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← In an Alberta town, parents fight for a secular education

In an Alberta town, parents fight for a secular education - Comments

ajs261's Avatar Comment 1 by ajs261

"...her seven-year-old son asked her if he’d burn in hell."

And this is just a normal Catholic School? Personally I think any school which allows such revolting things to be taught should be closed down. I would be willing to bet that a lot of Catholic schools teach it unashamedly. Nothing more than psychological abuse.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 00:14:17 UTC | #599204

ThortheThundergod's Avatar Comment 2 by ThortheThundergod

Alberta is the conservative province of Canada. The fact Calgary elected a non white mayor (muslim in fact) was quite the shock heard around the world.

But the truth is, outside of Calgary and the major cities of the province we are surrounded by hotbeds of redneck conservatives who couldn't be more out of touch with the rest of this country.

I feel sorry for these parents, but I believe the government will step in here and do something about this.

I wish I could say the same thing here in Iceland, where our local humanist group is still fighting to fund our battle to secularize our school system. Any support would be welcomed at http://sidmennt.is/

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 00:14:53 UTC | #599205

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 3 by Atheist Mike

5 years old and she converts to catholicism? What the hell?

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 00:16:13 UTC | #599206

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 4 by Neodarwinian

That's the catholics. Everyone else has moved on to secular education, but the catholic church obviously does not want to relinquish the religious control over young minds.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 00:35:07 UTC | #599209

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 5 by Bernard Hurley

Comment 3 by Atheist Mike :

5 years old and she converts to catholicism? What the hell?

Fairly late in life to join the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; 5 days old is more usual.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 00:39:44 UTC | #599211

William33's Avatar Comment 6 by William33

If I have children and one comes home to announce that he/she has converted or is worried about going to hell, I will personally chop off the head of the person who fed them that mumbo jumbo.

That's what I call diplomacy.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 00:44:01 UTC | #599212

Austin K's Avatar Comment 7 by Austin K

"I'm a roman Catholic, and have been since before I was born, and the one thing they say about Catholics is they'll take you as soon as your warm!" - From Monty Python

I was born in an even smaller town in Alberta where things are very much the same. My mom who was a teacher there got in trouble with parents for not only teaching about evolution, but just telling kids about "the radical theory of giant lizards." That's right, dinosaurs. In fact, I think one of the reasons I never liked religion at all as a kid was that they tried to tell me that dinosaurs either never existed, or lived 6000 years ago, directly contradicting every book about dinosaurs. Like any other kid into dinosaurs, at the age of three I could tell the religious were retards.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 00:48:45 UTC | #599214

Paulette_B's Avatar Comment 8 by Paulette_B

We live in a town of around 20,000 in New Zealand. We have 1 Catholic 1 Christian, and 4 secular primary schools. On the first day of school this year, I was walking out of my 6 year old daughters class when something caught my eye. On the wall in large letters is printed "What Does A Good Scientist Look Like?" There are a few pictures, one of children in a science class, a couple of cute cartoon characters, and a nice big poster of Charles Darwin. I must admit, my heart swelled with pride and I was smiling from ear to ear! I'm pretty sure my daughter won't be coming home from school asking if she is going to burn in hell!

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 01:03:17 UTC | #599218

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 9 by Jos Gibbons

I noticed the article saying 30 % of the school's kids are Catholic. From Catholic families, journalists! It seems consciousness raising isn't finished yet.

On an unrelated note, what is the legal situation in Canada re: secularism? I know sod all about that one.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 01:08:31 UTC | #599219

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 10 by Bernard Hurley

Comment 7 by Austin K :

"I'm a roman Catholic, and have been since before I was born, and the one thing they say about Catholics is they'll take you as soon as your warm!" - From Monty Python

Ah yes! The Theology of Monty Python!

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 01:33:04 UTC | #599226

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 11 by aquilacane

I would sue the school for uttering threats against my child.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 01:36:34 UTC | #599229

AnAtheistBastard's Avatar Comment 12 by AnAtheistBastard

The real question is why did it take 16 years for anyone to complain?

Or at least that long for anyone to get their complaints noticed.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 02:02:55 UTC | #599235

Charisma's Avatar Comment 13 by Charisma

And this is just a normal Catholic School?

Oh yes. I live in Ontario and we have the same thing going on. I'm in highschool now, but the threat of Hell was far more common in grade-school (about kids aged 4-13). Church assemblies in the gym were manditory and still are in highschool although it's easier to sneek out of them in highschool. If you get caught sneeking out you get suspended for 3 days.

The thing is, the only way to get a fully french education here is to go to a Catholic school. There are no public-french schools here. I curently go to a french-Catholic highschool for lack of a french-public option. I've been in french schools my entire life and my bilingualism is far too important to me to simply go to an english school. I'd rather deal with the nonesense coming from the religious. I'm just glad I figured out it was nonesense. Sadly I can't say the same for my peers.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 02:03:52 UTC | #599236

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 14 by aquilacane

Comment 13 by Charisma

Oh yes. I live in Ontario and we have the same thing going on.

The only way to get a fully french education here is to go to a Catholic school. There are no public-french schools here.

I'm in Oakville, ON and we will be facing the same thing with our daughter. We have found the only French school available that isn't Catholic and are considering it. As for high school, there aren't any options. She will not go to a Catholic school but she will get a French education. We have about 10 years to hassle the people who can make that happen. I consider it a gross abuse of my daughters (and your) freedom from religion and right to the education we choose in a bilingual country.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 03:29:38 UTC | #599244

Jice's Avatar Comment 15 by Jice

Never thought I'd see my Provence on RD.net. Way to go redneck part of Alberta.

Schools in my city are separated in three ways. There are private schools, The Public Board, and the catholic board. (capitalization is an emphasis as to witch one I deem to worthy of caps.)

I only had a short encounter with one of the Christian schools, but I remember they made me say a prayer I didn't know the words too and got nervous cause I thought it was like a test or something.

It was pretty clear to me from a young age that religion wasn't something for me, something that came to head when I had to do my first 'confession' at like 12 or something, when I didn't feel I did anything wrong by then. Still don't.

As far as I know the separate school boards decide kinda what money is spent on in the schools in their care, and what's taught. I did go to a french immersion school and don't remember at all anything religious there, so it's kind of a shock to me to see that other french schools aren't like that.

But I assume what's happening in this small town is in part a problem because the school boards are voted in during every general election, I imagine if the majority of the voters are religious, which in small town Alberta, most are, they use that as a basis to vote on candidates with since it's the quickest way to find out how 'good' a person is.

I feel I kind of have to defend Alberta a little bit, it is my home and in the Major cities you'll not really find a problem with secularism at all, it's really one of the things about Canada I do tend to be proud of. Like last election, Neshi really was the best candidate for the job, and not once during the campaigning did anyone bring up the fact he was a Muslim. It was strictly about what idea's each of the candidates had about things that were in relation to the city, the airport tunnel, public transit, garbage collection, ring road etc. And I agreed with most of his ideas. So did a lot of other people. I can only imagine that if he tried the same thing in the states, someone pointing out he comes from a Muslim background, even though he's a political major from an Ivy league school, would have been enough to derail his whole beautifully run campaign.

As for the school in the rural town, I'm applaud the parents fighting the school board, and I hope for their victory, not only for that town, but to make it precedent in a case against all faith schools.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 06:12:12 UTC | #599263

EvolvedDNA's Avatar Comment 16 by EvolvedDNA

On a some what related note I have actually just heard that the public school board in Edmonton is going to be voting next week to create a policy to deal discrimination around sexual orientation with in the school, a first in Alberta. The public system here is are the secular schools, and the separate is the catholic system.. I think it is waste of money to have two school boards funded by the tax payer just to appease the Catholics. Another interesting note is that the Arch Bishop of Edmonton ruled that he did not want catholic schools taking money from funds raised by casinos etc as it was immoral.. however due to the shortage of money that that would have left the schools ignored the ruling..I say let the church fund the schools any way.. it if it is such an issue.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 06:49:22 UTC | #599268

carlin rules's Avatar Comment 17 by carlin rules

Catholics know what they're doing. Brainwash them young. I grew up in St. Albert, next door to Morinville, where we had both school systems, separate (Protestant) and Catholic. I went to the separate system and my next door neighbors went to the Catholic one. Although I spent much of my childhood playing with the neighbors, on sports teams as well, we never went to school together. Even at a young age it didn't make much sense to me. It created an artificial barrier. Now when I go back, I see the effect. Quite a number of individuals that went through the Catholic system are now very devout. Some are even priests. Having known these people in high school it's something I would never have predicted. I also find it ironic that the Catholic system in Alberta comes from the French Canadians, and here in Quebec (Canada's actual Francophone province) where I've now lived for 30 years Catholicism is dying out. It's difficult to find anyone except for the elderly who are devout. Since the Quiet Revolution, school's in Quebec are now divided by language, English and French, but that's another problem. Good luck with your campaign. I fully support you. Secular schools for all.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 06:57:07 UTC | #599269

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 18 by Stevehill

But this fall, when five-year-old Sarah Kirsop declared she had converted to Catholicism, her mother joined a group of local families who are challenging the status quo.

Uh?

Apart from anything else, I'd complain to the local Catholic bishop about what's going on here. Some friends of mine who converted, as adults, to Catholicism many years ago found the process extremely difficult, and the church would not accept them till they were completely satisfied my friends knew what they were doing and had undertaken quite a lot of study of Catholic doctrine.

I would think most thinking Catholics would condemn what appears to be an example of highly localised, and opportunistic, over-zealousness.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 08:10:57 UTC | #599274

Aztek's Avatar Comment 19 by Aztek

Comment 2 by ThortheThundergod :

I wish I could say the same thing here in Iceland, where our local humanist group is still fighting to fund our battle to secularize our school system. Any support would be welcomed at http://sidmennt.is/

I suddenly find myself curious about the situation in Iceland. Could you describe the situation in short, maybe just with a few sentences. When you say "secularize the school system", what is the system right now? I couldn't find the answer on the web page. Compulsory religious studies? No option to choose an alternative ethics subject? What is your goal you're fighting for; no studies in religion at all, or religious studies but without a connection to a certain religion?

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 09:17:14 UTC | #599285

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 20 by Bernard Hurley

Comment 18 by Stevehill :

.., when five-year-old Sarah Kirsop declared she had converted to Catholicism

Apart from anything else, I'd complain to the local Catholic bishop about what's going on here. Some friends of mine who converted, as adults, to Catholicism many years ago found the process extremely difficult, and the church would not accept them till they were completely satisfied my friends knew what they were doing and had undertaken quite a lot of study of Catholic doctrine.

I would think most thinking Catholics would condemn what appears to be an example of highly localised, and opportunistic, over-zealousness.

Granted this degree of zealousness is unusual, but it is not really at odds with Catholic doctrine. The key concept here is the so-called "Age or Reason" - usually taken to be 7 years old (although exceptions are made in some circumstances.) The idea is that before this age others can believe things, understand things and consent to things on your behalf, whereas after that age you have to show a more or less complete understanding of what you are doing. Traditionally, provided the right procedure had been followed, the baptism of someone under 7 was taken to be automatically valid even if it had been done by mistake or without the consent of the child's family. The most notorious case of the application of this principle being that of Edgardo Mortara, who was taken away from his Jewish parents by the authorities in the Papal States on the grounds that he had been baptised by a servant and was now a Catholic.

Coming back to Steve's point. When whole families convert to Catholicism, the parents and older children will need to go through the requisite study process and testing; however younger children will merely be baptised.

I can remember as a child in the 50's being told stories of the "wonderful" work of Catholic missionaries in Africa and elsewhere. Success seemed to be measured in terms of "number of people baptised". I wonder sometimes how many of these may have been infants baptised without their family's consent.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 10:55:21 UTC | #599304

mjwemdee's Avatar Comment 21 by mjwemdee

Zealousness? Do you mean zealotry? Or how about zeal?

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 13:18:13 UTC | #599332

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 22 by prettygoodformonkeys

Zealiosity? Zealiciousness?

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 17:50:23 UTC | #599414

Tray Donovan's Avatar Comment 23 by Tray Donovan

Given that my girlfriend and many of my friends attended catholic schools their entire lives, you'd be surprised what little affect it has on their religiosity. Almost all of them are basically deists or outright atheists. I live directly across the street from a catholic school here in Medicine Hat, Alberta (in the southeast of the province), and hearing conversations amongst the students daily, I don't think many of them take it all that seriously. However, we are not a small town, and many have friends that are in the public system, so it's easier to ignore the nonsense, I suppose. Personally, I think the entire seperate system should be abolished, but I don't see that happening; there are far too many catholics in this province that would raise hell if it were attempted. I just take heart in knowing that it doesn't seem to take hold very well.
We are winning.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 21:22:42 UTC | #599487

Merco's Avatar Comment 24 by Merco

And this is just a normal Catholic School?

I'm in Hamilton, ON and went to a Catholic school. Hell was a very accepted concept for as long as I can remember. We said multiple prayers everyday and had masses in the gym (and in the auditorium in High School) very regularly. I even recall a time in the third or fourth grade when a class-mate got in a lot of trouble for slightly mistreating bread in private (yes, the sacred kind).

By the way Aquilacane, I work in Oakville.

Mon, 07 Mar 2011 00:11:08 UTC | #599528

celiamn's Avatar Comment 25 by celiamn

At least this isn't some fundamentalist religion fighting for it's "right" not to teach kids real science. I went to a catholic school and was told from a very young age the the Old Testament was not strictly history, but more of an allegory. They are pretty crazy about hell though. I was never told I was going there, but there was a statue of people clawing their way out of hellfire and reaching up to the virgin Mary in my church. That always terrified me as a child, and when my mother asked the priest about it, he told her it was important for me to learn about. That and the fact that I was baptized at 6 weeks are the only things that really pissed me off. I would have been much, much angrier if I had been denied knowledge of evolution, as that would have changed my childhood entirely, as natural history was my favorite thing and I wanted to be a paleontologist.

Mon, 07 Mar 2011 03:31:26 UTC | #599565

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 26 by alaskansee

Nice to hear from all those Alberta's but let's face it that's catholic schools all over the world, including Iceland I dare say. It's also our "Our Lady of the Snows" too but what's the big surprise or calls of "redneck"?

This is completely separate bunch of nutters, not the more evangelical Stockwell Day christian types and right wing social conservative "Albertan Rednecks". So back off the redneck bashing this is the "church of child worriers" you need to complain about.

Mon, 07 Mar 2011 06:38:06 UTC | #599575

Hendrix is my gOD's Avatar Comment 27 by Hendrix is my gOD

The religious teachings of catholic schools pale in comparison to the real problem of catholic schools: the preponderance of pedophile priests in catholic schools, churches, and youth organizations worldwide. This is not a problem to be underestimated or denied as rumor. Last month, three priests and a lay teacher at the catholic grade school that I attended as a child were arrested for raping children. This was part of the D.A.'s indictment of numerous priests across the archdiocese and charges of cover-up by the cardinal and previous cardinal. It is an outrage that parents should be forced to place their children in a known criminal organization and call it public education. These schools should be shut down even as private religious schools .

Mon, 07 Mar 2011 19:25:57 UTC | #599767

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 28 by Stafford Gordon

Yet more vile child abuse.

Wed, 09 Mar 2011 17:26:47 UTC | #600508