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We're all relativists now--News from the North

In Quebec, all children from 1st grade up have to be put through a relativistic "religion" curriculum that teaches that homosexuality is normal and that treats all religions, including atheism, as equal.

I said "all children." I meant "all children." I mean children in Catholic private schools, children in all private schools, home schoolers, everyone. Parents have marched in protest to no effect. Over 1,700 applications for exemptions have been denied. A Catholic school has been refused the opportunity to substitute a world religions course more in line with its Catholic identity. No. No. No. We are all relativists now, or we will be by the time Big Brother is done with us. (Perhaps I should learn to say "Big Brother" in French, since this is Quebec.)

And thanks for nothin' to Bishop Martin Veillette who wrote a letter to the Minister of Education undermining Catholics' attempts to get an exemption. Here's what he wrote:

"We know it requires a very serious reason to justify an exemption from a school program," he wrote. "The most serious reason would be without doubt the violation of the freedom of conscience, which is a fundamental right. The program in itself does not seem to us to be vulnerable to such a dispute a priori [before the fact]. It is rather a posteriori [after the fact], based on experience, that a demand for exemption could in our view become admissible in cases where an injury might be serious enough."

To which I reply, first and foremost, the hell you say it "requires a very serious reason to justify an exemption from a school program." What junk! We're talking about a set curriculum that teaches children about faith and morals, written and mandated by the state. It should require no particular reason, much less a "very serious" reason, to justify parents' opting their children out of such a curriculum, especially if the parents have gone to the trouble of choosing an alternative education for them in the first place. And just how serious an injury is the Bishop waiting to see a posteriori? If the kids grow up thinking homosexuality is normal or with their normal resistance to propaganda on the subject weakened, is that a "serious enough" injury? Why don't parents get to decide whether to risk permanent moral and spiritual damage to their children? Has the Bishop ever heard of the category of "scandal"? You know--little ones, millstones, and all that?

In contrast, kudos to Quebec City Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who

has spoken out vigorously against the relativistic religion program, saying the course "subjects religions to the control and the interests of the State and puts an end to religious freedoms in school which were acquired many generations ago."

God bless the U.S.A.

HT--Jeff Culbreath

Comments (26)

Google The Winnipeg Statement of 1968. They reap what they sow.

Maybe if enough Catholics (including bishops) write to dear Bishop Veillette, he will retract his odious and ridiculous letter. It certainly needs retracting.

Has he read ANYTHING the Church has written about education? Virtually every document the Church has put out in the last 100 years that mentions education states right up front that parents are the first educators of their children. And then goes on to explain that this means parents are responsible for deciding how their children are to be educated. Any state effort to educate must respect that parental role, or it violates the natural order ordained by God.

What I find particularly striking is that I assume when Catholic documents say that, this is a _central_ area they are thinking of--telling children what to think about moral matters and how to evaluate various religions and religious claims. It doesn't get much more to the heart of things than that. And I would suspect that, although the statements are general, one of the things they are most intended to guard against is usurpation by the State from _Christian_ parents, esp. Catholic parents, of that opportunity to have "first dibs" at forming their children's consciences and religious ideas.

It reminds me of exceptions to the First Amendment that permit restrictions on political speech. What sort of speech did the Framers _most_ have in mind when they wrote that amendment? So, here: What part of education was the Catholic Church _most_ concerned about when it wrote about parents' responsibilities?

I bet Fr Vincent d'André. SSPX who heads Socity's school in Quebec will not take this lying down..... if I'm right about what I think Fr.d'André will do then I almostfeel sorry for the State of Quebec..... almost

I suppose he could "teach" the curriculum in the sense of teaching children to refute it. But it's still introducing some subjects just much too young. Frankly, I don't think first graders should be introduced even to the concept of homosexuality unless there is something that comes up such that it cannot be avoided. And even then, of course, it should be treated with as little detail as possible. If this curriculum is, as the article states, teaching first graders about homosexual "families," it's just out. Even trying to teach little kids to fisk it won't do. It's a direct attack on innocence.

I managed to find on Quebec's government website (not bad for someone who doesn't know French) the original informational brochure on the curriculum (English version), which explains it in general terms:


It's all very PC.

Had a chance to glance at it. Lots of stuff about "diversity of values" and "getting children prepared for the world they see on TV." Query: In what sense is the world they see on TV the real world? Ah, never mind. The money quote from the main story about bringing "children to explore the diversity of relationships of interdependence between members of different types of families" is evidently from a different document, as I didn't find it in this one. That sentence is, of course, code for promoting the homosexual agenda. Not really deep code, either.

LifeSiteNews has more.


The bishops' assembly has clearly fumbled the ball big-time on this.

The reason this is in the news now, by the way, is because the ruling of the court is recent. One mother wrote the following about asking that her son be exempted from the class in school:

"Regarding the ethical component of the course," she says, "we decided to ask that our eldest son be exempted after he told us that he felt very uncomfortable about 'ethical' discussions and debates that treated sexuality in a way that seemed to him intrusive and indecent."

I found a page with more documents that includes a series of reports as they were developing the curriculum.


The feminists also apparently had their say in the curriculum:

"Two of the organizations consulted pointed out that the issue of women’s place in religion was ignored. CAR is of the opinion that this deficiency must be corrected. Depictions of the sexes and of male-female relationships are major facets of all religions and, as such, must be recognized, i.e. not just mentioned in passing.

The evolution of women’s roles, and the contributions they have made through their ideas and commitment, must be considered. This evolution is reflected in the roles and status often assigned specifically to women, which must be identified, compared and explained in relation to those of men..."

Sounds like those were the milder parts.

It's so crazy to see that things have gotten to such a pass in Canada that this sort of stuff can be regarded as legitimately obligatory for teaching to all children.

My most creative idea of teaching it would be, er, teaching children safe use of one of those big, long, lighters they sell in the stores.


It was a rhetorical question. Fr D'Andre will kick up a stink, he will denounce the authorities as godless apostates from the pulpit, he will purposely say something that will get him hauled up in front of the kangaroo courts human rights tribunals and then he'll tell them to shove their heads where the sun don't shine (hopefully using slightly more eloquent language) all of which will be tremendous fun to watch, who knows it might even get him somewhere

It's so crazy to see that things have gotten to such a pass in Canada that this sort of stuff can be regarded as legitimately obligatory for teaching to all children.

A unit on world religions in a high school class would be one thing (where the damage would be containable), but as you pointed out, all children from first grade up will be required to learn this stuff. That's what makes it so obnoxious to me.

Well, plus it's _ethics_ and religion, which introduces many cans of worms, it includes atheism as a "religion," _plus_ it's an entire program, not just some highly general set of innocuous informational goals ("We'd like you to give students information on the historical origins and the tenets of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and Mormonism") with the perspective _on_ the religions left to the specific school, the home schooling parents, etc. So it's incredibly totalizing. This is evident from the fact that this Catholic school, Loyola I think is the name, was told that it had to replace the world religions class it already had with this program and that it couldn't present factual material on world religions in a way more consistent with its Catholic identity. Just amazing.

Here's a thought: just break the law and not teach the class. We are not under any obligation to teach our kids this rubbish, and the authorities have no natural authority to force it.

I'd be lookin' into moving out of Quebec, that's for sure. Obviously, the state government agents there are major-league control freaks. One hesitates to try to imagine what it will be next.

Lydia, the whole idea of government schools is bad. How about some separation of school and state? You wouldn't want the government in your kitchen telling you what to feed your kids, would you? Why would you want them having anything to do with their education? You notice that private schools never have protracted battles over sex education, science vs. religion, left vs. right politics, etc. There is some variety and choice out there, and the market works it all out.

Of course we can't end government control of schools overnight--we didn't get where we are overnight, either. But when we are talking about principles, let's hold out for the best.

In practice, anything that gets kids out of public schools and into private schools or home schools is good. Just watch out, as you pointed in your post, for government interference in private school curricula...

Well, that's the point, isn't it? What the Quebec authorities are saying is, "No exit, folks. We're going to write a curriculum on the most sensitive areas of ethics and religion and force _everybody_ to teach it to their kids, even if the kids aren't in government schools." Very unpleasant.

Here's a thought: just break the law and not teach the class. We are not under any obligation to teach our kids this rubbish, and the authorities have no natural authority to force it.

Well, that's pretty much a necessity, isn't it? I really don't see how a person can morally use this program, even with a lot of "but we teach something different"s added for containment, when the kid is in first and second grade. It just won't do. Every teacher, and every homeschooler, should be conscientious objectors on this - it is probably a strict moral duty to do so.

The question is, what then? Does the province have a way of checking up on the homeschoolers, for example? On the private schools. A friend of mine teaching religion was ordered to use an objectionable text: "use it in the classroom". She used it to prop up the short leg on her desk. What happens if the teachers, and schools, give a lot of non-compliance.

Every time I hear a liberal scream about the need for "openness" and "dialogue" and "toleration" for other points of view, I just recall Quebec and realize exactly what they mean by these terms: the tyranny of the liberal state telling you and your kids what you ought to think and feel, and to hell with conventional morality. The toleration is always for actions and beliefs that Christianity objects to, NEVER for actions and beliefs that Christianity upholds. The openness is always intended to subject your kids to ideas that they never would have imagined, much less accepted, on their own, and that destroy innocence and purity.

A friend of mine teaching religion was ordered to use an objectionable text: "use it in the classroom". She used it to prop up the short leg on her desk. What happens if the teachers, and schools, give a lot of non-compliance.

I like this person already.

Here's a thought: just break the law and not teach the class. We are not under any obligation to teach our kids this rubbish, and the authorities have no natural authority to force it.

This is easy for us to say when our jobs aren't on the line. If a good teacher gets canned because of this, might not someone worse take her place?

On the other hand, what if the threats are in fact idle, and dissent will almost never get you disciplined? What if the power is in the threat, not in the punishment?

Scary stories like these prompt us to vigilance, but what if our own horror tales contribute to the mythic power of the establishment and end up making dissent less likely?

Kevin Jones (to distinguish you from the other commentator Kevin), the horror story just _is_ this requirement. I don't imagine the parents are marching for nothing, and please note that there are specific parents, like the one I quoted above, whose children are being taught indecent sexual material in the course of this program in the schools and who are not being given an opt-out option. That mother could try taking the child out of the public school and home schooling him with the same material, simply censoring it or trying to teach it without the indecency. But the point is that the harm the bishop talks about (and that he's supposedly watching for) has already occurred. The horror story is that the state is even _trying_ to shove this down everyone's throat and that civil disobedience is the only way out unless one moves away from Quebec. It seems to me that that is bad enough. If there are no effective enforcement procedures, that's good in its own very minimal way, but things have gotten to a pretty pathetic pass when that's our great hope: "Well, so the State of Quebec wrote ethically and religiously relativistic curriculum that inter alia presents homosexual 'families' as normal and is forcing every child in the state from first grade up to be taught from it, but we can hope they aren't watching very carefully. Let's not be too alarmist, or people won't feel they are free to modify or ignore it." That just doesn't sound right.

This is easy for us to say when our jobs aren't on the line. If a good teacher gets canned because of this, might not someone worse take her place?

It is up to the community to resist together. That means the schools, as institutions, must break the law and consistently break other laws that the state uses to enforce its will. If the state tries to seize the bank accounts, then move the assets abroad. If the state sends the police to the school, the principle should speed dial as many concerned parents to arrive at the school to intimidate the police into leaving. If homeschoolers get arrested, their friends and neighbors need to get rough with the officers in such a manner as to convince them to let them go.

Self-defense and community defense apply here with the usual caveat that the minimum level of force necessary be used. If the state won't back down, be reasonable and hear the people, and even escalates it with brazen attacks on the liberty of the religious citizens of Quebec (regardless of religion), then those people have a moral right to resist.

Marc Ouellet, who leads in the model of the suffering servant, inherited the insubordinate accomodationist Bishop Martin Veillette, and a Church that has shriveled in the face of the Canadian embrace of Normative Pluralism and so many different and complex religious, social, economic and historical cross-currents.

The Quebecois are a warm and gregarious people devoted to preserving the physical beauty of their province and keeping their unique and dying heritage alive by circling the wagons around language. They are also a self-consciously tragic tribe that seems resigned to doom. Almost as if they know deep down that it is impossible to have a culture without a cult. The song Degeneration became an anthem several years ago and is typical of the sad despair that lurks just beneath the surface of life in Quebec.

“Now you, my little lady, change partners all the time
When you screw up you save yourself by aborting
But there are mornings when you awake crying
When you dream in the night of a large table surrounded by little ones.”

Bald isn't a hairstyle.

Also, if you're saying that some religion should be treated preferentially, rather than acknowledging prior epistemic parity, then it looks like your the relativist... Of course I'm inclined to impose my outmoded enlightenment standards of rationality on your personal spiritual paradigm and way of being in the world. Or whatever.

Also, also, divine command theory is the only theory I know of that condemns homosexuality. And we all know that's just God-relativism. Well those of us who love wisdom more than foolishness (see: 1 Corinthians 1:22-25) know that, but I suppose some will say it corrupts the youth to teach it.

Golly, Mr. Shipley, do you ever think shallowly and carelessly. Maybe you'll learn better somewhere along the line in graduate school, but meanwhile, please spare me your childish and uninformed rants. You appear totally ignorant of, for example, either Christian evidentialism in apologetics or natural law ethics. I have never in my life, ever, once, advocated a "personal spiritual paradigm and way of being in the world," and I do not go around denigrating enlightenment standards of rationality. Claims to such standards can be abused by people who think they know what the heck they are talking about but actually are uninformed internet infidels whose knowledge of such matters begins and ends (if it gets that far) with David Hume, but I try for the most part not to waste my time with such people. And here at W4, I do not tolerate such fools gladly. A word to the wise (as you are, by your own admission, wise) should be sufficient.

Grande Frere?

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