I would like to know what this course teaches before I got upset about it. A course teaching a secular view of what these religions are and what they teach is a great idea. Knowing Quebec, it easily could be either way. An indoctrination course to make repugnant belief sets like Islam acceptable or one to prepare kids to think clearly enough to resist them.
Eeyore for Vlad
Que. parents protest mandatory religious course
Canwest News Service
Published: Saturday, October 18, 2008
MONTREAL – Several hundred parents gathered in downtown Montreal on Saturday to protest a controversial mandatory ethics and religion course that’s been taught since the beginning of the school year.
Carrying placards with slogans such as “Our kids, our rights” and “No state religion, thank you,” the parents’ group calling itself Coalition pour la liberte en education (CLE) is against religious culture and ethics instruction that’s often contrary to parents’ own beliefs, and the fact the course isn’t optional.
The course is mandatory for all elementary and high school students in Quebec’s private and public schools, except for Grade 9.
The Quebec government said it changed the school curriculum to replace courses on morals, Catholic and Protestant beliefs classes in ethics and religious culture, in order to introduce students to world religions.
But the mostly Christian participants at Saturday’s rally weren’t buying it, and want a say in the matter.
The CLE is collecting signatures on a petition, asking the government to make the course optional.
Flora Almeida Marlow is an immigrant from India. Three of her four children are in the public system in area of Mascouche, Que.
As many parents have done, she has asked her children to leave the classroom when the course is being taught.
“My children have to learn about themselves before learning other things, and they leave and go to the library during that class,” Marlow said. “I believe you can’t impose a law on people on how to raise their children. I believe in freedom of choice, including the study of religion.”
The CLE’s Richard Decarie said he was in Granby, Que., last week, and spoke to seven families who have pulled their kids out of the course.
“The parents are frustrated because they got letters from the schools, warning their names will be given to the Youth Protection agencies and there could be expulsion from the school,” Decarie said.
“Now the state decides what’s best for the kids?” he asked.
“What we’re doing here today is defending the rights of all parents as primary educators of their kids,” said Marie Bourque, also with the CLE.
The parents of 650 students at Loyola High School, a private Jesuit Catholic boys’ school in Montreal, have already requested that their children be excused from the course.
A couple from Drummondville, Que., has even launched a court case against the provincial education department over the new course.
Jean-Pascal Bernier, spokesman for Education Minister Michelle Courchesne, could not be reached for comment Saturday.