This fall the moral and religious education course in Quebec’s schools will be replaced by the new Ethics and Religious Culture program. This means that these schools will no longer be allowed to provide religious instruction in the class-room. Generations of Quebecers, both Catholic and Protestant, have grown up expecting the schools to provide religious instruction.
The new course will explain the beliefs of major faiths in a neutral way. But what is the student, say in Grade 1, supposed o do with this material. Evaluate it? In Grade 1?
The assumption behind the government’s new program on Ethics and Religious Culture seems to be that religious instruction belongs in the home and in places of worship, not in schools.
This is precisely the point the leader of the Opposition, Mario Dumont, is arguing against. To him, the new course deliberately ignores Quebec’s reality and heritage. Dumont wants Quebec children to be taught what they are, and not what they might become.
A number of parents’ groups agree with Dumont. They fear that their right to choose their childrens’ religious instruction will be undermined.
Do you think some Catholic and Protestant religious instruction should be retained in the class-room perhaps as an option?
Do you think little children can evaluate the worth of various religions?
Should Quebec’s schools be entirely secular?
What if the tenets of the new Religious Culture Program collide with what the child is being taught by his or her parents at home?