Ontario’s Eden

by | November 3, 2014

While it’s not a secret that along with funding Ontario’s public, but separate, Catholic schools, Ontario taxpayers are funding a religious high school nestled within the District School Board of Niagara, it’s not widely known.

Eden High School is

a publicly funded secondary school that operates as an alternative secondary school within the District School Board of Niagara. The school offers the prescribed Ontario Ministry of Education’s Secondary School program delivered in the context of a community where the educational objectives of the Ministry of Education and those of Eden’s own Spiritual Life Centre are respected and regarded as complementary in the training of students.

As its website says, “Eden is blessed . . .” It is a government funded public school with special permission to supplement the educational objectives of the Ministry of Education with the objectives of Eden’s own Spiritual Life Centre. Eden’s objectives are clear: “Leading students to learn of Christ and live for Christ.”

In 2010, the Ontario government shelved sex education curriculum “because of objections from religious leaders” and fails to discipline publicly funded Catholic schools for ignoring the guideline explicit in Bill 13, the Accepting Schools Act: to allow pupils “to use the name gay-straight alliance or a similar name for an organization.” In both cases, the Ontario government’s failure to separate religion from politics is a matter of public record and on- going discussion. However, the fact that in 1988, Eden High School became the first publicly funded faith-based school outside the Catholic system in Ontario is not part of the discussion. It should be.

Eden’s Spiritual Life Centre, which is influenced by the Ontario Mennonite Brethren Conference of Churches,

provides a meaningful program to assist in the development and support of Eden’s students’ personal faith pilgrimage through a rich array of spiritual life activities. The Spiritual Life Centre is privately funded through parent and community donations; it is funded separately from Eden High School.

Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethern Churches’ stand on homosexuality is similar to the Roman Catholic Church’s stand to homosexuality.  In “Homosexuality: A Compassionate Yet Firm Response,” updated in 2014 and posted on its website, the CCMBC encourages

all homosexuals to give up their lifestyle and find healing in Christ. We call on all persons who struggle with questions of sexual impropriety to find release through forgiveness and transformed living.

Compare the CCMBC statement to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. . . . These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

If you did not know that the Ontario government is funding a homophobic Christian public school, you know now. Ontario parents and taxpayers should be outraged, and they should express their outrage. They should make the Ontario government aware that they object to funding religious schools whose stated policy against LBGTQ Ontarians is contrary to Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

3 thoughts on “Ontario’s Eden

  1. Danny Handelman

    There are at least two denominational non-Catholic public schools in Ontario, as there is also Burkevale Protestant Separate School.

    1. Veronica Abbass Post author

      Thanks Danny

      I’m aware of Burkevale Protestant Separate School. What are the names and location of the two denominational non-Catholic public schools in Ontario? Are they publicly funded?

  2. Brian

    Look, I’m an atheist and I went to that school. I can tell you right now that regardless of the Mennonite Brethren’s official stance on homosexuality, the school encourages the same values espoused by the public education system. Even the few times I went to chapel (when skipping it would prove ineffective, and yes it was outside of normal school hours) they never said you can’t be homosexual. I don’t know if things are different 3 years later but there were plenty of homosexuals at the school and only a few bigots ever had a problem with them. The bigots were dealt with accordingly.


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