012 7:39 AM ET USA

    From the modern point of view, doesn't the very nature of schools involve "indoctrinating . . . to advance certain opinions"? It's simply a question of whose opinions will be indoctrinated. Reasonable people might disagree about whether taxes should pay to indoctrinate this or that opinion, but there is no question that some opinion or another is being taught. [One would hope that facts are being taught, more than anything, but that is another discussion.]

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