Monday, April 26, 2004

Parental Freedom to Teach?

According to Press Reports (Vancouver Sun, Thursday April 22, 2004) the British Columbia Ministry of Education has decided that parents who enroll in its program of distance learning for home-schoolers must not use “other” materials or, in fact, religious materials with their own children.

This is a rather stunning but not inconsistent development. Secularism, as we have noted many times in various writings from the Centre, is an ideology started officially in the mid-nineteenth century. Its goal was to drive religions out of the public and, eventually, the world. Though it hid its most radical edges under a pink fog of rhetoric, careful perusal of such works as George Jacob Holyoake’s “English Secularism”: A confession of Belief" of secularism It is Holyoake who is credited with coining the term “secularism” in the mid-nineteenth century.

The BC Ministry of Education’s recent rules are just a more current application of the anti-religious ideology. Parents, as the Supreme Court of Canada said in its decision R. v. Audet (see our Lex View site at ) are the primary educators of their children. They delegate this limited authority to the State. The State has no prior right at all to determine the moral and religious content that parents wish to teach their children.

On this basis the education system must not usurp the proper function of parents and the beliefs of the communities of which diverse parents are members.

What this shows, rather clearly in fact, is that having dominated public education, the Conditioners (as C.S. Lewis once called them in The Abolition of Man, 1943 - - a book that everyone concerned with these issues needs to read) wish to go further. They wish to control and condition and this attempt to get inside the homes of citizens to consolidate their program of conditioning in morality (while professing that they do not) is a good example of their intent.

A free and democratic society must be wary of attempts by the State to over-reach and go beyond its proper jurisdiction.

Questions must be asked about the anti-religious bias that is behind this kind of attack and the people who formulated this kind of rule brought to book for it. Perhaps some of them should begin looking for work elsewhere.

Iain T. Benson©