Ontario school hosts school-wide GSA assembly, gay speaker re-interprets Bible, Catholicism
DUNDAS, Ontario, February 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Hamilton-area public school is drawing fire from parents after holding a school-wide gay-straight alliance assembly in November with a guest speaker who tried to convince the audience that biblical teaching on homosexuality is obsolete, archaic and “wrong.”
Parkside High School in Dundas held the assembly Nov. 23, inviting the entire student body of approximately 480 students, in addition to faculty.
The speaker identified herself as a lesbian “youth worship leader” from a synagogue and held herself out to be an authority on Old Testament Scripture, a concerned parent informed LifeSiteNews. The information has been confirmed by at least two other families.
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When informed of parents’ concerns, Parkside’s principal Paul Barwinski did not deny the information. “If there are any students or parents that have concerns please have them contact me directly,” he said.
LSN’s source reported that the speaker also sought to discredit the Catholic faith by suggesting that since “the eating of fish on Fridays by Catholics” is no longer adhered to, neither should its beliefs on homosexuality.
In response, Suresh Dominic of Campaign Life Catholics is calling on the McGuinty government to investigate the incident for violations of the Education Act.
The controversy arrives fresh after criticism over Premier Dalton McGuinty’s new anti-bullying legislation, Bill 13, which has been accused of concealing a radical agenda that tramples religious freedom and parental rights. A key element of McGuinty’s bill involves forcing all school boards to permit openly homosexual, student-run GSAs.
“Here’s proof that Bill 13 is not about bullying. Instead, it’s about indoctrinating kids to reject their parents’ beliefs,” said Dominic. “This systemic attack on the Bible will spread throughout Ontario’s secular and Catholic schools unless parents convince MPPs to vote down McGuinty’s so-called ‘anti-bullying bill’.”
The speaker at Parkside’s GSA assembly reportedly started her treatment of Scripture by providing a definition of the word “abomination,” after which she pointed out that two offenses other than homosexuality that are labeled “abominations” in the Bible are things as common as not keeping the Sabbath holy and getting drunk.
Since no one would consider those two acts “abominations” now, she said, condemning homosexual acts is also wrong, since the Old Testament penalty for homosexuality was the same as for these two sins (death).
The concerned parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, told LSN that they found the incident to be “pure brainwashing. This wasn’t about safety or bullying. This was about discrediting Judeo-Christian beliefs [and] a complete bastardization of Scripture.”
A second parent with children who attended the GSA assembly said that their children reported that “some kids went home crying.” A third source reported that several students who attended the GSA rally “were not happy about what happened.”
Dominic, who will be writing to Education Minister Laurel Broten and the Opposition’s Education Critic to demand an official government inquiry, argues that the GSA presentation contravened three different sections of the Education Act.
He pointed to Section 264.1(c) of the code, which requires teachers “to inculcate by precept and example respect for religion and the principles of Judaeo-Christian morality.”
Dominic also said the Parkside GSA assembly violated Regulation 298, sect 29.1 of the Education Act, which states: “Subject to subsections (2) and (3), a board shall not permit any person to conduct religious exercises or to provide instruction that includes indoctrination in a particular religion or religious belief in a school.”
Finally, said Dominic, “The GSA assembly contravened section 51.1 and 51.2 of the Education Act (R.S.O. 1990), on Religious Education, because a public school is not permitted to present religious education that would reasonably be expected to violate the desires of parents.”
“The GSA assembly presenter was clearly attempting to indoctrinate the students in a particular and peculiar interpretation of Bible passages, and to encourage them to reject a contrary interpretation taught by the Catholic Church,” Dominic told LifeSiteNews.
“In fact, the presenter inculcated disrespect and some might say, hatred, towards the Catholic faith and the Bible. Premier McGuinty and his Education Minister cannot ignore this. Individuals must get fired,” he added.
To respectfully express concerns, contact the following:
1. Education Minister Laurel Broten (Liberal)
Email: [email protected]
Constituency office: 100-701 Evans Ave., Etobicoke, M9C 1A3
2. Education Critic Lisa MacLeod (Progressive Conservative)
Email: [email protected]
Constituency office: 3500 Fallowfield Rd., Unit 10, Nepean ON, K2J 4A7
3. Premier Dalton McGuinty
Constituency office: 1795 Kilborn Ave, Ottawa, K1H 6N1
4. Tim Hudak, Leader of the Opposition
Constituency office: M1-4961 King St E., Bearnsville, L0R 1B0
5. MPP for your riding. Find their contact info here.
6. Catholic Bishops of Ontario contact info can be found here.
7. Trustees page of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board here.