Friday, November 23, 2007

Should the Catholic School Board be allowed to pull atheist's book?

This one is sure to get the old school-funding debate rolling again!

The Halton Catholic District School Board has pulled "The Golden Compass" from school library shelves after receiving complaints that the book was written by an atheist.

The comments following this CTV report are fascinating.

I'm not entirely sure where I sit on this one, but I think it's safe to say that the public funding of the Catholic school board in Ontario remains a contentious issue.

* * * *

Sunday Update: School leaders have lost their golden compass - Marianne Meed Ward. this one makes a lot of sense. You can't have it both ways.


Ryan R said...

Public funding makes this a murky, and nebulous, issue.

In an ideal world, Catholic schools would be totally cut off from the secular government in every aspect except making sure they meet at least basic educational requirements.

And then the Catholic schools could run themselves the way Catholic schools should have every right to - which, yes, includes promoting various Catholic beliefs and opposing beliefs contrary to that (such as atheism).

Honestly, if you're not willing to be in a pro-Catholic/pro-Christian school atmosphere (which necessitates a lack of pro-atheist materials), what are you doing in a Catholic school?

However, due to the connection to public money that makes every citizen of Ontario feel as though they have a personal stake/interest in these Catholic schools. So, non-religious folks who would never dream of sending their kids to a Catholic school nonetheless feel like they should have input in how Catholic schools are ran beyond the basic educational requirements.

If the Catholic schools become truly private, and cut ties to the secular governments, then they should have every right to ban any book they want to from their libraries (as long as such a banning doesn't constitute failure to meet basic educational requirements - this particular banning doesn't do that, imo).

As long as they're getting public funding, though, it makes the case of folks who object to book bannings like this one much stronger.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Ryan, I couldn't agree more.

During the last election, I was surprised to hear from Christian groups who were angry with John Tory for suggesting public funding for their schools - They didn't want any government connection whatsoever. Public money means public control.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there would be this amount of interest if a muslim school banned "Jenny has two mommies" on the basis that homosexuality is immoral? Or is this another example of let's bash the christians 'cause they're a safe target (for the record, I'm a buddhist)

Just asking.........

hunter said...

I know that as a Catholic in Alberta, even though my kids go to Catholic schools, half our property taxes go to the public system because my husband isn't Catholic. How does that make sense?

You should be able to direct your property taxes to the school you want, maybe a voucher system is the best idea.

Lefties will not let that happen because they have the funding advantage now.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I wonder if there would be this amount of interest if a muslim school banned "Jenny has two mommies" on the basis that homosexuality is immoral?

I think the difference is that Muslim schools are not publicly funded, so they can pretty much do whatever they want.

Anonymous said...

True, Joanne.... on the other hand, how many people would protest a non-public funded christian school banning a book vs those who would protest a non-public funded muslim school. I'll bet you my next month's pay that the progressives will be up in arms against the christians and ignore the muslims - and perhaps not just the progressives.

I seem to recall John Tory wanted to make sure muslim schools were going to be publicly funded - by his ill conceived platform plank. Bet you they would not have been subject to the same scrutiny as christians schools.

All I'm saying is I'm smelling hypocrisy thick as the stench of pig manure here.

Anonymous said...

I see the hatred towards the Catholics but the facts remain: a large percentage of the population is Catholic, Catholics were instrumental in finding, building, developing and running this country and last but not least: there is a lineup of people wanting to put their kids in the BETTER CATHOLIC SCHOOLS here in Toronto (even when they are not Catholics themselves).
real conservative

Anonymous said...

Choice for parents is the way to go by adopting Charter schools.

Under the current system though - No, Catholic schools must be the good poodles of the education bureaucracy and have no choice in their curriculum. Catholic schools must be subject to all the same loopy meaningless garbage that public schools are subject to follow - OISE owns them.

Ideally, OISE will be eliminated in the future once parents become more enlightened to the damage they have done to education.

Ryan R said...

Joanne - Exactly.

hunter - I agree with your take on the matter. However, it's a nuanced argument that the media will block or drown out. It's more effective and simpler to simply get rid of public funding. Perhaps donations to Catholic private schools could be made tax deductable (if they aren't already).

3rd last anonymous - Frankly, if Catholic schools recieve no funding from the secular government, than folks who don't have close relatives going to a Catholic school have no business whatsoever butting their nose into how the Catholic school is ran. If they don't like this book being banned under those circumstances... tough. Not one dime is coming from them to the school (even in the form of tax dollars) so they have no business getting involved in how the Catholic school is ran.

Aeneas the Younger said...

The RC's support McGuinty because he preserved their privileged position in Ontario.

Frank Miller lost the 1985 election mainly because of the issue of public-funding RC Schools.

It was not Davis' Red Toryism that enabled this fundamentally stupid policy, but rather his desire as a politician to obtain votes the PCs did not traditionally get in those days.

Cardinal Carter played him, and like most of the RC Hierarchy, played the politics better than the politicians. After the Bill had become Law, the majoirty of the Roman Catholic populace continued to vote Liberal.

Peterson begat Rae who begat Harris who begate McGuinty. Four disasters in a row - after 42 years of good government.

Leslie Frost and John Robarts must be spinning in their graves.

Anonymous said...

To anon. 2:58pm - You are dead-on!!

Interesting that in today's National Post there's an article about a new school proposed on the Toronto waterfront that's going to be a complex to house, a library, community centre, RC school AND public school.....all in one.

So, is this a move and an example of the eventual move to one system, or is it something else entirely?

I don't understand how the TDSB is building new schools when they have 60,000 empty pupil places and many half empty schools?

I also agree that it's time Ontario started seriously considering charter legislation or let individual school communities opt out of using their school boards and receive their money directly from the gov't. School boards are the elephant in the public education room that seriously needs downsizing to keep up with declining enrolments.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anon, it's interesting how the TDSB gets to do all these experiments, but everyone else is stuck with the status quo.

Möbius said...

The answer to the question is "no". The author's religious beliefs are completely irrelevant.

Do we know how Dr. Seuss felt about deities?

Neo Conservative said...

Need another opinion?

In the U.K., the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams reviewed Pullman's trilogy for the Guardian newspaper in 2004.

Williams praised the books and recommended them to young readers.