Religion misunderstood

  • October 17, 2013

At a recent conference in Montreal on religious freedom and education, the principal of Loyola High School pinpointed the threat facing people of faith.

Both the specific legal fight in which Loyola is currently involved and the much broader threat posed by Quebec’s so-called Charter of Values arise from the same two factors, Paul Donovan said. The factors are: a misunderstanding of what religious faith actually is and a deeply embedded mistrust of people of religious faith.

His observations are the product of a five-year legal battle with the Quebec government over the right to teach the province’s Ethics and Religious Culture program from a Catholic perspective. The fight will finish next spring when the Supreme Court of Canada hears the case, which Loyola won in Quebec Superior Court, only to be overturned by the Quebec Court of Appeal.

The Ethics and Religious Culture program was imposed on all Quebec schools, public and private, in 2008. Its aim was to complete the dismantling of the province’s confessional school system while maintaining a semblance of religious education. Religious faith would be taught purely as a cultural phenomenon that contributed to ethical understanding. All world religions were to be considered equally. None was to be considered true.

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