Friday, June 24, 2011

Waterloo Region School Board Ends Gideon Distribution

For years, the Gideons have distributed bibles to grade 5 students in local schools here in Waterloo. No other religious group was afforded this access, a practice which is clearly discriminatory.

Back in November, the issue came up in the Waterloo Region School Board, and the board then voted to continue the practice.

Kudos to Ted Martin and Kathleen Woodcock, who were the only members of the School Board sensible enough to vote no.

But then - horror of horrors - it was suggested that groups other than Christians be allowed to distribute their religious propaganda, too.

Suddenly the Board had a change of heart, and voted 8-3 to end the practice.

Here are the members who voted to continue it:

* Cindy Watson
* Harold Paisley
* Colin Harrington

Shame on them.


Eohippus said...

The Niagara District School Board was forced to change their policy when Rene Chouinard asked humanist pamphlets distributed. The NDSB would only hand out bibles through the Gideons. Chouinard filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

Anonymous said...

More shame on the six who flipped IMO.

stoat said...

I agree. The three who didn't flip at least showed a willingness to allow exposure to a range of ideas, while the six who flipped demonstrated cowardice.

Corey said...

A Muslim group wanted to distribute the Koran, but they applied late last year and then decided withdraw their request.

The ending of distributing the Gideon bibles was talked about on the local news station. Most agreed it was the best option, but one person complained that the public schools were becoming atheistic and he also mentioned evolution being taught.

Anonymous said...

Canada is a Christian country.

That is not just wishful thinking it is a legal fact. Consider these two points.

1.) Firstly, all new Canadians pledge allegiance to the Queen of Canada, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Canadian born citizens are assumed to be loyal to the Crown. Since her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is the head of the Anglican Church it follows that every Canadian has pledged allegiance directly or indirectly (by Canadian birth) to the Anglican Church Monarch. All of Canada's citizens have pledged allegiance to the head of a Christian Church. Obviously Canada is a Christian country.

2.) Secondly, the preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states the case very plainly. Here it is:
Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law: . . .'
( )

Clearly the authors of the Charter were referring to the Christian "God". Let me restate then the Charter line in its full meaning: Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of the Christian God. Canada is, in a very literal and legal sense, a Christian country.

The Public School Boards should accept the responsibilty to teach the truth about the basic Christian nature of Canada. In fact it is literally unpatriotic to take a secular stand on this issue.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Dear Anonymous:

Since Canada is a "Christian country", according to you, what should we do about all those pesky Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and atheists residing within its borders? Should we deport them, or worse?

And since it is "literally unpatriotic" to disagree with you, what is the proper remedy for people like me who do disagree? Should I be deported, or worse?

Please do let all us non-Christians know what we have in store, should you and your ilk come to power.

Anonymous said...

The original Boy Scouts oath had it right: "I promise to do my duty to God and the Queen."

I'm not speaking against any religion, and I'm definitely not speaking against any individual person. The Christian nature of Canada is simply a fact. I believe that Christian values have served Canada very well in our history allowing an atmosphere where other religious practices can be observed. I don't believe that any Muslim nation or any Hindu nation or even Israel have the same record of peace and toleration for other faiths as Canada does. Canada's good record is not the product of the latest politically correct hogwash. Canada's excellent record is due to it's Christian foundations. The recent secular "atheist" outlook is not our tradition, it is not at all what made Canada a great place. The danger is that we will loose the very quality of Canada that made it an attractive destination for new immigrants. The Canadian Christian culture is the true gem that made Canada the best place in the world.

I didn't say it is unpatriotic to disagree with me. I said it is unpatriotic to renege on the Canadian Oath of Citizenship. The school boards across the country should be teaching children about their duty of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen of Canada. The Queen holds the title, "Defender of the Faith" and "Supreme Governor of the Church".

The point is that a School Board that prevents the distribution of the King James version of the Bible on philosophical grounds does a great insult to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. It's also an insult to all patriotic Canadians and to the essence of Canadian identity. The School Boards have a responsibility to respect and promote the Bible as part of their duty of allegiance to the Monarch and to Canada. Conversely, they do not have the same responsibility to promote any other religion's literature, including the atheist religion.

For your review have a look at the Oath of Citizenship:

'I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.'

Nobody forces you to be a Canadian. Another of our wonderful freedoms is that you can leave if you wish.

Anonymous said...

If the board had continued this policy, I would have gone to court to force the distribution of materials from the Church of Scientology. I wonder how many parents would have been happy with that?

It's quite a stretch to say that Canada is a Christian nation. The Charter is a living document, interpreted by the Supreme Court. I highly doubt if I publicly stated that I renounce my allegiance to the Queen that I was assumed to have upon my birth, that they would take my citizenship. Since I have no citizenship in any other country, what exactly would that mean? Your ideas are complete nonsense.

Just because Canada was founded upon certain principles 134 years ago, it doesn't mean they still hold today or that they hold any legal or cultural weight any more.

In < 50 years religion will be a fringe element in this, and many other Western countries, save perhaps the USA.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous (11:59 PM, November 29, 2011)

The Church of Scientology is not a Christian religion, and therefore distribution of its materials does not qualify as a duty of allegiance to the Queen. The School's off the hook. L. Ron Hubbard's imaginative "cult" method of marketing his Science Fiction books is unique and perhaps noteworthy from the perspective of a publicity campaign. It is clearly a form of commercial promotion. It's my guess that Hubbard never intended for his scheme to become "shady", as it has. Each School Board decides on a case by case basis - hopefully using common sense. Besides, the current system of distribution of the Gideon bibles requires parental permission. Nobody forces the bible on anyone.

Your comment about the Charter being a "living document" interpreted by the Supreme Court touches on the biggest problem in the Western world today. That monumental of all problems is Judicial Activism. Take a look at the book, Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges, by Robert H. Bork (2003). He says there is a veritable plague of judicial activism in Canada. It is very apparent that the Judges in the last 30 years have been increasingly abusing their powers in the Charter with no accountability to the public. The result has been the "Culture War", which is really what we're talking about here on this blog.

Renouncing your allegiance to the Queen with respect to the Oath of Citizenship is equivalent to renouncing your Canadian Citizenship. If you stayed in Canada, you would forfeit your hospital insurance, have no driver's license, no old-age pension, no wage paying job and probably be sent to jail for not paying your income tax - good luck on that (you thought it was a free country?$). Go ask Conrad Black, about the consequences of renouncing citizenship - you could ask him what jail was like too.

The Charter was assented to March 29th, 1982. ( Pierre Trudeau's Liberal government brought the Constitution to Canada. So it was Trudeau that was re-stating in 1982 the notion that, "Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God ..." I guess that statement still "lives".

From a practical sense I think turning down the chance to have a free bible is "complete nonsense". I'm in an Ontario School district where there are about 1000 grade 5 students every year. The replacement cost for an individual to buy a bible themselves would run somewhere between $10 and $20 dollars each. Do the math! That's like turning down a donation of $10,000 to $20,000 a year. And why, because some insecure atheist parent is afraid his kid might become a Christian - it doesn't say much for his parenting skills. The irony is that when I read my school Gideon Bible 40 years ago it inspired me to go on and read about many other world religions. It's a good thing - why kill it?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

"Judicial activism" is a meaningless catchphrase used as a substitute for thinking. It just means "a decision I disagree with".

Bork is a moron who doesn't even understand his own field - see my review of his book, Slouching towards Gomorrah.

Renouncing your allegiance to the Queen with respect to the Oath of Citizenship is equivalent to renouncing your Canadian Citizenship.

Yeah, I can see you know as much about the law as you do about separation of church and state.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jeffrey Shallit, I realize you are on the far opposite side of the "Culture War" to me. If you weren't it would be like me preaching to the Choir. I thank you for even posting my comments, it's more than most lefty liberals might do - I give you that much credit. I have a Science education and have the habit of testing my ideas and others' ideas in the fire of criticism to see if they can stand or not. Sort of like creating a null hypothesis then looking for any credible falsehood. I do thank you for the opportunity of using your blog as a sounding board.

If you don't even believe Judicial Activism exists I guess it wouldn't be much use trying to convince you that God exists. It is actually possible to read something and not believe in it. But if you don't read it you will never be able to make an honest or fair appraisal, one way or the other. You'd think the Atheists would be volunteering to distribute bibles, not hiding from it, like cowards.

As Bork found out when they tried to appoint him to the US Supreme Court, people either love him or they hate him. I watched the hearings live on television when it was happening. The Left-wings were afraid he might become a conservative judicial activist. Later I read his book, "Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges", that condemns judicial activism. I thought to myself, my God, this man is the smartest, and most courageous man in the world today.

So now the battle ground has left Waterloo and come to my neighbourhood. My friends and I enjoyed our very own free personal bibles very much when we were in grade 5. I plan on putting together a mass public defence of this time-honoured tradition. So, having said that, have you got any credible legal or logical reason(s) why the School Boards shouldn't allow the distribution of Gideon Bibles (with parental permission). I'm still listening - have you got anything?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Dear Anonymous:

I'm all in favor of letting right-wing morons like you babble on my blog. The more your idiocy is exposed, the bigger the win for me.

I already gave my argument, but you weren't listening. What is the likelihood you will listen now?