Religion in Ontario schools

In a recent opinion piece in the Waterloo Region Record, Luisa d’Amato suggests petty infighting among separate school board trustees is more evidence we don’t need these trustees at all.

Many citizens would take this a big step further, and argue it shows why we don’t need a separate school system in Ontario.

I’m well aware of the historical and political background circumstances that led to the creation of a Catholic system. But it is very hard to argue against the fact that this is now (and perhaps always has been) blatantly discriminatory and gives Roman Catholic adherents special privileges no one else in this province has.

What’s more, it is an example of the state endorsing a particular religion. As our country becomes more ethnically and religiously diverse, and as the number of non-believers continues to grow, the special status accorded the RC Church grows less and less tenable.

In the past I’ve felt the solution to this problem of preferential treatment might be giving the same status to other religious (or non-religious) groups. In theory this makes sense – assuming we accept that religion generally is relatively harmless – and, as many would argue, a sound basis for teaching values and an honest and open-minded world-view.

But this latter assumption is increasingly being brought into question. With certain religions openly advocating violence to spread their version of the truth, teaching the subjugation and denigration of women, and others actively crusading against the teaching of science, I believe it is time to get religion out of our schools.

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