Thaddeus Baklinski

,

Thousands of homeschoolers, Christians rally against Alberta Education Act over freedom concerns

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski
Image

EDMONTON, March 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The protest against the inclusion of the Alberta Human Rights Act in Section 16 of the province’s proposed new Education Act (Bill 2) is escalating, with over 2000 attending a peaceful protest at the Alberta Legislature on Monday, March 19.

Paul Faris, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, attended the protest and told LifeSiteNews that the rally was “a huge success.”

“With at least 2100 people attending, this rally was amongst the largest in Alberta history,” Faris said.

This was the second protest in as many weeks by homeschooling families and other concerned Albertans. The protests were organized by the Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) to express their grave concern over a stipulation in Section 16 that all instructional materials in schools, including home and private schools, “must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act.”

Faris observed that “it wasn’t just homeschoolers there, but lots of private, Catholic and public schoolers, so it’s becoming a very broad-based movement of parents who are concerned that the government is taking away their freedom in education.”

The focal point of the protest is the possibility that home and private schools that teach the precepts of their faith could be prosecuted by human rights tribunals for “hate crimes” under the Alberta Human Rights Act (AHRA). The AHRA has been used in the past to prosecute conservatives and Christians, most notably pastor Steve Boissoin, who was found “guilty” by a tribunal of “hate speech” against homosexuals after he published a letter to the editor in a local newspaper. That conviction was subsequently overturned by the court system.

Faris remarked that Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk spoke to the rally, trying to assure parents that their rights would not be infringed by the proposed legislation, but then concluded that the two sides might have to “agree to disagree.”

“A large number of people who are protesting and facing me but yet at the same time believe in exactly the same things that I believe,” Lukaszuk said, then added, “We may end up agreeing or disagreeing on the wording of it, but I am confident that your rights will be protected.”

“It’s ironic,” Faris told LifeSiteNews, “that later in the day Lukaszuk’s office announced that he plans to invite a committee of twenty Alberta parents to get feedback on what people want. It just amazed me. Here are 2100 people who care so much they came to the Legislature on a cold day, and now he’s saying he wants to hear what people think.”

“It’s clear, that when 2100 concerned parents from every form of education care so much about the issue that they come to rally on the steps of the Legislature, if he’s not listening to them then he’s clearly signalling that he really doesn’t care what the people of Alberta think, that he’s going to do what he wants,” Faris said.

An open letter delivered to the government at yesterday’s protest by Alberta Citizens for Diversity in Education (ACDE), which was endorsed by numerous groups, including REAL Women of Canada, states that the signatories are “concerned that the inclusion of the Alberta Human Rights Act in Section 16 could expose any Albertan informed by a religious or cultural perspective on a variety of different doctrinal or cultural issues to prosecution by Alberta Human Rights tribunals. We ask you to confirm the many verbal assurances that this is not the governments intent by amending Bill 2: The Education Act so as to address these concerns.”

The organizers of the protest are demanding that the six words, “and the Alberta Human Rights Act” be removed from the legislation.

“In order for our message to be crystal clear, it is important for us all to present the same message to our government,” AHEA states. “The message is: take 6 words out.”

The Alberta Catholic School Trustees Association has also taken a stand against the new Education Act.

In a letter submitted to the government the trustees state, “If passed, Bill 2 has the potential to seriously effect publicly funded Catholic education in Alberta, Catholic school boards, and Catholic schools, teachers, staff, and students.”

The ACSTA expresses concern about the proposed sharing of facilities and boards with public schools, and states that the Trustees Association “supports Catholic parents as the primary educators of their children and that the new Education Act must reflect this primacy of the home and parents as primary teachers.”

The legislation has passed two readings and is now being debated by the Committee of the Whole before going to third and final reading scheduled for Wednesday, March 21.

Faris indicated that the reference to the Alberta Human Rights Act in Bill 2 must be expunged in today’s Committee of the Whole session if it is to be done by this government. However, with an election call anticipated in the very near future the legislation may be delayed.

“I don’t know how the government can ignore so many voices of concerned parents from right across Alberta. I think they would be foolish to go into an election knowing that there are so many people who care passionately about this issue and who believe their voices are being ignored,” Faris concluded.

Contact Information:

Hon. Thomas Lukaszuk, Education Minister
423 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB
Canada T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427-5010
Fax: (780) 427-5018
[email protected]

Premier Alison Redford
Office of the Premier
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800-97 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B7
Phone: 780-427-2251
E-mail: Use this form.

Contact info for Alberta MLAs.

FREE pro-life and pro-family news.

Stay up-to-date on the issues you care about the most. Subscribe today. 

Select Your Edition:


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Lisa Bourne

,

Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
Image
Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

Advertisement
Featured Image
Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

, ,

Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

The Editors
By

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

, ,

Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook