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Judge: Quebec Gvmt ‘Totalitarian’ in Imposing Relativism Course

LifeSiteNews.com
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By Patrick B. Craine

MONTREAL, Quebec, June 21, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Quebec Ministry of Education’s decision to impose their course in moral and religious relativism on Montreal’s Loyola High School assumed “a totalitarian character essentially equivalent to Galileo's being ordered by the Inquisition to deny the Copernican universe," said the Quebec Superior Court in a strongly-worded ruling released Friday.

Justice Gérard Dugré ruled that the Ministry’s attempt to force Loyola, a private Catholic boys’ school in the Jesuit tradition, to teach the strictly secular course, entitled Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC), violated their freedom of religion under the Quebec Charter of Rights.

The ERC program was mandated at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year for all students, and spans from grade one to the end of high school.  Claiming to take a “neutral” stance, the curriculum covers a spectrum of world religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and aboriginal spirituality, as well as pseudo-religions such as atheism. 

It has been criticized for its approach to moral issues, teaching even at the earliest grades, for instance, that homosexuality is a normal choice for family life.

Loyola has taught world religions for decades, so when the highly-controversial course was first imposed, they sought permission from the Ministry to teach the mandatory curriculum from a Catholic perspective.  But the Ministry refused, stating that Loyola’s course was not equivalent because it was faith-based rather than secular, and thus manifested a religious bias.

Loyola responded by taking the Ministry to court. They presented their case before the Superior Court in June 2009.

"Canadian democratic society is based on principles recognizing the supremacy of God and the primacy of the law – both of which benefit from constitutional protection,” wrote Justice Dugré in the 63-page ruling.  "In this age of the respect of fundamental rights, of tolerance, reasonable accommodation and multiculturalism, the attitude adopted by [Education Minister Michelle Courchesne], is surprising.”

Commentators have noted that Justice Dugré‘s decision is at odds with the August decision of the Superior Court in the case of a Drummondville family that sought an exemption from the course.  In that case, Justice Jean-Guy Dubois had ruled that the family’s freedom of religion was not violated because the course “provides an overall presentation of various religions without obliging the children to adhere to them."

Jean Morse-Chevrier, president of l’Association des parents catholiques du Québec (APCQ), pointed out that in that case the judge had deemed the course to be in harmony with Catholic teaching based on the testimony of Laval theologian Fr. Gilles Routhier.

But in this case, she said, the judge relied heavily on the testimony of Dr. Douglas Farrow, a theologian and professor in religion and politics at McGill University.  Based on Dr. Farrow’s testimony, “the judge recognized that this course is in contradiction with Catholic teaching,” she said, due to its “relativistic approach to moral questions.”

The Drummondville case was rejected by the Quebec Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada is currently deciding whether to hear the case.

Education Minister Michelle Courchesne has called the Friday ruling “excessive.” At a press conference Monday, Premier Jean Charest announced that the Quebec government will appeal.  "It seems clear that the government will appeal,” he said.  “This is a very serious issue that has been debated for a long time.”

Richard Decarie, a spokesman for the Coalition pour la Liberté en Éducation, called for the Ministry to abandon the course’s compulsory nature, and argued that the ruling should mean all parents will be granted the choice to exempt their children from it.  With this ruling, “it is impossible to continue giving the course the way it is,” he said. “They cannot accept to suspend the compulsory side of the course in Loyola, a private school, and not in public schools.”

Decarie noted that he was struck by the strength of the judge’s rhetoric, particularly Dugré‘s description of the Ministry’s actions as “totalitarian,” a word the coalition has been criticized for employing in the past.  He noted, in fact, that the judge went even further in the comparison to the Spanish Inquisition.

“This judgment marks a great victory for democracy in education, for the liberty of conscience and religion, for school liberty and for parental rights,” said Marie Bourque, vice president and spokesperson for the APCQ.

Morse-Chevrier said the ruling is “very good news,” but cautioned that it applies to Loyola’s particular situation, where the school had already developed an equivalent course in world religions.  While such an equivalent might be acceptable to parents of high school students, she said, parents of primary students might not be as willing for their children to be learning about other faiths and other moral choices, even if done so within the faith context.

“Our position is that parents should have the choice of a course that is in accordance with their beliefs,” she emphasized.


Find the ruling here (in French).


See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Quebec Parents to Take Mandatory Relativistic Ethics Course to Supreme Court
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/apr/10042907.html

Quebec Family's Appeal Rejected for Exemption from Mandatory Relativism Course
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/feb/10022610.html

Quebec Judge Denies Families Religious Exemption From Mandatory School Course in Relativism
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/sep/09090306.html

Quebec Court Hears Jesuit School Case against Quebec's Mandatory Religion Course
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/jun/09062508.html

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Catholic school removes alumna’s photo after she endorses abortion in bid for governor

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By Lisa Bourne

A Rhode Island Catholic school has removed the photo of an alumna from its halls after she endorsed abortion in her campaign for governor.

LaSalle Academy of Providence took alumna Gina Raimondo’s photo down from the school’s Wall of Notables last week after she publicly stated she does not support the Church’s teaching on life and would work to support abortion.

"You know the Catholic Church has a clear position, and I have a clear position,” the state general treasurer said, according to ABC. “And I am clearly pro–choice and as I've said, I as Governor, support the decision in Roe v. Wade."

Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin responded the same day in statement on his Facebook page.

“It is always disappointing when a Catholic candidate for political office abandons the teaching of the Church on the dignity of human life for the sake of self-serving political gain,” he said. Such actions demonstrate an inexcusable lack of moral courage.”

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“Pope Francis has explained how evil abortion really is, that every aborted child bears the face of Jesus Christ,” he continued. “Similarly, I wish to remind Catholics of the Diocese of Providence, in the clearest terms possible: Abortion is a sin, and those who provide it, promote it and support it will be held accountable by Almighty God for the unjust death of unborn children.”

Raimondo, valedictorian of the 1989 class at LaSalle Academy, made her comments at Planned Parenthood’s Rhode Island PAC’s endorsement of her candidacy September 25. She said as well that she is “more pro-choice” than Republican candidate Allan Fung, and that she opposes the Hobby Lobby ruling in support of religious freedom for employers.

According to the Providence Journal, she also said she would oppose efforts to incorporate an option in the Rhode Island health insurance exchange that would exclude abortion or contraception. Raimondo also pledged to seek repeal of a 1997 Rhode Island law banning partial-birth abortion.

Drew Lagace, La Salle’s communications spokesman, told the Providence Journal the school took the photo down and didn’t want to elaborate. But he told the local NBC affiliate, “Her statements were very bold against the Church and the teachings of the Church.”

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Last Call! Can you donate $5?

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By Steve Jalsevac

This is it!

Today is the LAST DAY of our Fall Campaign. But with only hours left to go, we still need to raise just over $40,000 to reach our goal of $150,000

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We need everyone who has not yet made a donation to do so right now!

The last few days of our quarterly campaigns are always the most stressful times of the year. The stakes are so high, because LifeSite’s existence depends upon the success of these campaigns. <

It is also stressful because we know that we have a responsibility to reach even MORE people with the truth about life and the family, and that we need to be doing even MORE reporting on critical life and family issues.

And yet, at the same time, I am filled with peace, knowing that this work is not our own work, but God’s, and that as long as we strive to do His will, He will always provide us with everything we need!

And I also know that I can always count on our readers to come through for us, no matter how worrisome things might look.

You always have!

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I know we can reach our goal today. 

Of the tens of thousands that will visit our site in the next few hours, I know there are at least 1,000 readers who could chip in just $40 to bring us to our goal. I know there are just 200 people out there who could give a $200 donation and help bring us to the finish line. Or, 500 people who could donate $75. 

It wouldn’t take much if everyone pitched in a little! Whatever you can give, whether its just $5, or $5,000 - every donation counts towards our goal.

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Obama admin files first-ever lawsuits against employers who fired transgender workers

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By Ben Johnson

The Obama administration 's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed two lawsuits against employers who fired transgender employees, claiming that the businesses violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act's prohibition of discrimination against women. Last Thursday's lawsuits are the first ever filed by EEOC over what they deem transgender employment bias.

The employment regulatory agency's Indianapolis office sued R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, located in the Detroit area, for firing “Amiee” Stephens, a funeral director who was born male and wished to perform funeral duties in female attire.

The EEOC's Miami office sued Lakeland Eye Clinic in Lakeland, Florida, for firing Michael Branson in June 2011. Branson's lawyer, Jillian Weiss, states his co-workers “snickered, rolled their eyes, and withdrew from social interactions with” Branson after he showed up at work a few months into the job in drag demanding to be called “Brandi.”

Obama officials say that firing transgender workers violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, because the employers allegedly fired transgender “women” who “did not conform to the employer's gender-based expectations, preferences, or stereotypes.”

However, that pivotal civil rights law does not mention transgender people nor homosexuals and recognizes neither as a protected minority group that is accorded special rights.

Nonetheless, the Obama administration contends that transgender males are actually women, so any employer who “discriminates” against them is guilty of discrimination on the basis of sex.

The EEOC wrote in its August 20 decision in Complainant v. Jeh Johnson that “While Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination does not explicitly include sexual orientation as a basis, Title VII prohibits sex discrimination, including sex- stereotyping discrimination and gender discrimination. The term ‘gender’ encompasses not only a person’s biological sex, but also the cultural and social aspects associated with masculinity and femininity.”

In other words, males who believe they are females really are females, and they are experiencing discrimination because they do not look like “other” women.

“Moreover, we have held that sex discrimination claims may intersect with claims of sexual orientation discrimination,” the EEOC continued.

EEOC General Counsel David Lopez told BuzzFeed that the Obama administration wants “to ensure employers aren’t considering irrelevant factors, like gender-based stereotypes or gender identity, in making employment decisions.” But business owners say the image projected by outside sales representatives, front office personnel, and other employees has a real impact on the customer's comfort and likelihood to do business with a company.

Mario Diaz, legal counsel of Concerned Women for America, told LifeSiteNews that the lawsuits are the latest push by the Obama administration to further the radical homosexual and transgender political agenda without persuading the American people first.

“The mainstreaming of transgenderism is a debate that is just beginning in our culture,” Diaz told LifeSiteNews. “The American people should debate the complex issues involved, and the legislatures should act based on the conclusions we reach as a society.”

“For the Obama administration to act unilaterally, once again, to force its conclusion about sexuality and morality on the nation is beyond reprehensible,” he said.

“Nevertheless, we can’t say we are surprised. This is why President Obama appointed celebrated homosexual activist Chai Feldblum to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission back in 2010, when we sounded the alarm about the implications of such an appointment.”

Homosexual activists were thrilled. Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the homosexual lobbying group Human Rights Campaign, called the lawsuits an “historic and a giant step” that “deserves immense praise.”

The new prosecutions are an attempt to implement a December 2012 Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) drawn up by Obama administration officials making "coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII's sex discrimination provisions, as they may apply" as “a top Commission enforcement priority.”

And the Obama administration promises this is only the beginning. Robert E. Weisberg, regional lawyer for the EEOC's Miami district office, told Florida's Lakeland Ledger, "I sincerely hope that it serves as a teaching moment for the employer community on how the EEOC views the law and their intention to enforce the law — and for victims who might not have realized they have this type of relief available, to (encourage them to) come forward.”

He added that the “educational byproduct of a case like this can extend far beyond the parties in the lawsuit, which would be the real hope."

President Obama has worked like no other president to promote the redefinition of gender norms, from a biological reality to a malleable social construct.

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In late April, his administration stated that Title IX funding, intended to assist women pursue higher education, applies to transgender males, through the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development demanded that any renter who accepts Section 8 or HUD financing must rent their accommodations to homosexuals and transgender people.

In 2010, Obama named “Amanda” Simpson the Senior Technical Advisor to the Commerce Department, thought to be the first transgender presidential appointment.

Long before seeking the presidency, Barack Obama talked about aggressive federal action to promote social engineering in a 2001 interview on public radio. When conservative media outlets said this meant candidate Obama would use executive powers to promote his agenda in lieu of Congressional support, mainstream reporters such as the Associated Press and The Washington Post dismissed their claims.

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