Friday, July 9, 2010

Multiculturalism For Some, Forcible Assimilation For Others

The year is 1950. Maurice Duplessis' government passes new education regulations which mandate all Quebec schools (public, private, religious - even home-schoolers) to teach a special course on Biblical morals. The regulations specifically prohibit parents from exempting their children from the new course. Any opposition is ignored - you just can't fight the Union Nationale government.

But some actually dare to say no. Among them - the Lubavitcher Rebbe High School, one of the very few schools where a Jewish child can get an education within the framework of the traditional Hasidic Jewish teachings and values. The school is determined to stand up to what they see as a clear attempt to convert their students. They file a law suit demanding their right to opt-out of the government-mandated course. After a couple years of deliberations, the court agrees that it's not right to force a private Jewish school to teach Biblical morals from Christian perspective, especially if they already teach them from the Jewish perspective. Government-imposed requirements were denounced as totalitarian and unconstitutional. A triumph for common sense? Not yet.

Almost immediately, it was announced that the government would appeal the ruling, which the Education Minister finds "excessive". The provincial government is determined to make its new curriculum mandatory for every single school child with no exceptions. The Premier himself spoke on the matter, stressing the need for an appeal. The article in the paper is accompanied by a photo - and it almost looks like the Premier's face is distorted with rage. He doesn't say it into the microphone, but his face clearly spells it out - there's only one religion that has a place in Quebec - and that religion isn't Judaism...

What a terrible story, isn't it? Maybe the National Assembly should issue an all-party declaration, apologizing to the Jewish community for this outrageous attempt of forced assimilation? Oh, wait! I have some corrections to make! This didn't happen in the 1950s, it happened just recently. The course was not on Biblical morals - it was on "ethics and world religions". Finally, it wasn't the Lubavitcher Rebbe Hasidic School, but Montreal's Loyola Catholic School, that objected the mandatory classes in "isms". As for the rest - Justice Gérard Dugré did agree that imposing moral relativist indoctrination on a private Catholic school is totalitarian and unconstitutional. And see for yourself how the government reacted.

Charest claims that mandatory teaching of moral relativism in all Quebec schools (including private and religious ones) "is a subject that has been debated for years in Quebec". He is either quite forgetful or his idea of "debating in Quebec" actually means debating the issue in the National Assembly where his party holds the majority of seats. If there had been a referendum, most parents would have supported the old curriculum, which allowed them to choose between Catholic, Protestant or non-sectarian moral instruction.

The politicians however think that taking away parental choice is the way to go. PQ leader Pauline Marois tells us that "It is up to parents and the church to transmit faith. Schools must transmit knowledge." Except that the course is more about ideology than about knowledge; it's more about overwhelming students with a bunch of "isms", about creating impression that there's no absolute truth and about positioning certain "isms" as more "progressive" than Christianity, than about providing an impartial overview of different religions and philosophies. But even if the course actually had something to do with transmitting knowledge - would that knowledge be so essential that it justified trampling parents' constitutional right to raise their children according to their values?

Maurice Duplessis never tried to use the school system to convert children of other faiths. (So I apologize for using him in an example.) But the current government of Quebec appears to be determined to do just that. That's the only reasonable explanation to the rules that allow absolutely no exceptions and to the curriculum that confuses students more than it educates them, but which is mandatory from grade 1 to grade 11. If it's not an attempt to convert as many children as possible into Quebec's new state religion - then what is it? And, by the way, Ontario, with its new "Equity Training" policy to be forced on all school boards, including Catholic ones, is not that far behind.

For obvious reasons, the pro-abortion, anti-family crowd has almost no children to carry on their legacy. So they want to indoctrinate others' children in a desperate attempt to boost their ranks and to prevent their culture from fading in a generation's time. Devout Christians are about to become the new Jews to be forcibly assimilated.

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