By John-Henry Westen

  QUEBEC CITY, October 4, 2007 ( – As of the beginning of the 2008 school year, all students in the province of Quebec whether in public school, private school or even homeschooled will be mandated to take a program on “Ethics and Religious Culture” which runs from grade one till the end of high school. The program is completely relativistic and includes positive presentation of homosexual families and requires children to question their own religious upbringing. 

  Several parent groups have joined forces to protest the mandatory nature of the program demanding an opt out for parents who do not wish to have their children in the courses. 

  A peaceful march and rally before the National Assembly building in Quebec City is being planned for October 20, 2007, from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M., calling for freedom of religion and conscience in schools. 

  The Coalition pour la LIberté en Education (CLÉ) is inviting all concerned citizens to join in and insist that the government respect the right of parents to choose the type of religious and moral education they want for their children in school. 

  According to official announcements, the current right to choose between moral/religious education from a Catholic or Protestant perspective on the one hand, or a course on ethics without religious content on the other hand, will be suppressed in favor of the new government program. 

“As of 2008, parents would completely lose their right of choice,” Jean Morse-Chevrier of the Association of Catholic Parents, a partner in CLÉ, told  “This would have a huge impact since 80% of parents of primary school students and almost 60% of parents of secondary school students have until now chosen moral education or a Catholic religious education for their children,” she said.

  Morse-Chevrier explained that the course covers different world religions as if all are equal.  The major religions focused on in the program are Christianity, Native Spirituality, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.  Atheism is also covered as a cultural expression.  A draft of the course document mentioned the bizarre Raelian cult under ‘other religions’ but that reference has been removed. 

  Instruction equating homosexuality with normal family life is to be presented as early as grade one. Under ‘ethics’ for grades 1-2 the course is intended “to bring children to explore the diversity of relationships of interdependence between members of different types of families.”

  Canada’s Charter of Rights explicitly protects freedom of religion while sexual orientation was deliberately excluded from the Charter. Canada’s courts have nevertheless “read in” sexual orientation and allowed homosexual rights to trump freedom of religion in legal conflicts involving gay activists.

  A press conference by the Association of Catholic Parents had the backing of Quebec City Cardinal Marc Ouellet who has also called for parents to be permitted freedom of conscience regarding religious education of their children whether in public or private school.

  The course mandates for primary and secondary schools are available online (in French) here:

  Quebec residents may sign the petition requesting freedom of choice for parents here:,com_wrapper/Itemid,105/

  For more information see the CLÉ website: or call 1-888-839-6236 or email: