Alberta Parents Vote to Keep Prayer in School

by | October 6, 2015

School-PrayerThere has been an on-going debate in Alberta about the Lord’s Prayer and I wrote about it some time ago. Recently, parents in Busby, Alberta voted to keep the Christian prayer in the public classroom. To me this is preposterous – not because I’m an atheist and secularist, but because one cannot simply vote away one’s rights. In other words, everyone has freedom of conscience and religion so it would follow that the state cannot favour one religion over others or force religion on unbelievers. It is not possible to remove this right so the vote has no meaning.

In this CTV discussion with Luke Fevin, founder of A PUPIL – Alberta Parents for Unbiased Public Inclusive Learning and David Garbutt, Assistant Superintendent of Pembina School Division, Luke Fevin points out that keeping the Lord’s Prayer in the public classroom denies the fundamental Canadian right of freedom of/from religion and likens voting on such a thing to voting on whether some students can use a school water fountain or not. He also points out that people with minority beliefs (or unbeliefs) feel coerced and stigmatized, which means a vote is never really representative of how people feel. Not really getting his point, Mr. Garbutt suggested that those who felt threatened should call the RCMP (kind of the opposite of what a coerced person would want to do). Mr Garbutt also suggested that there could be a special room for the students to go to if they wanted to be led in prayer – clearly he doesn’t understand that the kids who don’t go into this special room will be stigmatized and coerced to conform to the majority; this is no solution.

I can appreciate the Assistant Superintendent’s position: he needs to address the concerns of everyone and he is bound by old legislation (Alberta’s School Act) that specifically permits the Lord’s Prayer in Alberta Classrooms) but why not make things simple and allow a moment of silence in which one can say the Lord’s Prayer, another prayer, or sit in quiet contemplation? After all, as Luke Fevin pointed out, these acts are from a century ago. A century ago, women weren’t considered people (in the legal sense) and you had to be a property owner to vote. Canada has changed, and for the better so it’s time to get with the 21st Century in Alberta and accept what the Human Rights tribunal in Saskatchewan found – forcing the Lord’s Prayer is constitutionally unsound.

7 thoughts on “Alberta Parents Vote to Keep Prayer in School

  1. Veronica Abbass

    Enough already with a moment of silence; it’s an albatross around unbelievers’ necks. This is a school, not a place of worship. The bell rings; the students go to classes and the teacher says good morning. That’s it. Praying never got anyone a good education.

  2. Heather Hastie

    I agree with what Veronica says about prayer having no place in schools, but it seems the Alberta School Act permits it, so I think Diana’s solution is a good one. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s better than everyone having to say the Lord’s Prayer.

  3. Tim Underwood

    Fun with nonsense poetry. You can probably do better.

    “Our Father in heaven, (where?)
    hallowed be your name, (emperor Vespasian?)

    your kingdom come, (the Roman Empire?)
    your will be done, (free or frozen)
    on earth as it is in heaven. (again, where?)

    Give us today our daily bread. (no thanks, I already shopped)

    And forgive us our debts, (great)
    as we also have forgiven our debtors. (a bad debt is a bad debt)

    And lead us not into temptation, (we are so weak-minded)
    but deliver us from the evil one.” (crony capitalism?)

  4. Randy

    Unfortunately, Canada is not a secular country, and it never will be, until religion is treated like any other idea or belief (i.e. never). Even Quebec’s secularists weren’t willing to give up the cross in their Assembly.

    This is one thing that the US is actually going to achieve before us. Not soon, but definitely before us.

  5. dusttodust

    We’re practically soaking in it.
    Preamble to the constitution (that apparently no one wants to re-open), national anthem (along with ignoring half the population), swearing oaths on a buybull (yes I know we could opt out) and Dei Gratia (DG) Regina (By the Grace of God Queen) on our coins who is also the head of the official British empire christian sect called Anglican.
    Yes unfortunately we are not officially secular like the US. And no I have no wish to be there rather than here.

  6. brady

    i would like to make some law-of-physics-based objections. first off,they say god is love.4 dat 2 b true, da vice versa would also have 2 b true. and so, dat would mean love HAS 2 b god. and love is proven 2 b oxcytein,so its impossible 4 love 2 b god, let alone 4 god 2 b love.


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