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GSA activists turn attention to defunding Catholic school system

GSA activists turn attention to defunding Catholic school system

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Voices of students are hard to ignore: Trottier
UPDATE: May 12 - St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School principal Frances Jacques pulled student Leanne Iskander aside May 12 to demand she contact Xtra so the story be corrected to state there is no gay-straight alliance (GSA) at the school. Iskander is the founder of the "unofficial" GSA. "[The principal] said that we don't have a GSA at our school and therefore that is inaccurate," Iskander says.

May 11 - The debate around Ontario Catholic separate school boards' refusal to allow their students to form gay-straight alliance discussion groups has been raging for months. But Justin Trottier, executive director of the Centre for Inquiry (CFI), says his panel discussion this Friday night won't be adding to it.
 
"We've invited school board members to come and debate in the past," he says. "We've tried to be friendly."

But the invitations have never been accepted. So, for Friday's discussion and Q & A (part of CFI's ongoing Voices of Reason series), Trottier says, "We've decided we're not going to waste our time."
 
The Centre for Inquiry will take the discussion in a different direction — away from pressuring Catholic school administrators to allow GSAs.
 
Instead, the panel will discuss "the appropriate moves going forward" to dissolving Ontario's separate school system, in place since the 1867 Constitution Act and later guaranteed in the 1982 Constitution Act to Roman Catholics in Ontario.
 
Obviously, it's an uphill battle. CFI was first established in January 2007 as a meeting place for Ontario's non-religious, humanist and free-thought communities and has, Trottier says, "long held the position that government has no business funding separate religious schools...They create financial waste, they're unfair to other groups who don't get such funding, and ultimately, religious instruction is the responsibility of parents and churches."
 
Trottier's panel will include Green MP candidate Mark Daye, Queer Ontario member Casey Oraa, St Joseph Catholic Secondary School student (and lone founder of a GSA) Leanne Iskander, Xtra news reporter Andrea Houston and activist Justin Stayshyn. Houston and Stayshyn began investigating claims by Halton board officials that some Ontario Catholic schools already had GSAs by calling every single Catholic school board in Ontario. Stayshyn got a brief, telling and, so far, only comment from Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario general secretary Lou Piovesan, who said, "I'm not going to argue with you."
 
"There is no other side to this story," says Houston, who has been working on the GSA issue since January. "Queer youth in publicly funded schools are being bullied and they are asking for help, but their educators are turning their backs... Gay students are singled out and called 'sinful and immoral,' and Catholic educators see nothing wrong with this."
 
Queer Ontario representative Casey Oraa says the biggest shock in this conflict between discussion and dogma is "the willful inaction by Dalton McGuinty and the Ministry of Education. They’ve got a policy (PPM 145) that explicitly supports GSAs for students in all public schools, yet they refuse to support it."
 
For Houston, "it's the unapologetic homophobia from Catholic parents, trustees and Catholic educators. They don't seem to understand how offensive what they say actually is."
 
Houston says it's the presence of Iskander on Friday's panel that will inspire most: "I'm not sure I would have had the courage at 16 years old to take on the school board, the Catholic Church and the province," she says, while Oraa praises Iskander for achieving the "small victory" of an upcoming anti-homophobia event at St Joseph's in early June. 
 
"How would that work?" he asks. "A student can say they are being bullied for being gay but not talk about being gay? Explain that one to me."
 
The Catholic bishops, Houston says, "want to avoid anything too 'gay' sounding or that signifies an activist group. Even Rainbow Alliance, the name the St Joe's students chose, was refused. So while there have been glimmers of progress, it mostly feels we go in circles."
 
Which is why, Trottier insists, a single school system in Ontario is an idea whose time has come. While the CFI has long been documenting abuses — bullying of students, refusals to allow same-sex dates at proms, banning of books like The Golden Compass — these have been largely, Trottier says, "abstract issues to the public, but now the faces and voices of these youngsters are harder to ignore."
 
Catholic school boards vs gay-straight alliances
Panel and audience Q & A
Centre for Inquiry, 216 Beverley St (just south of College and St George)
Friday, May 13 at 7pm

Comments

Stop Funding
The Gov't should stop funding Catholic Schools!
Abuse is centuries old
The sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy has been going on for centuries,as any well researched history on the subject will tell you. The problem is pedophilia and is not limited to the gay population. Absent so far from this discussion is the cost of funding separate schools in Ontario. Over and above what it would cost to have everyone in one public school system which taught courses in the history of all religions , we taxpayers are bilked for a minimum of one and a half to two billion dollars annually---justr money down the drain to support a human rights abuse and to pander to gutless politicians !!
Catholic 'Faith' continued
Residential schools were yet another form of extermination as they robbed the native population of their youth while indoctrinating them into the Catholic religious culture, culminating in rampant sexual abuse scandals perpetrated by its ‘celibate’ priests. I am positive that this kind of pedophilic behavior has been going on since the beginning of Catholicism… The difference now is that we are finally talking about these scandals and laws have evolved to deal with these perverts so that errant priests are finally being held accountable for their atrocities. Certainly the Pope and the Vatican have not done so… which is a way of condoning this kind of behavior. To hide behind the skirts of our constitution in order to resurrect a religion which at its best feels itself to be above the law and at its worst continues to spread prejudice and ignorance I find unconscionable! The fallacy of celibacy in the priesthood and the exclusion of females in the church’s most inner sanctums has exposed the Catholic faith for what it truly represents. Catholic fanatics would have us turn back the clock to a time when the Church unleashed its mighty powers without consequence… Indeed, Catholicism has tested the mettle of even its most faithful followers! I too was indoctrinated into the Catholic faith, and am happy to say that I was able to extricate myself from the delusion which is Catholicism. I could no longer hide behind the thinly-veiled bigotry practiced by our faith, and found its inaction with regards to bringing to justice the pedophiles which hid behind the robes of priesthood too much to bear. There has been mention made of the power which lies behind the Ontario bishops - this should act as a warning to the rest of us. Although you would in one breath have us believe that you are but a meek and innocent group of people merely wishing to practice the teachings of your faith – you do not hesitate in the next breath to offer thinly-veiled threats of the might behin
Catholic 'Faith'
The BNA Act guaranteed the funding of the Catholic school system in 1867. This Act is repeatedly cited in defense of continued funding of the separate school system. As others have pointed out, amendments are made to our archaic laws regularly in order to reflect the changing needs of today’s society. Rectification has already been carried out in other provinces with regards to the public funding of the separate school system to the exclusion of others as these provinces recognized the inequity which this situation represented. Catholics cite this right which was passed down as a direct result of ‘injustices inherent in being a member of a distinct minority’. I find this laughable. It is difficult to envision the Catholic Church or its adherents as being a downtrodden minority… even back then… and I was raised in the Catholic faith! For those who share this religious opinion - I guess this means that you support the public funding of other faith-based schools in Ontario then since - according to your criteria - they face the same threats as ancestral Catholics did during the founding of our nation. Or would you have us deny other religious groups these same inexorable rights? The folly of carrying through on this statement is self-evident. At a time when the Catholic Church is closing many of its churches, you would have us believe that there is a need to continue funding these separate schools! You must ask yourself - where are your faithful and why have they deserted you? Some Catholics have stated that the ‘rights of Catholics have been menaced’ – I find it insulting to MY intelligence and dangerous that some people can exhibit such a serious case of amnesia. One need only delve into the history books to see the kind of menace your religion has represented in the world. Roman Catholic Church ‘storm troopers’ exercised an extermination agenda in many parts of the world, as during the Crusades and the Inquisition. Residential schools were yet another form o
catholic church is THE monster
rthe catholic church of the godfather of pedophilia. It was not gay priests but str8 priests who attacked boys and yes girls. the real crime is how the church hid these vile crimes for decades if not centuries, moving known offenders to new locations where they could continue their vile crimes until caught again. Why do you think the church is fortunately all but dead in Europe and dying in latin america and parts of the USA, and of course canada has gay marriage nationwide. The catholic church has murdered and raped througout its history. the inquisition, the christian crusades that killed 40 million muslims (no wonder some of htem hate us) WWII by a still unexcommunciated catholic hitler, 55 million died and the church hasn't yet kicked him out dead or alive, while it prattles about protecting life. And hitler rode to power on the backs of hte hatred of Jews, given to the world by the catholic church because the Jews wouldn't convert. Over a thousand year smillion of Jesus own people were murdered adn displacedd. WWII was simply the "final solution" May God open up Vesuvius II under the vatican, and swallow this filth into the fires of the earth. www.nobeliefs.com/nazis/htm
Link..
http://www.kofc.org/un/en/cis/courses/index.html
For those who are bored...
"Free" online Catholic Catechism and Formation Courses by the Nights of Columbus: Catechism and Faith Formation Courses
Go back to Hell Sylvia
Stop confusing gay men with Pedophiles. Most pedophilia first of all is opposite sex. You are so fixated by gays, because you are a bored, lonely, self-righteous beyach who has nothing better to do than pander hate behind your 'good faith' shield of religion. Why are you on our website? Are you God's chosen crusader? Shouldn't you be getting ready for the Rapture? And how will you answer to God when he asks you about the damage you've caused by your hate propaganda? You love to demonize us because it's the only way you can affirm all the energy you've invested into your fantasy of religious doctrine. If you believe in scripture you will note that the Bible endorses slavery, will not allow for a man to touch you if you are having your period, etc. Read ALL of Leviticus. You are insane like the rest of your crazy flock. Leave us be you hateful agent of Satan. We want to be able to love as God intended us to. You think love is sex and that is so unGodly. I suggest you get gay sex off your brain because you probably think about it more than we do. Then study Freud's reaction formation theory. Then look in the mirror. You are a dangerous, unconscious human, who knows not what she does. Forgive her God. Please get some psychotherapy Sylvia.
"Crossing the Threshold of hope"...
"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like Eagles" Isaiah 40:31 AND "Hope everything from the Mercy of God, it is boundless, as His Power" St. Frances of Rome. Speaking of "big conversions" and "big life" changes, has anyone here heard of Abby Johnson? Former Director of Planned Parenthood, who resigned her post and is now involved in the Pro-Life Movement...God is definetly "not" boring: http://uniteforlifewebcast.org/ think of her "Crossing that Threshold".
Boredom...
I felt just like you, and actually, though I had a lover, and everything else a lesbian could want (at the time), I was bored, and one day I even asked myself "there has to be more to life than this!" I found that "more", that hunger I did not realize was for God. Because, like St. Augustine said, "are souls are restless untill they rest in You O God". This said, God promised me something, which I think applies to everyone, just people do not know it. He promised me I would never be bored as long as I followed Him. God can make your life exciting. There is always change with God, personal and otherwise (and to be honest, it's not always exciting, sometimes it's very painful, as one needs to acknowledge sinful behaviour or sinful things one has done. But this is true freedom. Are you a baptized Catholic? Have you heard of Alan (in the Toronto area): http://thesheepfold.typepad.com/ He was gay, and has recently got married to a woman. He is not bored!

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