‘Spiritual rape’: Quebec’s religion-neutral schools caught leading students in New Age practices
QUEBEC, October 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “Spiritual Animators” in Quebec’s religion-neutral school system have been documented as leading students in New-Age-like meditation exercises and rhythmic breathing sessions.
"They pick it up quite easily and quite quickly," said Elizabeth Pellicone, a Spiritual Animator for the English Montreal School Board, to QMI Agency.
"They say they felt 'the sound was travelling around my head or I was lifting off my chair’,” she said, adding that most of her colleagues guide students in similar exercises.
Brian Daly of QMI Agency observed one session earlier this month at one elementary school where Pellicone rang a bell while a group of Grade 2 students sat quietly, hands on their desks.
Another animator revealed leading students in rhythmic breathing sessions, where children were told to count their breaths.
Georges Buscemi, president of Campagne Québec-Vie, called the New-Age-like activities in the schools an “obvious” indication of the failure that was bound to happen when a government imposes a so-called neutral version of religion and morality.
“It was obvious then, and it is obvious now, that the neutral program is not ‘neutral’ and was bound to collapse into one religion or another,” he told LifeSiteNews.com.
The Quebec government stripped Catholics and Protestants of their right to religious education in public “confessional schools" in 1997, successfully requesting that the government of Canada exempt the province from Article 93 of the 1867 Constitution Act that guaranteed the right to denominational religious schools. Denominational religious instruction was allowed to continue, but its days would be numbered.
By 2000, all school boards were required to hire “spiritual animators.” Christian “services” in the schools were to be replaced by a so-called neutral “spiritual care and guidance” program.
Then in 2005, the province passed a law eliminating denominational religious education in public schools altogether.
At this time a “neutral” course in ethics or religious culture was proposed. The province mandated in 2008 that all provincial schools, whether public, private, or at home, teach its Ethics and Religious Culture course (ERC) from grade one until end of high school. Hailed as a “secular” and “neutral” program by its creators, the course was criticized for promoting moral relativism as well as ethical positions violating Christianity.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, then-Archbishop of Quebec, assessed the program at that time as short-sighted.
“One has to be very naïve to believe that this miracle of cultural teaching of religions will fabricate a new little pluralist Quebecer, expert in inter-religious relations and critical of every credo, including that of his own parents,” he wrote in a 2007 document to the Bouchard-Taylor commission on religious accommodation. “The least we can say is that the spiritual vacuum will be far from attenuated and that what will be implemented is a dictatorship of relativism completely contrary to the religious freedom which families must enjoy in the choice of the religious instruction which conforms to their convictions.”
Ouellet’s words have proved true. In the last five years, private Catholic schools have been forbidden from teaching Catholic courses on religion and morality. Instead, they have been forced to teach the “secular” and “neutral” world religions course designed by the government. Parents and schools seeking exemption from the course based on religious freedom have brought their cases to the country’s highest court, but have consistently failed in their bid.
The province’s current program now includes familiarizing students with “meditation,” teaching them to “enter into their universe of celebrations and rituals,” and helping them to “be familiar with symbols (religious or not) from the local and other cultures.”
“No activity, including religious celebrations, should be subsumed within a process whose goal is to develop the students' faith,” states a 2001 Quebec government document titled “Developing the inner life and changing the world.”
Buscemi said that the program has “collapsed” into the teachings of “paganism.”
“The psychological reason is this: humans are ontologically religious, made for God. And so if their hunger (‘the spiritual vacuum’) is not filled, they cobble something together which they can worship,” he said. “Now we have the technocrats sending in ‘spiritual animators’ to ‘assist’ children in creating their own deities."
"I consider this disgusting, spiritual rape," he said. "We are teaching our children to be idolaters of their ‘selves.’ What we now have is something akin to the pagan world, where all must burn incense to Mother State, but the worship of individual idols is encouraged.”
Andrea Mrozek, Director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, agrees with Buscemi, telling QMI Agency that a spiritual program is never religion-neutral.
"You can't actually teach these sorts of things in a vacuum," she said. "Having removed (religion) entirely, they can't now start to insert some post-modern pseudo-spiritual equivalent."
Buscemi said that Christian parents should not need anymore convincing that their children are in spiritual danger in Quebec’s schools.
“Christians, if they ever needed any more convincing, must take the steps to get their kids out of these schools now. As a parent myself of three young children, I would't send my kids to these educational ‘satanic mills’ if my life depended on it,” he said.
“It's homeschooling time,” he added.
Quebec continues to go to great lengths to distance itself from its Catholic heritage, forcing its citizens to follow suit. Quebec has most recently proposed a controversial Charter of Values that would forbid public employees, from judges down to daycare workers, from wearing “overt and conspicuous” religious symbols.