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

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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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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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