The Legislative Assembly of Alberta passed a bill yesterday that would allow children to leave the classroom during instruction that includes “subject matter that deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or sexual orientation.” Since Catholic schools are publicly funded in Canada, this poses a significant problem. The Catholic Church has consistently taught that education is primarily the responsibility of parents, but allowing parents to pick and choose which classes and which lessons their children will attend will lead to obvious issues. Imagine a report cards that read “E” for “Exempt.” Where will the kids go instead of attending their classes? And the most frightening, how can a religion teacher legitimately say to his/her students that there is such a thing as religious Truth? The law says that it’s only opinion!
The bill would not only affect religion class. As Kim Jenkins, superintendent of Fort McMurray Catholic Board of Education, said, the new legislation poses a particular problem for Catholic schools because religion is integrated into every classroom. “You can’t have people opting out of religion because that’s why (Catholic schools) exist,” said Jenkins.
For a full reading of the language of Bill 44: