I heard something on the radio this morning that really raised my ire. The Catholic school board in Toronto has expelled two students because their parents were lesbians. Their statement on the matter essentially said that they feel it is necessary to remove people from their school board who do not conform to the church's ideals of behaviour. Specifically in this case they only condone sex when it is within a marriage and heterosexual in nature. I was completely boggled by the fact that the Catholic school board was actually pretending that this was the ruleset they used: How many times have children been removed from schools because their parents had sex with someone with whom they were not married?
This news had a strange effect on me. On one hand it just enraged me that we have publicly funded schools in my city that base their policies on religion dogma, but on the other hand me getting worked up about that isn't going to change anything. It is widely accepted that having a Catholic school board but no other school boards for any other religion is against much of what Canada stands for. All religions are treated equally in this country in theory, but in practice one religion in particular is treated differently when it comes to education.
The problems with the Catholic school board are several: First, that Catholic schools are publicly funded. There are schools out there for other religions but they are private institutions. I certainly don't like the idea of religious indoctrination in any form but having one particular group be supported by the government is wretched indeed. Secondly the Catholic ideals are supported in ways that can only be explained by homophobia. Respect of one's parents is far more centrally enshrined in the Bible and yet people who are rude to their parents are not expelled. The Bible has many other rules laid down that are not enforced, such as a total lack of work on the Sabbath or cleansing rituals after menstruation. This is not a set of rules derived from the Bible at all, but rather simply desperate need to control how and when people use their genitals.
Catholic school boards in Canada should go. Certainly the alternative of providing special school boards for every single religion in the country is often raised, but it is both completely infeasible and even less palatable. Public services that the government supplies to everyone should not be based on religion and especially should not discriminate based on the lifestyle of people who aren't even directly involved. Getting rid of them will be a exceedingly difficult task however since no politician is willing to take on the task of actually removing the Catholic from the school board. Anyone who did this would risk the wrath of churches and Catholic voters and risks getting little in return. It is a sad state of affairs indeed.