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Non-Catholics Trying to Lie Their Way into Teaching at Ontario Catholic Schools

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

TORONTO, May 10, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Despite the fact that persons must prove themselves to be practicing Catholics to be considered for a teaching position within the Catholic school boards of Ontario, several media reports have surfaced saying that some individuals are lying to not only board officials but even to Catholic priests about heir adherence to the faith, in order to land a job.

A Toronto-area woman, who did not want to be identified, told the Canadian Press that she and other teachers who are non-religious are attending Mass every Sunday in hopes of getting a pastoral letter of reference which is a requirement for being hired by a Catholic school board.

"I don't particularly like going (to Mass) every Sunday, but if this is what I have to do, then I'll do it," said the woman. "I just really want to be in a career. I just want it so badly."

She also admitted to having gone to confession and lying to the priest after having read about the sacrament in a catechism book.

Acknowledging a sense of guilt about the deception, the woman nevertheless stated that, "I know what I believe in. I support abortion. I support gay marriage. I'm going through what I have to go through to get a job. I know it sounds bad."

"You feel really helpless," said the teacher. "I thought, why not try this option. It was kind of out of desperation ... not that I think it will work for sure, but it's to have another option."

"I haven't gone for my, um, what do you call it, the bread thing yet…Communion. I'm nervous about it," she added.

Frank McIntyre, a researcher for the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), said the glut of teachers looking for fewer and fewer jobs has left teachers desperate to find work.

According to the OCT, there were 12,200 new teachers in the province in 2009, but only about 5,000 positions.

"What you can see, fairly quickly, is you have twice as many teachers as you do job opportunities and that has been going on for a number of years now," said McIntyre.

"We're getting a backlog of qualified teachers who are not able to get teaching jobs."

A 2009 report from the education advocacy organization People for Education revealed that up to 335 Ontario schools face closure in the next three years because of declining enrolment, which stems from the province's low birth rate.

Plummeting birth rates have already resulted in the closure of over 400 schools in Ontario this decade, and the Ontario Ministry of Education revealed that this year total elementary and secondary school enrollment has dropped by nearly 100,000 students from 2002 numbers.

Statistics Canada has predicted that student enrolment in elementary and secondary schools will drop by 500,000 in the next 10 years.

Tyler Charlebois, a spokesman for the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities told the Canadian Press that the ministry recognizes the problem of too many teachers and too few students, and will begin limiting enrollment in teachers' colleges starting on April 1, 2011.

"We are going to be reducing and limiting teacher-ed spaces by 1,000 spaces," said Charlebois.

John Del Grande, a trustee with the Toronto Catholic District School Board, told the Toronto Star that the Catholic board is "just as strained for new jobs as the public one," but he wouldn’t be surprised to find that people were returning to the faith or converting for the jobs.

“If you look at the pool of teachers, I’m sure there are ones that are Catholics in name only. At the end of the day I hope they are there to teach the kids and live on with the values that the Catholic Church stands behind,” he said.

Angela Kennedy, chair of the Toronto Catholic District School Board said she “hasn’t run across” anyone who has converted to Catholicism for the sole purpose of getting a job.

“I haven’t met anybody who is even contemplating doing that,” she told the Star. “In my position, would people tell me that? I’m not exactly the person people would tell.”

Kennedy said converting to Catholicism is a very long process, and elementary teachers must attend all liturgies and be Catholic role models for the students.

"We have an expectation that anyone we're interviewing is Catholic and we're also looking for the pastoral letter," said Gary Poole, the superintendent of human resources for the Toronto board, adding that the interview process carefully and critically examines each applicant.

The right of Catholic school boards to insist that teachers and others who work directly with the children in the separate school system be practicing Catholics, is protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code, a subsection of which states that this right is guaranteed by the Constitution Act of 1867.

This right of Catholic schools to hire Catholic teachers was challenged last September when the Wellington Catholic District School Board had a human rights complaint filed against it because of their policy of only hiring teachers who are active Catholics.

The complaint was filed with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal by Mr. Jesse Lloyd, 36, an out-of-work, non-Catholic teacher, whose application to the board was unsuccessful. Lloyd graduated with a teaching degree in 2006 and had worked short-term contract positions with public boards in Hamilton and Guelph.

When he applied to the Wellington Catholic board in 2006 and was not given an interview he filed his complaint contending that the board's hiring policy was discriminatory.

The Wellington Catholic District School Board's Director of Education Donald Drone responded to the complaint by insisting that the board has a legal right to focus their hiring on active Catholics, and that this is essential to the very purpose of the Catholic school.

"It is the constitutional mandate of Catholic schools to provide Catholic education to Catholic students," Drone stated. "It is critical that teachers who deliver this educational program to its students be Catholic."

Catholic school boards, he said, have the "preferential right to hire Catholic teachers who can fulfill the responsibilities of a teacher in a Catholic school and who are knowledgeable about and committed to the values, goals and obligations of the Catholic school system."


See related LSN articles:

Massive School Closures in Ontario Imminent Due to Low Birth Rate
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/nov/09111011.html

300 Schools to Close in Ontario because of Birth Rate Crash
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/apr/08042404.html

Catholic School Board Faces Human Rights Complaint for Limiting Teachers to Catholics
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/sep/09091113.html

Ontario Catholic School Board Defends Its Right to Focus Hiring on Catholics
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/sep/09091604.html

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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