Homeschooling families can’t teach homosexual acts sinful in class says Alberta gvmt
EDMONTON, Alberta, February 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Under Alberta’s new Education Act, homeschoolers and faith-based schools will not be permitted to teach that homosexual acts are sinful as part of their academic program, says the spokesperson for Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.
“Whatever the nature of schooling – homeschool, private school, Catholic school – we do not tolerate disrespect for differences,” Donna McColl, Lukaszuk’s assistant director of communications, told LifeSiteNews on Wednesday evening.
“You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction,” she added.
Reacting to the remarks, Paul Faris of the Home School Legal Defence Association said the Ministry of Education is “clearly signaling that they are in fact planning to violate the private conversations families have in their own homes.”
“A government that seeks that sort of control over our personal lives should be feared and opposed,” he added.
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The HSLDA and other homeschooling groups warned this week that the new Alberta Education Act, which was re-tabled by Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative government on Feb. 14th to replace the existing School Act, threatens to mandate “diversity” education in all schools, including home schools.
Section 16 of the new legislation restates the current School Act’s requirement that schools “reflect the diverse nature” of Alberta in their curriculum, but it adds that they must also “honour and respect” the controversial Alberta Human Rights Act that has been used to target Christians with traditional beliefs on homosexuality. ‘School’ is defined to include homeschoolers and private schools in addition to publicly funded school boards.
McColl emphasized that homeschoolers were already included in the current definition of ‘school’ in the School Act, going back to 1988 or longer. And Section 16, she said, “is specifically with regards to programs, courses, and instructional materials.”
According to McColl, Christian homeschooling families can continue to impart Biblical teachings on homosexuality in their homes, “as long as it’s not part of their academic program of studies and instructional materials.”
“What they want to do about their ideology elsewhere, that’s their family business. But a fundamental nature of our society is to respect diversity,” she added.
Pressed about what the precise distinction is between homeschoolers’ instruction and their family life, McColl said the question involved “real nuances” and she would have to get back with specifics.
But in a second interview Wednesday evening, McColl said the government “won’t speculate” about particular examples, and explained that she had not yet gotten a “straight answer” on what exactly constitutes “disrespect.” She did say that families “can’t be hatemongering, if you will.”
In the first interview, she justified the government’s position by pointing to Friday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the Quebec government’s refusal to exempt families from its controversial ethics and religious culture program. That program, which aims to present the spectrum of world religions and lifestyle choices from a “neutral” stance, is required of all students, including homeschoolers.
“Just last Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada released a unanimous decision on – now it’s S.L. v. the Commission scolare des Chênes 2012 – and that’s the same, section 16 has to apply to everyone, including home education families,” she said.
Pro-family observers warned that the ruling risked emboldening other provincial governments in their effort to impose “diversity” programs. The last two years have seen major battles in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and now Alberta over the increasing normalization of homosexuality in the schools.
The Supreme Court’s narrow ruling did not specifically address homeschooling, however, and left the door open to further court challenges. The court argued that the Quebec family seeking the exemption had simply failed to meet the burden of proof necessary to show that their children’s participation in the course would impede the parents’ ability to raise the children in their Catholic faith.
Patty Marler, government liaison for the Alberta Home Education Association, said she was surprised at the Ministry’s straightforwardness, and questioned how they are going to be able to draw the line between school time and family time.
“We educate our children all the time, and that’s just the way we live. It’s a lifestyle,” she said. “Making that distinction between the times when we’re homeschooling and when we’re just living is really hard to do.”
“Throw in the fact that I do use the Bible as part of my curriculum and now I’m very blatantly going to be teaching stuff that will be against [the human rights act],” she said.
Marler pointed out that the issue has direct implications on how families teach their children about marriage because the Alberta Human Rights Act was amended in 2009 to define marriage as between two “persons” instead of a man and a woman. “When I read Genesis and it talks about marriage being one man in union with one woman, I am very, very clearly opposing the human rights act that says it’s one person marrying another person,” she said.
According to Faris, the issue with McColl’s statements “isn’t about sexuality or anything else on the gay issue, it’s about the government trying to control how we teach our own children in our own homes.”
He said her comments are “particularly interesting in light of the – at the very least – misleading information that a lot of homeschoolers have been getting when they’re calling the Minister’s office, saying ‘Look, there’s no changes here. We’re not going to do anything differently’, and other things like that.”
“The long arm of the government wants to reach into family’s homes and control what they teach to their own children in their own homes about religion, sexuality, and morality,” he said. “These are not the words of a government that is friendly to homeschooling or to parental freedom.”
The Progressive Conservative government has 67 of the 83 seats in the province’s legislature, so the bill’s passage is essentially assured. But an election is imminent and the new right-wing Wildrose Alliance Party is expected to have a strong showing. A Forum Research poll last week showed the upstart party polling at 30% behind the government’s 37%.
The Home School Legal Defence Association is calling on Alberta citizens to contact the Education Minister and their elected representatives.
Hon. Thomas Lukaszuk, Education Minister
423 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue NW
Canada T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427-5010
Fax: (780) 427-5018
Premier Alison Redford
Office of the Premier
Room 307, Legislature Building
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B7
E-mail: Use this form.
Mark Steyn: The all-you-can-eat salad bar of rights
Perversion of the concept of rights is killing the Western world.
By MARK STEYN / Syndicated columnist
CNN’s John King did his best the other night, producing a question from one of his viewers:
“Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidate believes in birth control, and if not, why?”
To their credit, no Republican candidate was inclined to accept the premise of the question. King might have done better to put the issue to Danica Patrick. For some reason, Michelle Fields of The Daily Caller sought the views of the NASCAR driver and Sports Illustrated swimwear model about “the Obama administration’s dictate that religious employers provide health care plans that cover contraceptives.” Miss Patrick, a practicing Catholic, gave the perfect citizen’s response for the Age of Obama:
“I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans.”
That’s the real “hot topic” here – whether a majority of citizens, in America as elsewhere in the West, is willing to “leave it up to the government” to make decisions on everything that matters. On the face of it, the choice between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church should not be a tough one. On the one hand, we have the plain language of the First Amendment as stated in the U.S. Constitution since 1791:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
On the other, we have a regulation invented by executive order under the vast powers given to Kathleen Sebelius under a 2,500-page catalogue of statist enforcement passed into law by a government party that didn’t even bother to read it.
Commissar Sebelius says that she is trying to “strike the appropriate balance.” But these two things – a core, bedrock, constitutional principle, and Section 47(e)viii of Micro-Regulation Four Bazillion And One issued by Leviathan’s Bureau of Compliance – are not equal, and you can only “balance” them by massively increasing state power and massively diminishing the citizen’s. Or, to put it more benignly, by “leaving it up to the government to make good decisions.”
Some of us have been here before. For most of the last five years, I’ve been battling Canada’s so-called “human rights” commissions, and similar thought police in Britain, Europe and elsewhere. As I write this, I’m in Australia, to talk up the cause of free speech, which is, alas, endangered even in that great land. In that sense, the “latest hot topic” – the clash between Obama and American Catholics – is, in fact, a perfect distillation of the broader struggle in the West today. When it comes to human rights, I go back to 1215 and Magna Carta – or, to give it its full name, Magna Carta Libertatum. My italics: I don’t think they had them back in 1215. But they understood that “libertatum” is the word that matters. Back then, “human rights” were rights of humans, of individuals – and restraints upon the king: They’re the rights that matter: limitations upon kingly power. Eight centuries later, we have entirely inverted the principle: “Rights” are now gifts that a benign king graciously showers upon his subjects – the right to “free” health care, to affordable housing, the “right of access to a free placement service” (to quote the European Constitution’s “rights” for workers). The Democratic National Committee understands the new school of rights very well: In its recent video, Obama’s bureaucratic edict is upgraded into the “right to contraception coverage at no additional cost.” And, up against a “human right” as basic as that, how can such peripheral rights as freedom of conscience possibly compete?
The transformation of “human rights” from restraints upon state power into a pretext for state power is nicely encapsulated in the language of Article 14 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which states that everyone has the right “to receive free compulsory education.” Got that? You have the human right to be forced to do something by the government.
Commissar Sebelius isn’t the only one interested in “striking the appropriate balance” between individual liberty and state compulsion. Everyone talks like that these days. For Canada’s Chief Censor, Jennifer Lynch, freedom of expression is just one menu item in the great all-you-can-eat salad bar of rights, so don’t be surprised if we’re occasionally out of stock. Instead, why not try one of our tasty nutritious rights du jour? Like the human right to a transsexual labiaplasty, or the human right of McDonald’s employees not to have to wash their hands after visiting the bathroom. Commissar Lynch puts it this way:
“The modern conception of rights is that of a matrix with different rights and freedoms mutually reinforcing each other to build a strong and durable human rights system.”
That would be a matrix as in some sort of intricate biological sequencing very few people can understand? Or a Matrix as in the illusory world created to maintain a supine citizenry by all-controlling government officials? The point is, with so many pseudo-“rights” bouncing around, you need a bigger and bigger state: Individual rights are less important than a “rights system” – i.e., a government bureaucracy.
This perversion of rights is killing the Western world. First, unlike real rights – to freedom of speech and freedom of religion – these new freedoms come with quite a price tag. All the free stuff is free in the sense of those offers that begin “You pay nothing now!” But you will eventually. No nation is rich enough to give you all this “free” stuff year in, year out. Spain’s government debt works out to $18,000 per person, France’s to $33,000, Greece’s to $39,000. Thank God we’re not Greece, huh? Er, in fact, according to the Senate Budget Committee, U.S. government debt is currently $44,215 per person. Going by the official Obama budget numbers, it will rise over the next 10 years to $75,000. As I say, that’s per person: 75 grand in debt for every man, woman and child, not to mention every one of the ever swelling ranks of retirees and disabled Social Security recipients – or about $200,000 per household.
So maybe you’re not interested in philosophical notions of liberty vs. statism – like Danica Patrick, tens of millions of people are happy to “leave it up to the government to make good decisions.” Maybe you’re relatively relaxed about the less theoretical encroachments of Big Government – the diversion of so much American energy into “professional services,” all the lawyering and bookkeeping and paperwork shuffling necessary to keep you and your economic activity in full compliance with the Bureau of Compliance. But at some point, no matter how painless the seductions of statism, you run up against the hard math: As those debt per capita numbers make plain, all this “free” stuff is doing is mortgaging your liberty and lining up a future of serfdom.
I used to think that the U.S. Constitution would prove more resilient than the less-absolutist liberties of other Western nations. But the president has calculated that, with Obamacare, the First Amendment and much else will crumble before his will. And, given trends in U.S. jurisprudence, who’s to say he won’t get his way? That’s the point about all this “free” stuff: Ultimately, it’s not about your rights, but about his.
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And that point is determined by whom?
From the late Francis Schaeffer. Pay special attention to the final paragraph:
“Will the silent majority (which at one time we heard so much about) help? The so-called silent majority was, and is, divided into a minority and a majority. The minority are either Christians who have a real basis for values or those who at least have a memory of the days when the values were real. The majority are left with only their two poor values of personal peace and affluence.
With such values, will men stand for their liberties? Will they not give up their liberties step by step, inch by inch, as long as their own personal peace and prosperity is sustained and not challenged, and as long as the goods are delivered? The life-styles of the young and the old generations are different. There are tensions between long hair and short, drugs and non-drugs, whatever are the outward distinctions of the moment. But they support each other sociologically, for both embrace the values of personal peace and affluence. Much of the church is no help here either, because for so long a large section of the church has only been teaching a relativistic humanism using religious terminology.
I believe the majority of the silent majority, young and old, will sustain the loss of liberties without raising their voices as long as their own life-styles are not threatened. And since personal peace and affluence are so often the only values that count with the majority, politicians know that to be elected they must promise these things. Politics has largely become not a matter of ideals — increasingly men and women are not stirred by the values of liberty and truth —but of supplying a constituency with a frosting of personal peace and affluence. They know that voices will not be raised as long as people have these things, or at least an illusion of them.
Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788) said that the following five attributes marked Rome at its end: first, a mounting love of show and luxury (that is, affluence); second, a widening gap between the very rich and the very poor (this could be among countries in the family of nations as well as in a single nation); third, an obsession with sex; fourth, freakishness in the arts, masquerading as originality, and enthusiasms pretending to be creativity; fifth, an increased desire to live off the state. It all sounds so familiar. We have come a long road since our first chapter, and we are back in Rome.”
Francis A. Schaeffer, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer : A Christian Worldview. (Westchester, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1996).
The Catholic State
National Review’s Happy Warrior
February 21, 2012
So the Health Commissar, Kathleen Sebelius, has decided that, under Obamacare, religious institutions, like any other employer, will be required to offer their workers free contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients. Well, there’s a surprise.
This entirely predictable news was received with stunned bewilderment by Obamaphile rubes such as the Reverend John Jenkins of Notre Dame, who in 2009 gave the president both an honorary degree and his imprimatur in exchange for the promise of a “sensible” approach to conflicts between church and state. Now that they’re on the receiving end of Obama’s good sense, many of America’s Catholic bishops have issued protests, characteristically anguished and hand-wringing but betraying little understanding of the stakes.
In a land of Big Government, everything else gets real small. In the U.S., the Catholic Church, aside from abortion, is generally on board with the “social justice” agenda. It never seemed to occur to them to ask themselves, If health care is a “human right” in the debased contemporary sense (i.e., not a restraint upon the state — as in Magna Carta — but a gift of the state), then who gets to define what health care is?
Answer: Commissar Sebelius. As government grows, the separation of church and state is replaced by the state as church — an established religion of sacred secularism that crowds any rivals out of the public square. The Obama administration’s distinction — of a “religious exemption” that applies to a building where sermons and sacraments are taking place but not to Catholic hospitals or schools — is explicitly intended to shrivel the space for religious belief: If you’re in, say, the adoption business, you can either offer your services to gay couples or get out of the biz entirely. Either way, the state church wins. Religion is fine as a private code that you deposit in the umbrella stand as you exit your house every morning, but it may not govern your conduct beyond your front door. If you insist on being Catholic, you must be Catholic in the sense of a Kerryesque Democrat on the stump: “Of course, I’m personally, passionately, deeply, passionately, personally opposed to abortion, but I would never dream of letting my deeply passionately personal beliefs interfere with my legislative agenda.”
So throughout the Western world, when parents object to kindergartners’ being taught about the joys of same-sex marriage, they’re told by the school board: Tough. That’s just the way it is. You uptight squares need to get with the beat.
Except: There is one conspicuous holdout against the secularist enforcers. When Muslim parents in Bristol, England, raised a fuss about their grade-schoolers’ being fed gay marriage in the curriculum, a panicked administration yanked the books in nothing flat. If it’s a choice between Heather Has Two Mommies and Heather Has Four Mommies and a Big Bearded Daddy Who Wants to Marry Her Off to a Cousin Back in Pakistan, bet on the latter.
As Commissar Sebelius was laying down the law to American Catholics, a Montreal couple and their son were convicted of a multiple “honor killing.” Immigrants from Afghanistan, the Shafias had coolly plotted around the kitchen table the murder of all three of their daughters (plus one of the father’s wives), and then carried it out, by drowning them in the Rideau Canal near Kingston, Ontario — for the crime of wishing to live as North American teenage girls. The father was caught on tape saying, “May the devil s**t on their graves!” — which he gamely attempted on the witness stand to pass off as some sort of traditional greeting in Dari.
Zainab, Sahar, and Geeti Shafia had told various teachers, social workers, and police officers that they were being beaten, that they wanted to be placed in foster homes, and that their parents and brother were planning to kill them. And in every instance the enforcers of the secular state prioritized deference to Islam over the fate of the girls. They still do. The court rescheduled its Friday sittings to accommodate Muslim prayers. And, in striking contrast to, say, the Matthew Shepard murder, the media coverage of the case was inordinately preoccupied with emphasizing that no broader conclusions should be drawn about Islam’s attitude to women.
In other words, Islam seems to be finding it a lot easier than Catholicism to get a “religious exemption.” Here’s a caption from the Toronto Star accompanying a picture of the cafeteria at a local public school: “At Valley Park Middle School, Muslim students participate in the Friday prayer service. Menstruating girls, at the very back, do not take part.”
Yes, that’s right. At the cafeteria of a taxpayer-funded school in North America in the early 21st century, the boys enter through the main door and sit in the front row; the girls, being inferior, enter through a rear door and sit behind them; and the menstruating girls, being unclean, sit at the very back and are forbidden to participate. The school board says relax, there’s nothing to see here: So many Muslim kids were bunking off to the local mosque for Friday prayers and coming in late for transgender-history class or whatever, it made more sense to give the imam the cafeteria to hold his prayers in. How’s that for a “sensible” balance?
So the good news for the Reverend Jenkins et al. is that the big-government one-size-fits-all secular state is actually quite easy to drive a coach and horses through. The bad news is the guys willing to climb on the buckboard and take the reins.
Ge 1:1–5; Ex 15:11; 33:18–23; Ps 89:5; Ps 91; 99:5; 103:20–22; Is 2:2–3; 6:2–5; Re 4:5; 8–11; 15:4
1. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee; Holy, Holy, Holy, merciful and mighty! God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
2. Holy, Holy, Holy, all the saints adore thee, Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea; Cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee, Who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.
3. Holy, Holy, Holy, though the darkness hide thee, Though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see, Only thou art holy; there is none beside thee Perfect in power, in love, and purity.
4. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! All thy works shall praise thy Name, in earth and sky and sea; Holy, Holy, Holy, merciful and mighty! God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Exported from Logos Bible Software 4, 2:39 AM February-19-12.