The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Attention Freedom Of Religion: Lubricate Liberally
... and prepare for the slide.*
Controversy erupted after students at Market Lane Public School were shown videos that depicted the feelings of children who get taunted at school because their own parents are homosexuals.
Angry Muslim parents complained that their religious beliefs were getting less respect from the board than gay rights and demanded that their children be excluded on religious grounds from similar presentations in the future.
The board rejected their request Tuesday night on the grounds that allowing some students to be excluded from discussions about gay families would violate the rights of those children with same-sex parents.
Still clinging to the
Ontario's New Democrats echoed the government's position.
"I believe that human rights come above religious rights," said NDP critic Michael Prue.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms lists freedom of religion as a "fundamental right". Further down, under "equality rights" we have this:
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Contrary to popular belief, the word "orientation" does not actually appear in the document.
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What's supposed to be wrong with a video promoting the respect of other children whose family situation, through no fault of their own, is not socially acceptable (or even, according to some religions, based in immorality). Would we be talking about this if the video had been about teasing kids of single parents? What teaching of Islam would either of these lessons be contradicting, I wonder?
I'm all for getting the government out of education completely, which is the only real solution to this kind of conflict between belief systems. Until then, it might be wise for those arguing against government interference in religion to pick their battles a bit more carefully.
Posted by: Mark Wickens | 2004-11-18 6:43:48 AM
No we wouldn't be talking about the video if it were about the children of single parents, because being a single parent isn't sinful (necessarily)in the eyes of the world's religions.
Those sorts of "what ifs" are usually false analogies. "What if it had been about race rather than sexual orientation?" But race ISN'T the same as sexual orientation, except in our Charter happy world.
The video has two messages, one explicit, one implicit: a) don't tease kids because of the way their parents live, because b) homosexuality is just another lifestyle choice. Like it or not everyone believes b) is correct, and they don't want mere teachers contradicting their parental & religious teaching.
A video like that merely perpetuates the myth that there are millions of gay parents out there, when there aren't. It's just more propaganda put out by gay activists.
Why not just have a "don't tease kids" video in general? Although frankly I think such things are wastes of time. Kids should go to school to learn to read and write, not be socially engineered into little balls of self-esteem. Kids will tease other kids, goodie-goodie videos or not. Life is difficult.
Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2004-11-18 7:50:06 AM
Can we expect anytime soon, a school video presentation showing the humiliation and taunting endured by kids who were taken into care by Children's Aid, because their parents made the mistake of attending a church where the topic of the sermon was "spare the rod spoil the child" ?
I'm with Mr. Wickens on this - publicly funded education is a joke and should not exist. The way schools have been centrally organized and funded in Ontario pretty much guarantees that the people who pay for and use the schools have virtually no say in how the schools are run. And when all the power lies in the hands of distant and unaccountable bureaucrats, it should be no surprise that the most expensive and least sensible approach will be taken to every problem that arises. I've been to meetings where parent after parent stood up and told a school board mandarin "this is wrong, it makes no sense, and I don't know why you are doing this", and the only response is a blank, silly look on the bureacrat's face that seems to say "who cares what you think, what're you going to do, fire me?"
And it's more than just PC propaganda campaigns such as this one. My kids have to write province-wide exams in grade 3. Tens of millions of dollars are spent on these exams, because they are designed in such a way as to be very complicated and expensive to prepare for, to administer, and especially to correct. And the exams are crap, because they tell the parents nothing whatsoever about their children's progress that they don't already know from the report cards and teacher meetings.
And the exam results in the aggregate are completely meaningless. Many parents are shopping for houses and schools based on the published school exam averages, but there's a dirty little secret that they're not told: every principle is allowed to delete from their school's aggregate results, a certain number of the individual test scores. For example, a principal can remove all the test results of kids in learning difficulty, and the kids with the most language problems. Or, they can just delete the lowest 10 percent off the tail of their bell curve. Boing! Up goes their school's average. But many principals refuse to delete any of the scores, as point of pride, or maybe as a protest. What parents are never told is that the only statistically meaningful factor involved with a school's average test scores, is the average income of the students' parents. In other words, on average, kids with well educated and hard working parents also get a good education and work hard. Surprise!
And, evidently because of the millions of dollars squandered on the exams, my kids have no textbooks. None. All they get are a few photocopied "work sheets", author unknown, which are generally pretty crappy. By "crappy", I mean badly photocopied, poorly written, and full of typos. A real textbook for let's say grade 5 math, would have a brief explanation of each new type of problem and how to solve it, a couple of examples showing problems and solutions, then a large set of problems for the students. In the old days, the teacher would pick a few of the questions to be answered for homework, and the problems in the textbook which are unassigned can be used for practice by the students. The textbook and the sample problems are as helpful to the parents as they are to the student - let's face it, parents need to review their math skills regularly too.
But my kids don't have math textbooks. The kid in grade 5 comes home with a couple of photocopied problem sheets that have no instructions or sample problems on them. It all comes down to this: either a miracle happened and the kid understood perfectly the 5-minute explanation that the teacher made in the classroom - and is able to convey that explanation accurately to the parent - or else a miracle didn't happen, and we sit there for an hour flailing around guessing how they want a problem to be solved, and in what format they want the results written. And this is the New New Math, so a lot more marks are given for writing down the problem-solving steps and for the form of the answer than are given for the correct answer itself.
What a shame that conservative groups such as the Ontario Conservatives and the Fraser Institute got sucked in by this scam. You'll notice that the only truly sensible education reform by Harris - the private school tuition tax rebate - got kiboshed by Pinocchio, but the exam boondoggle did not.
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2004-11-18 8:18:06 AM
I think Kathy is right in stating that this video serves to perpetuate the myth that there are millions of gay parents, a myth much cherished by by the lavender mafia.
The Christian tradition, while condemming ACTS of homosexulaity, exhorts us to be tolerant of homosexuals....a point of view that I, as a gay man, can understand and even accept.
Islam, on the other hand, explicitly calls for the murder of homosexuals. In fact, most discussions in Islam concerning homosexuality revolve around methods of execution and little more.
Consequently, I think the muslim kids should be forced to watch the video, but ONLY on condition that Theo Van Gogh's short film be shown right before......and right after.
After all, if we's a gonna bawl, then let's have a damned good one!!
In the meantime, could someone contact CAIR and ask 'em not to hog all the kleenex
Posted by: John Palubiski | 2004-11-18 8:29:46 AM
I don't have any kids in school but I've been surprised to hear really nice people use the term "fag" as generic form of criticism. And this makes me think that the children of homosexuals are probably subject to schoolyard scorn on that account.
Instruction that they be treated with respect is to be commended. Especially if the school is in a part of Toronto that has a lot of gay parents (though I don't know if that's the case here).
I guess there will be more kids going to religious schools in the future to protect them from exposure to anti-discrimination information.
Posted by: Canadian Headhunter (Michael) | 2004-11-18 10:05:20 AM
>Kids should go to school to learn to read and write, not be socially engineered..
Kathy, kids need to be educated in manners as well. And someone has to tell them not to go around disdainfully calling people niggers, kikes, fags, etc.
My hunch is that the parents in this community express a disdainful attitude toward homosexuals which has then shown up in the playground.
So telling kids not to tease without being specific is not going to do the trick.
Posted by: Canadian Headhunter (Michael) | 2004-11-18 10:12:35 AM
Whatever happened to "sticks and stones"?
Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2004-11-18 10:49:40 AM
If "parents in this community express a disdainful attitude toward homosexuals", informing them that the rights of homosexual parents take priority over their fundamental "religious rights" isn't likely to solve the problem.
If the video was about the "power if prayer" to educate children about the legitimacy of the views of "goody 2 shoes" fundamentalist Christians (who were rather unmercifully teased when I was in public school), I suspect
there would be no shortage of NDP/Liberal outrage and demands to pull it.
Posted by: Kate | 2004-11-18 11:02:52 AM
[cross posted at sda]
When did children start to matter to the homophilics?
Posted by: firewalls 'r us | 2004-11-18 1:56:13 PM
A comment left at this weblog recently called for everyone in Toronto to be killed in nuclear fire and not a word was said about it despite the fact that nuclear fire would kill more than half the people leaving a comment to this thread.
Let us get our priorities straight (and sorry for the pun).
Posted by: Ghost of a flea | 2004-11-18 4:33:24 PM
Probably Flea because everyone was flabbergasted at the comment and thought he had to be joking. By the way I noticed a comment was removed, second thoughts huh, or like me you thought he was joking??
Posted by: MikeP | 2004-11-18 4:48:22 PM
Van Gogh was a friend of Pim Fortuyn, the populist politician murdered two years ago for offences against Islam. The hate-mongering Left demonised Fortuyn as a far-right racist, but he was no such thing.
On the contrary, he was a flamboyant left-wing homosexual sociology professor who firmly opposed racism and had many black followers.
But he started campaigning against Muslim immigration and denounced Islam as ‘backwards’ when homosexual teachers were sacked in the Netherlands because Muslim parents didn’t want their children taught by gays.
He was outraged that decades of campaigning for gay rights was going backwards, and that everyone was too frightened to speak out.
Controversy erupted after students at Market Lane Public School (85 Lower Jarvis St., Toronto on the Esplanade) were shown videos that depicted the feelings of children who get taunted at school because their own parents are homosexuals.
Angry Muslim parents complained that their religious beliefs were getting less respect from the board than gay rights and demanded that their children be excluded on religious grounds from similar presentations in the future
Posted by: Canadian Headhunter (Michael) | 2004-11-22 6:39:50 PM
Sorry, I wouldn't want my kids subjected to sensitivity training about gay issues no matter what form they take. I'll do my own teaching, thank you very much. You can be darn sure that no kid of mine ever sets foot in a public school no matter how much it costs me.
Posted by: Michael Dabioch | 2004-11-22 7:47:54 PM
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