Christian dad fighting for parental rights smeared in local press
HAMILTON, Ontario, September 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Hamilton-area Christian father who is suing the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board after the board refused his repeated requests over two years to withdraw his children from classes dealing with homosexuality and other sensitive issues, is coming under attack from the local newspaper, The Spectator.
Dr. Steve Tourloukis, the man behind the lawsuit, which seeks to ensure that he is notified before controversial subjects are discussed in class, is a dentist, a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, and has a daughter in grade one and a son in grade four.
In an editorial published September 13, The Spectator’s Managing Editor, Howard Elliott, called Dr. Tourloukis’ legal action “distasteful,” “impractical,” and “downright sinister.”
The paper also published a cartoon by Graeme MacKay with the editorial that portrayed a caricature of Dr. Tourloukis drowning in an accumulation of the word “hate.”
Another version of the Spectator editorial was published by the affiliated Winnipeg Free Press alongside a grotesque cartoon of Dr. Tourloukis by Dale Cummings.
In a move that one pro-life leader called a breach of journalistic ethics and that was condemned by Tourloukis himself, Carmela Fragomeni of The Spectator named the school that Dr. Tourloukis’ children attend.
Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Catholics expressed concerns that the decision could open the children up to harassment, saying, “The Spectator crossed the line of journalistic ethics by publishing the name of his children’s elementary school. This should make every parent angry.”
“There were many articles and TV/radio stories about this situation,” Dr. Tourloukis told LifeSiteNews. “Only the Spectator thought it necessary to publish my children’s school. There was no justification for publishing the name of the school. It was not relevant to the story in any way. But the point is that there could have been a safety issue for my children.”
“This is fundamentally about discrimination,” Dr. Tourloukis said. “My family is being discriminated against because we are not receiving the religious accommodations that are freely being given to other groups.”
“If I was a woman or member of a visible minority claiming discrimination, do you think that any newspaper would actually publish an editorial cartoon to mock me?” he asked. “That would never happen. When a person of colour is claiming to be the victim of discrimination, or a member of any other group, they would never be mocked with a cartoon. This is an anti-Christian bias.”
Dr. Tourloukis said that the issue at stake is simply the right of parents to know what their children are being taught in school.
“Keeping parents abreast of what is being covered in the class room is the standard of practice in the teaching profession. However, when a Christian parent asks to be informed in advance of materials or lessons dealing with sexuality, they are refused.”
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Tourloukis observed that the Spectator had suggested that he simply move his children to another school board, but, he responded, “if a student was complaining of ‘homophobic’ discrimination, I highly doubt they would suggest to the student’s parents that they should simply move to another Board.”
Dr. Tourloukis also pointed out that his personal address and phone number were posted in the website comment section of the Spectator’s article, which were eventually removed: but not so the many vicious comments from readers that Tourloukis says “were intended to humiliate me.”
Gwen Landolt, vice president of REAL Women Canada, described the public campaign against Tourloukis as an attempt “to destroy him by ridicule, a personal attack on his credibility, his intelligence.”
“Anybody who dares to say no to the liberal agenda is to be personally attacked and vilified. It’s a repeat of the Sarah Palin treatment.”
Dr. Tourloukis’ lawsuit against the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is backed by the Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund, a non-profit organization focused on defending in court parental rights to direct the education of their children.
“We believe a tipping point has been reached in Canada. Without immediate intervention, parental rights to direct the moral education of their own children will be lost in several respects,” the organization states, which argues that the only way to fight back at this extreme juncture is through lawsuits.
“We have a case of a school board not only seeing itself as being an ‘equal’ co-parent, but in fact, as having a superior right over the parent to influence which religious beliefs their children will eventually embrace as their own, even if it means contradicting what the parents tell them at home,” said Lou Iacobelli, chairman of The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund.
“If parents do not beat back this government incursion against parent rights, it will usher in an era of persecution, against people of faith, like never seen before in Canada. The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund has been created to help parents fight back, in the courts.”
The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund is seeking donations to help fund the Tourloukis case. Visit their website for more information.
“The pathologies of Christian indifference and apathy are perhaps bigger threats than the radical secular humanists that surround us,” Dr. Tourloukis told LifeSiteNews.
“If we do not do everything in our power to stop this injustice, we risk becoming accomplices in the spiritual molestation of our children,” he concluded.
The Hamilton Spectator
Dana Robbins, Publisher
44 Frid Street | Hamilton, Ontario | L8N 3G3
Winnipeg Free Press
Bob Cox, Publisher
1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R2X 3B6
Phone: (204) 697–7362
Fax: (204) 697-7412
Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
John Malloy, Director of Education
120 King Street West, Suite 1120
P.O. Box 2558, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3L1
Email: (via Executive Assistant Pat Stones) firstname.lastname@example.org