Monday School: Atheist parents win a big court battle

 
After a few weeks of technical difficulties… it’s time once again for Monday School! The ongoing ‘Rational Corrective To All That Nonsense You Learned Yesterday!’

Today’s lesson is a very interesting one, basically because it extends to the idea of equal rights. If you give one person a right to do something, you pretty much have to grant that same right to everyone else. For example, if you allow Gideons to hand out bibles to school kids, you should allow Muslims and even Atheists the same right to do the same. Kind of a no brainer, right?

That wasn’t the case in Ontario, where an Atheist parent was fighting the Niagara school board who allowed Gideons to hand out bibles to kids, but not atheists or anyone else. Last week, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ruled that schools will not be allowed to let Gideons hand out bibles unless they allow atheists to distribute their own materials.

Basically the tribunal ruled that only allowing Gideons to distribute religious literature is discriminatory. According to the ruling:

“Allowing only the Gideons, a Christian group, to distribute religious literature in the board’s schools under the version of the policy in place when S.C. was in Grade 5 discriminated against the applicants,”

Another landmark part of this decision was when the tribunal also ruled on whether or not atheism counts as a creed protected by the Human Rights Code, which they said it does:

“In my view, a purposive interpretation of the prohibition on discrimination because of ‘creed’ in the code includes a prohibition on discrimination because a person is atheist.”

While I wouldn’t refer to Atheism as a creed, I do appreciate that the Tribunal finds defines them as a group that deserves to have their rights protected just as much as any other minority in the country. So that was a very huge statement they made last week when ruling in favour of the atheist parent. However I am not in support of atheist books being given to grade five students, ditto for bibles and other religious books too.

I honestly think that children attending school should be allowed to make their own mind up and not have all these books tossed at them before they are able to read them with open eyes. Trying to brainwash children with one particular world view is a predatory act, which is why I’m glad the tribunal ruled the way they did.

Gideon bibles in schools is a tradition that should stop, period. It would be great if the world’s hotel chains would send their bibles back too.

PJ

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