I recently wrote about how the town of Busby voted to keep recitation of the Lord’s Prayer as part of their public school’s morning exercises. In that post, I cited Luke Fevin’s remarks that keeping the Lord’s Prayer violates Canadian Charter rights and therefore voting on such an issue is senseless because one cannot pick and choose what rights Canadians get to enjoy based on majority opinion.
I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment and the fact that we are having these discussions shows how many people just don’t understand that religion shouldn’t be given a free pass – you cannot deny the rights of those who don’t agree with your religion!
In a CBC discussion between Luke Fevin, founder of A PUPIL – Alberta Parents for Unbiased Public Inclusive Learning and Michael Taube, Sun Media columnist, Washington Times Contributor and former speech writer for Stephen Harper, this same argument is presented. Luke Fevin calls the notion that we can vote away minority rights “absolutely disgusting” and he rightly points out that the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that reciting the Lord’s Prayer is a violation of charter rights, which the BC Supreme Court adopted completely. Luke Fevin also talks about the nature of coercion and stigmatization; many families have been either run out of town or become social pariahs for asking that their Charter rights be respected. Luke Fevin himself was told by the principal of his child’s school that he could not remove his child from the Lord’s Prayer exercise and his kids were socially ostracized.
All this is lost on Michael Taube, who seems to think that because he himself, as an agnostic Jew, experienced no harm in saying the Lord’s Prayer, no one should complain and the rights of those who find it offensive don’t count. His argument again and again is that legislatures and school boards find reciting the Lord’s Prayer an acceptable practice so therefore forcing everyone to do so is okay. Funny how many of those legislatures are axing the Lord’s Prayer specifically because of the Supreme Court ruling.
Although I agree with Luke Fevin that Michael Taube’s opinion is irrelevant because he doesn’t get to decide to trample on other Canadian’s rights simply because he finds their opinions trivial, I actually did find reciting the Lord’s Prayer a harmful experience. I absolutely hated being put through the charade of praying to an entity I did not believe in and I articulated my experience to a Christian who felt the Lord’s Prayer was the best thing that could happen to a student:
How would you like it if every day, you were forced to pray to Allah in your public school? Every morning you needed to get out your prayer mat and do your prayers! That would be unfair because you are a Christian being forced to worship as a Muslim and it would make you feel unhappy that you couldn’t express how you felt and were punished if you tried to do so. So, why would you force non-Christians to pray to your god? Do you see my point? I’m not a Christian and I was forced to practice as one. It was terrible and I never forgot it because it was a violation of my freedom of conscience. You may think that Christianity is the bees knees but you don’t get to force everyone else to think as you.
Here is the entire conversation – I think Luke Fevin represented his ideas well. Let me know what you think.