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Religious rights take priority over 'other rights': TCDSB

Religious rights take priority over 'other rights': TCDSB

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'Gay is not a lifestyle consistent with the Catholic church': delegate

UPDATE: Sept 8 -  Since the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) meeting Aug 31, many religious groups have reacted with vitriol in blogs and in print to the decision to reject anti-gay amendments to the board's equity policy.

Faye Sonier, legal counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, slammed the board in her blog Sept 6, saying its equity policy, mandatory as part of the Ontario government’s equity and inclusive education strategy, has sparked parents to mobilize and fight back “over fears that it will give homosexual activists a foothold in order to further subvert already weak Catholic sexual teaching in the schools,” LifeSite news reports.

Sonier says the policy stands in direct conflict with the Vatican because it recognizes sexual orientation as grounds for discrimination, comparable to race and ethnic background. “Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder and evokes moral concern,” she says.

Evangelical minister Royal Hamel also published a Sept 2 column in the Guelph Mercury. In the column he applauds Catholic parents for pushing back to “defend Catholicism” in schools.    



Sept 1 - Trustees at a Toronto Catholic District School Board meeting decided to put denominational rights above human rights and tried to make a direct attack on gay-straight alliances.

The Aug 31 meeting was the final debate on the TCDSB's equity and inclusive education policy, which has already passed. More than 100 people packed the gallery for the fiery meeting; in the majority were a vocal contingent of people objecting to homosexuality being taught in any way in Catholic schools, including within the context of bullying prevention and peer support.

“Denominational rights are the first priority,” trustee John Del Grande repeated several times.


Before the meeting started, Queer Ontario’s Casey Oraa told Xtra that the board had refused to allow GSA activist Leanne Iskander and members of Catholic Students for GSAs to speak, even though the group filled out a form ahead of the meeting.

Oraa says it seems that the board stacked the list of 10 delegations with nine that were pro-Catholic, allowing only one space for anyone to speak in favour of the policy.

When it was Oraa’s turn to speak, he graciously bowed out, offering his spot to the students and saying the board should really start listening to what students are saying.

“I have been watching. They gave Leanne and the students exactly three minutes to speak. Everyone else got much longer,” he said.

Emmy Milne, communications manager for the TCDSB, says each of the 10 delegates were permitted to speak for three minutes, reduced from the usual five.

Those who did speak objected to the equity policy in total, claiming it is just another way that “the homosexual agenda is normalizing a lifestyle choice.”

Student Kayla Martin called it an attack on Catholicism.

“Is the act of homosexuality something we support as Catholics?” Martin asked the board. “The answer is simply no.”

Meanwhile, anti-gay screams and shouts echoed from the gallery.

The most controversial amendment, which would have blocked students from forming GSAs, was defeated. The amendment would have ensured the board only approve school clubs that "are consistent with Catholic faith and moral teaching on marriage and sexuality."

Delegate Anna Lukowski says being gay is not a "lifestyle consistent with the Catholic church. The board should only have goals that are consistent with Catholic faith and doctrinal rights."

The battle for GSAs began in January when the Halton Catholic District School Board banned the groups, which are stipulated as requirements by the Ministry of Education in its equity policy.

Roman Catholic schools have repeatedly denied students’ requests for GSAs, saying supports are already in place and church doctrine condemns gay sex as “sinful and immoral.” One example of the “supports” given to gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans students is the community group Courage International, an organization that claims to “cure gays.”

In March, members of the GSA at Mississauga’s St Joseph Catholic Secondary School were blocked from forming any group with the word “gay” in the title.

Then, this summer, a letter from a priest representing Toronto’s Coptic Christian community threatened to pull thousands of students from TCDSB classrooms if homosexuality is taught in schools in any way.


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Comments

TDCSB must be eliminated
I agree with Jason. Religion = child abuse PLUS abuse against women. I am also a woman, a mother. My daughter's life was ruined by one "public figure" of the TDCSB. That "public figure" hurt me, the mother, so much that I exposed the bastard on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZidQ36GALo and on several liars, cheaters, and bastards websites.

I understand that for a teacher to get a job at the TDCSB he/she must get two references from local priests to the fact that he/she regularly attends masses. The character of the individual does not seem to border anyone - apart from the fact that .. what can any 'priest' to say into the hiring process of a school funded by taxpayers? THIS IS CALLED DISCRIMINATION IN MY LANGUAGE!

Toronto Catholic District School Board has to be eliminated and all of them must be fired for amorality.

I would not be surprised if that individual whom I exposed on YouTube and on liars, cheaters, bastards websites, would have a computer full of pornography or even be having some child pornography in one of his apartments.
But his employer is not concern with the amorality of this employee as long as he attends masses every Sunday.
They can opt out of public funding
The Catholic School Boards should either voluntarily opt out of public school funding or have it rescinded.

People have the right to believe anything they want - no sweat off my brow - it is irrelevant to my life. However, people do NOT have the right in the name of whatever belief system they follow,to ignore the law if they are getting tax dollars. Discrimination should never be tolerated- ever. GSA's provide a safe haven for students who otherwise, would not have someone to talk to or to lean on. They are not part of some mythical "homosexual agenda" - no such thing exists except in the minds of some religious folk who seem to be afraid of anything that looks, smells, or is remotely "other".

Adults should be modelling the behaviour they expect from their children - by insisting on institutionalizing discrimination and fear adults are stifling personal growth, compassion, and understanding.

If the Catholic School Board and its minions feel that strongly then opt out of public funding and fund yourselves - until then obey the laws as set out for publicly funded schools.

I say people choose one or the other - public funds means following the rules and regulations that all schools must follow.

Molly
No anti-homosexual screams
"Meanwhile, anti-gay screams and shouts echoed from the gallery." I attended the meeting and did not hear any anti-homosexual screams. There were definitely some shouts during the meeting, but they were directed at the trustees who ignored the wishes of most of those who attended the meeting.
Does your religion require you to tell lies?
"Bill", I find it fascinating that every single one of your comments contains at least one easily verifiable lie.

*1. "Catholic schools in Alberta pay for themselves. That's a lie. They are publicly funded.

*2. "The duplication costs of Ontario's Catholic system is less than $80 million." That's a lie.

*3. "On your taxes you decide which schools you want to support". That's a lie. The check-boxes on your property tax forms have Nothing to do with directing your property tax dollars to this system or that.

*4. "There is no discrimination going on here." LOL.

*5. "Newfoundland has a multi-denominational Christian school system." Bill, have you bothered reading a newspaper in the last decade? Newfoundland has no more publicly funded religious schools of any stripe. There was a referendum (2, in fact), and the people of NFLD, who are mostly Catholic, chose to do away with public funding for religious schools. Think about that.
What's the issue?
Using religion as a cloak for acts of discrimination and hate...that won't get out of hand. Right?
And the expansive flood
begins. Meanwhile in Dullard Land, all the young pansies, who believe they are just like the mediocre straights with equal rights (whatever) are asleep at the wheel, when in fact they should be taking to the streets like their elders did. Oh well....and so it begins.
Catholic system duplication costs
"What is spent on duplicating a school board is peanuts compared to elective abortions."

Bill tells us that elective abortions cost Canada $80 million a year, and that this figure is far greater than what the Ontario public pays in duplication costs to run a parallel Catholic school system. Bill, you're wrong, by a factor of about 15. The duplication costs are closer to $1 billion per year.

The fact is, we don't have an exact figure because the government doesn't publish such figures (wonder why?), nor does it make it easy to determine them for oneself. However, we can say some things with certainty.

Activist Renton Patterson wrote to the Province in the early 90s asking about the duplication costs of extending public funding beyond grade 10 (the result of 1985's Bill-30). Here's the answer: $200 million. Here it is on Ministry letterhead: http://i.imgur.com/4zQYg.jpg .

Given that there are more elementary school administrators (board offices, etc.) than secondary school administrators, the duplication costs likely exceed $1 billion 1991 dollars.

Which is somewhat higher than the $80 million Bill keeps quoting.
re: Protect all rights
Compare the 80 mmillion a year spent on elective abortions.Talk about a burden on the government and that's not just Ontario. It's across the board. What is spent on duplicating a school board is peanuts compared to elective abortions.
re: Protect all rights
"If Catholic tax payers in Canada have to fund abortions, then I think there can be some leeway with the schools." So our taxes pay for a medical procedure that your religious beliefs don't agree with? So what, those are merely your religious beliefs. What is it with 'christians' or any other brainwashed cult follower and their inability to understand people who do not follow such nonsense? Wake up, grow up, and start being a thinking human being, not a mindless cult follower. For Christ's sake."

Most are ELECTIVE surgery. I'm not brainwashed, but I am unable to understand the murder of kids.
re: Protect all rights
"If Catholic tax payers in Canada have to fund abortions, then I think there can be some leeway with the schools."

So our taxes pay for a medical procedure that your religious beliefs don't agree with? So what, those are merely your religious beliefs. What is it with 'christians' or any other brainwashed cult follower and their inability to understand people who do not follow such nonsense?

Wake up, grow up, and start being a thinking human being, not a mindless cult follower. For Christ's sake.

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