Merge Catholic and Secular Public School Systems Petition

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Serious activist efforts can change the landscape of an entire province, even a country. Some are symbolic, but I do not see even these as minor either.

One particular petition of note is the e-petition by Doug Thomas, President of the Secular Connexion Séculière, called e-petition 1264, or E-1264 (Jacobsen, 2017; House of Commons, 2017; Secular Connexion Séculière, 2017).

The petition is about the discrimination against nonbelievers in Canada.

Another petition relates to discussions happening for a long time now. Those conversations with the decrease in relevance of formal faith including the Roman Catholic Church to Canadians – especially so for younger generations, national and even international controversies over an alternate sexual education program proposed by the superintendents of a Catholic school system, and the desire for a merger of the Catholic separate publicly funded school system and the regular public system in Alberta (Boswell, 2012; French, 2017a; French, 2017b; Mehta, 2017).

The sex education system alternative proposal appeared to have differences of intrigue. Hemant Mehta, a prominent online atheist, noted:

Their curriculum said sex was only permissible within marriage (and never before), downplayed “consent” as the main prerequisite for having sex, ignored condoms and birth control, and only spoke about various types of sex and masturbation in negative ways. (Ibid.)

The Government of Alberta officials didn’t agree. Mehta punctuated the article with the conclusion:

The Alberta government officials deserve plenty of praise for taking this strong stance against misinformation and ignorance. It won’t stop the Church from trying to spread its irrational beliefs, but it will put some giant hurdles along their path. (Ibid.)

In short, the hasty moves to reinstantiate Roman Catholic Church authority in the province diminished it. Hence, the decrease in Catholic Church relevance once more, in some ways.

Enter IDEA and King: Inclusive Diverse Education for All and Former Alberta Education Minister David King, respectively. The organization tied intimately with King, regarding the two school systems, says, “At the beginning of the 21st century, this duplication is obsolete, unnecessary, expensive, and contrary to what we understand about personal and religious freedom, and the religious neutrality of the provincial government” (IDEA, 2017a).

IDEA has a petition, which garnered over 1,000 votes in under 48 hours (King, 2017). It is for a referendum on the merger of both school systems in Alberta. In the midst of the controversies, present, and the crimes, past, of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada, this seems like another decent step for secularism. If this doesn’t work this time, we can try again, from another angle.

You can sign here.

Also, please see the E-1264 petition here.

References

Boswell, R. (2012, April 7). Religion not important to most Canadians, although majority believe in God: poll. Retrieved from http://nationalpost.com/holy-post/religion-not-important-to-most-canadians-although-majority-believe-in-god-poll.

French, J. (2017a, October 23). Catholic school districts want their own sex-education curriculum. Retrieved from http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/catholic-school-districts-want-their-own-sex-education-curriculum.

French, J. (2017b, March 15). Catholic school board support wanes among young adults, survey says. Retrieved from http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/catholic-school-board-support-wanes-among-young-adults-survey-says.

House of Commons. (2017, September 14). E-1264 (DISCRIMINATION). Retrieved from https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1264.

IDEA. (2017a, October 24). Petition: It’s time for a referendum on separate schools. Retrieved from http://www.ouridea.ca/referendum.

Jacobsen, S.D. (2017, August 6). Interview with Doug Thomas – President of the Secular Connexion Séculière. Retrieved from https://conatusnews.com/interview-doug-thomas-president-secular-connexion-seculiere/.

King, D. (2017, October 27). We just broke the 1000 signature mark in 48 hours…. Retrieved from http://www.ouridea.ca/1000sig_referendum.

Mehta, H. (2017, October 26). Alberta Officials Reject Proposed Catholic Sex Ed Lessons That “Deny Science”. Retrieved from http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/10/26/alberta-officials-reject-proposed-catholic-sex-ed-lessons-that-deny-science/.

Secular Connexion Séculière. (2017). Secular Connexion Séculière. Retrieved from http://www.secularconnexion.ca/.

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