Saturday, December 31, 2011

Message for the 45th world day of peace: the heart of a true education

Pope Benedict offers the world a timely message for Jan. 1, 2012, the 45th World Day of Peace. The theme is "Educating Young People in Justice and Peace". The Pope reminds the adult world of the need to realize and to help in the crucial role young people have in building the common good. He also affirms the importance of a society based on God, justice and peace in order that true human rights can be lived fully. I urge all parents, students, educators, trustees, school board officials and those in government to read the entire message. If you care about the education of children, you will certainly want to read it. What follows are merely some of my observations.

To achieve true human freedom and peace, the Pope focuses on the education of a new generation. A true education for children cannot reject religion, morality and God. He warns parents and educators about the dangers of relativism, particularly in schools and the media. My interpretation: Parents must protect their children from socially constructed policies like the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy; they have the responsibility to guide with love each child who is created in the image of God to find,

“Deep within his conscience, man discovers a law that he did not lay upon himself, but which he must obey. Its voice calls him to love and to do what is good, to avoid evil and to take responsibility for the good he does and the evil he commits. Thus, the exercise of freedom is intimately linked to the natural moral law, which is universal in character, expresses the dignity of every person and forms the basis of fundamental human rights and duties: consequently, in the final analysis, it forms the basis for just and peaceful coexistence. The right use of freedom, then, is central to the promotion of justice and peace, which require respect for oneself and others."

The Pope says, unlike the propaganda we are getting from the Ministry of Education and our Liberal premier, parents are the first educators of their children. Parents, not the state or schools, have the baptismal duty to teach their children about sexuality, the dignity of being human, the family and other moral values. The Pope makes it clear: "Where does true education in peace and justice take place? First of all, in the family, since parents are the first educators. … The family is the first school in which we are trained in justice and peace."

At a time in Ontario when a religious education is under attack by our provincial government and even our Catholic school boards, the Pope is not afraid to remind us that the moral dimension must be at the heart of truly educating the young,

"Man is a being who bears within his heart a thirst for the infinite, a thirst for truth--a truth which is not partial but capable of explaining life's meaning--since he was created in the image and likeness of God. ... Hence the first step in education is learning to recognize the Creator's image in man, and consequently learning to have a profound respect for every human being. Only in relation to God does man come to understand also the meaning of human freedom.”

A true Education cannot exclude God. Justice is formed by a moral law so that one's conscience must by necessity promote peace. For this to happen, parents need to reclaim their right to educate their children in religious and moral matters. In the words of the Pope each child hears,

"Its voice calls him to love and to do what is good, to avoid evil and to take responsibility for the good he does and the evil he commits. Thus, the exercise of freedom is intimately linked to the natural moral law, which is universal in character, expresses the dignity of every person and forms the basis of fundamental human rights and duties: consequently, in the final analysis, it forms the basis for just and peaceful coexistence. The right use of freedom, then, is central to the promotion of justice and peace, which require respect for oneself and others."

True human freedom recognizes that peace and justice can be achieved when we put God at the centre of our families and “we educate ourselves in compassion, solidarity, working together, fraternity, in being active within the community.” There's no higher calling, work of charity or better education when the only aim is to help children save their souls in order to give glory to God. The Pope in his wisdom offers parents the ultimate lesson plan for life. What a great idea as we enter the Year of Faith, to make this our goal and for our children's sake, our main resolution for the New Year. A blessed 2012 to everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A blessed and holy Christmas to everyone

(Note to our readers: With this entry, Everyday for Life Canada will take a Christmas break and return in the New Year. We wish you all a holy and blessed Christmas. Happy New Year to everyone!)

In his Christmas Message of 1959, Pope John XXIII offered a very insightful statement about achieving peace: His address urges us to work for peace of the heart, in our social relations and in the international sphere. At the time, the world was concerned about the build up of nuclear arms and that the crisis could lead to the destruction of the planet. The Pope's observations continue to be just as relevant today because the obstacles to peace, human malice and greed, remain the same. For human beings to experience a true conversion to peace, they must put Christ at the centre of their lives. I hope you read the entire statement. Here's a brief selection of the message:

"Peace is a gift of God beyond compare. Likewise, it is the object of man's highest desire. It is moreover indivisible. None of the lineaments which make up its unmistakable appearance can be ignored or excluded.

"In addition, since the men of our time have not completely carried into effect the conditions of peace, the result has been that God's paths toward peace have no meeting point with those of man. Hence there is the abnormal situation of this postwar period which has created, as it were, two blocs with all their uneasy conditions. There is not a state of war, but neither is there peace, the thing which the nations ardently desire.

"At all times, because true peace is indivisible in its various aspects, it will not succeed in establishing itself on the social and international planes unless it is also, and in the first place, an interior fact. This requires then before all else—it is necessary to repeat—'men of good will.' These are precisely those to whom the angels of Bethlehem announced peace: 'Peace among men of good will.' (Luke 2:14). Indeed they alone can give reality to the conditions contained in the definition of peace given by St. Thomas: The ordered harmony of citizens and therefore order and harmony.

"But how will true peace be able to put forth the two-fold blossom of order and concord if the persons who hold positions of public responsibility, before selecting the advantages and risks of their decisions, fail to recognize themselves as persons subject to the eternal moral laws?

"It will be necessary again and again to remove from the path the obstacles placed by the malice of man. And the presence of these obstacles is noted in the propaganda of immorality, in social injustice, in forced unemployment, in poverty contrasted with the luxury of those who can indulge in dissipation, in the dreadful lack of proportion between the technical and moral progress of nations, and in the unchecked armaments race, where there has yet to be a glimpse of a serious possibility of solving the problem of disarmament."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Make sure your family and friends see this life-saving video

A doctor friend of mine from Ottawa sent me the link to the video posted with this blog entry. She received it from a relative of hers who lives in the Czech Republic. The video, according to the makers, has saved many lives because it encourages viewers to refrain from drinking and driving. It was actually started in Victoria, Australia by TCA, the Transport Accident Commission. The group's aim is to educate the public about the personal costs of dangerous driving practices. These risky behaviours include speeding and drunk driving.

Christmas is the time when people get together to have parties. It's a time when we all want to enjoy the spirit of friendship, family and love. We celebrate at work with Christmas parties. We get together with our friends and families. We have parties with those in our parish. There will be huge festivities in the City of Toronto, and the world over, for New Year's Eve. There will be parties for Christmas Day and Christmas' Eve. Teenagers too at this time of the year will have many parties and nights out. And we know at many of these festivities alcoholic beverages are served. Sadly, some will drink too much alcohol and then proceed to drive home and some regrettably end up getting into a serious or even deadly accident.

The good doctor urged me in her email to write about this issue. She said every school board should show this video to high school students in an effort to warn them of the terrible dangers in mixing drinking and driving. Parents should watch this video with their teenagers especially if they have a driver's licence. The video is a warning to all of us who want to protect life and avoid the suffering, pain and loss of loved ones from alcohol related deaths on the roads during Christmas, the New Year and everyday of the year. The true spirt of Christmas is not to be found in any bottle or car ride. We can all help to save lives by behaving, driving and drinking responsibly. By showing respect for ourselves and others, whether we are at parties or on the road, we are doing our part in living a good Christian life.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we find this teaching under the heading of Respect for Health: "The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others' safety on the road, at sea, or in the air." (2290)


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You cannot legislate love, care and acceptance into existence

It seems that in the province of Ontario for the last three years the Liberal government, with the help of the other parties, has tried to convince its citizens that love, respect and care of children in schools can be made real with policy/program memoranda such as the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy. They are currently trying to do the same thing with Bill 13.

Here's what the government thinks it can legislate into being:

"We envision an inclusive education system in Ontario in which: all students, parents, and other members of the school community are welcomed and respected; every student is supported and inspired to succeed in a culture of high expectations for learning. To achieve an equitable and inclusive school climate, school boards and schools will strive to ensure that all members of the school community feel safe, comfortable, and accepted. We want all staff and students to value diversity and to demonstrate respect for others and a commitment to establishing a just, caring society." (Ontario's Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, Page 10)

Everybody knows full well, however, that you cannot legislate into being care, support and acceptance of others. Love of neighbour is a gift. It's gift freely given by people and received from God. What is the government going to do next? Bring out a "Thought Bill" to legislate which thoughts are permissible and which are not? This would be both absurd and evil. And yet the government is attempting to do just that: control people's thinking and feelings with coercive laws. You cannot police how people feel towards each other and what values they hold to be sacred. It's the prevailing illusion these days that kings and queens of old could not, but modern governments can bring goodwill, respect and acceptance among the citizenry and in the schools by fiat alone. That power I'm afraid belongs to God and God alone; the very being these policies and legislation fail to recognize.

When we closely examines Equity and Inclusive Education, we find that it's really not so inclusive and just after all, especially if you happen to be Christian and believe in God. Here's why: It sees no need for God. It rejects Catholic and Christian beliefs about human sexuality, the meaning of marriage and life itself. It excludes Christians and all those who believe in the God of the Old Testament. It rejects anybody who defines a family as a mom and a dad and children; it excludes all those who believe in traditional marriage. The policy instructs teachers to violate parental rights. It's prepared to expel students from school if they don't accept homosexuality and dozens of other manufactured sexual orientations. How can this rejection of others ever create a just, caring and equitable school environment? How will this divisive policy help establish for children a safe and secure learning atmosphere? Laws will never turn lies into truths.

In my blog entry, "The best speech to guide the world for the 21st century" given on September 22, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI addressed Germany's lower house of Parliament, the Bundestag. The speech is titled, "The Listening Heart: Reflections on the Foundations of Law." His conclusion is relevant here: "As he assumed the mantle of office, the young King Solomon was invited to make a request. How would it be if we, the law-makers of today, were invited to make a request? What would we ask for? I think that, even today, there is ultimately nothing else we could wish for but a listening heart – the capacity to discern between good and evil, and thus to establish true law, to serve justice and peace. I thank you for your attention!"

In the recent laws legislated and proposed in education in Ontario that's exactly what's missing: the "listening heart", laws that "serve justice and peace" and that "discern between good and evil." This very heart is absent in the Equity policy, in Bill 157 and in Bill 13. They are laws without a true foundation.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thank God Andrea Bocelli's mother didn't believe in abortion

Just days ago, on Dec. 8, we celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception; we marked what is humanities greatest yes to life. It was the supreme yes to life because the Blessed Mother welcomed both human and divine life into our fallen world. She allowed herself to let the Word become flesh. Her will was completely in tune with God's will; she was ready to give birth to the Son of God. The Blessed Virgin gives all of us the perfect example of being the perfect witness to life, to faith and to the Word.

We shudder to think of what would have happened to human history had she said no to the angel Gabriel. Christmas would not just lose its meaning, it wouldn't exit. Easter would not have been be possible. What would have happened to our very redemption? Her eternal yes to the Word of Eternal Life should inspire us to say yes to life because it makes human redemption possible. We owe so much to our Blessed Mother. Here's the ultimate example of service for the love of God. Our Blessed Mother was the first human being to truly build for humanity a culture of life, family and of love.

In this context of being open to life, listen to the moving testimony of the great international tenor, Andrea Bocelli, as he humbly tells us how grateful he is that his mother believed in life and didn't have an abortion. He's with us today because his mother refused to terminate the pregnancy. Yes, Andrea I'm sure we're all happy that your mother didn't listen to the doctors who advised her to kill the child. She said yes to your life and we are all better because she chose life, your life. She too listened to the Holy Spirit. I will let the video featuring Andrea explain all this in his own words.



Now watch and hear Andrea as he sings this beautiful and touching Ave Maria.



Surely the world is a little better because a mother welcomed God's gift of life to the world in the name of Andrea Bocelli. Thank God for God's gift of life and for all those say no to abortion. We pray that one day soon the culture of abortion, the culture of death in Canada will be replaced by a culture of life. May the Blessed Mother's magnificat be our guide in building this culture of light and life. And surely this the true story of Advent and of the coming of Christmas: to say YES to the newborn Baby Jesus.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tell Premier McGuinty and the Liberals to withdraw Bill 13

(This is the letter I've sent to our Premier, Dalton McGuinty and to my MPP Laura Albanese.)

Dear Premier,

Bill 13 openly threatens religious freedom and violates parental rights. We don't need another law to combat bullying. I urge you to immediately withdraw or amend this unnecessary Bill. We don't want another piece of misguided legislation. We already have many regulations in place both in Public and Catholic schools to fight bullying. Parents want you to protect their rights in education. Bill 13 will not protect religious rights and so it opens the door to legally teach our children values about sexuality and the family that are at odds with Christian values.

This Bill will not bring harmony or improve safety and security in our schools. The sad irony is that a policy named Equity and inclusive Education has actually brought division and criticism among parents and school officials. Please do the right thing and scrap this proposed law.

Thank you,
Lou Iacobelli

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here's my argument and that of many other parents in this province as to why Bill 13 is not needed and should be shredded before it becomes law in Ontario.

Some pertinent background information (For the following summary, I'm indebted to Dr. Charles McVety, President of the Institute for Canadian Values. I thank him and his organization for the work they are doing to inform citizens about the serious harm the Equity Policy and Bill 13 will unleash in Ontario education.)

Last week Ontario’s Premier Dalton McGuinty proposed in the legislature Bill 13. This Bill if it becomes law, will see an amendment to the Education Act. The new law is needed, according to the Liberals, to combat bullying in schools by implementing the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy. We all agree that bullying is a serious threat to children and must be combated with strong, stiff programs and penalties. Children’s safety and security demands that we do all that we can to end bullying. However, the Premier is merely using Bill 13 to legislate into law the Equity policy. This is the government's way of changing human sexuality by legalizing the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) agenda and the meaning of family.

The anti-bullying Bill 13, if passed, will have the force of law to make teachers in both Public and Catholic schools teach the acceptance and normalization of the LBGT lifestyle. This is part of the curriculum coming from the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy.

In addition, Bill 13 Section 2. (1) Paragraph 29.1 of subsection 8 (1) of the Education Act will be replaced by the Equity and Inclusive Education. This Section 29.1 will require all boards, Public and Catholic, "to develop and implement an Equity and Inclusive Education Policy, and, if required by the Minister, submit the policy to the Minister and implement changes to the policy as directed by the Minister."

All boards must establish gay/straight alliances/clubs in both Public and Catholic schools. Moreover, Bill 13 Section 9, under Board support for certain pupil activities and organizations, we find:

303.1 "Every board shall support pupils who want to establish and lead,
(a) "activities or organizations that promote gender equity;
(b) "activities or organizations that promote anti-racism;
(c) "activities or organizations that promote the awareness and understanding of, and respect for, people with disabilities; or
(d) "activities or organizations that promote the awareness and understanding of, and respect for, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, including organizations with the name gay-straight alliance or another name."

The new legislation will force Christian churches or any other groups renting school property to adhere to the Equity Policy. Bill 13 under Section 7 (2) dealing with agreements with third parties' use of schools states:

(3.1) "If a board enters into an agreement with another person or entity, other than a board, respecting the use of a school operated by the board, the board shall include in the agreement a requirement that the person or entity follow standards that are consistent with the code of conduct."

Bill 13 will only serve to legalize the social engineering experiment on Ontario’s children under the pretence of protecting them from bullying. There is no evidence that forcing all schools, Public and Catholic, to implement and teach the Equity policy such as establishing gay clubs will stop bullying. This approach is not based on sound pedagogical practices, but mere political propaganda. Yes, we are all "equal" with the Equity policy, except that some are more "equal" than others. In fact, it's a clear case of the minority dictating and controlling the majority. Our schools already have rules and procedures in place to combat bullying, racism and discrimination of any kind.

We must not subject children to the agenda of political correctness. Parents need to speak out and let the Premier know that they want Bill 13 cancelled.

Please act to protect children and here are some suggestions:

1. Call Premier McGuinty at 416-325-1941;

2. Send Premier McGuinty an email to amend or better to withdraw Bill 13 by clicking here. Send a copy to your Ontario MPP;

3. Sign the Petition at www.stopcorruptingchildren.com.

Only by working together can we stop this radical social experiment being legislated on innocent children. Please do let the politicians know your concerns about Bill 13 before it's too late. Do spread the word.

Here are two other useful links:

Bill 13 http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=2549

The Resource Guide for the Equity and Inclusive Curriculum for the Toronto District School Board, http://word.ca/TDSB%20Equity%20%20Inclusive%20Curriculum%20-%20See%20page%2010%20!.pdf

Friday, December 9, 2011

St. Marcellin Champagnat: Let the saints guide our Catholic teaching and education

This morning I was fortunate to have been invited to be part of the Day of Reflection held at St. Augustine of Canterbury Church for teachers from two schools in the Toronto Catholic District Board School Board: St. Charles Garnier and St. Augustine.

The day was given over to thinking about the educational strategies used by St. Marcellin Champagnat. His Feast day is June 6, and he's the Patron of Education and Teachers. In 1955, Marcellin Champagnat was declared Blessed by Pope Pius XII. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on April 18, 1999. What follows is some biographical information about St. Marcellin. After that, I will give my brief summary of the day's thoughts and ideas.

"In 1816, the newly ordained Marcellin Champagnat, consecrated to Mary, felt a personal call by God to found a religious community of Brothers that would bring the message of Jesus' love to neglected young people. Today his passionate spirit, daring vision and persistent work are embodied in the mission of Marist Brothers living on five continents.

"On October 28, 1816, three months after his ordination, Marcellin was called to the Montagne home where 16 year old Jean-Baptiste Montagne was dying. As Marcellin prepared to hear the confession of Jean-Baptiste, he realized that the young man had little religious or academic education. It occurred to Marcellin that Jean-Baptiste was one of many young people victimized by lack of education during and after the French Revolution.

"Six months after his ordination, Marcellin founded the religious community, 'The Marist Brothers of the Schools' (also known as 'The Little Brothers of Mary') to make known, through their lives and service, the love of Jesus and Mary - especially where access to love and support, education and catechism was remote.

"For himself and his Brothers, Marcellin wished 'goods which are more solid and real' than material possessions. He said of his community's mission that they were to 'serve God with fervor, to fulfill faithfully all the duties of our state, to work every day to detach our heart from creatures in order to give it to Jesus and Mary, to open it to all the movements of grace." The Brothers would find their glory, Marcellin said, in their efforts "to imitate and follow Jesus Christ,' guided and strengthened by the Spirit. In all their being and work among the young, they were "to make Jesus Christ known and loved.

"A man of deep prayer, Marcellin was grounded in a loving community. His devotion to the love of God, Mary, and his Brothers inspired him to a universal mission. The Marist Brothers were known for their family spirit and simple Gospel way of being fully present to each other and all people. Their schools multiplied at a fast pace - almost a dozen a year, and by the turn of the century, the Marist Brothers had accepted invitations from many countries around the world."

The pastor, Fr. Daniel Mentesana, began by going through a power-point presentation on the teaching of St. Marcellin Champagnat in order to answer the question of the day: "What does it mean to educate a child?" A central point in everything the saint taught was the idea that teachers are primarily there to help children save their souls by living virtuous lives.

Once you get students used to practising good Christian habits like prayer and participating in the sacraments of confession and communion, living out their confirmation and baptismal call, you will soon have good and holy children of faith. The evangelical mission is to recognize and address in both teachers and students their "need for salvation, death, judgment, heaven, hell, eternity, sin, the commandments of God and of the Church, the life of Jesus Christ, his mysteries, his virtues, his sufferings, what he did for our salvation, the sacraments he instituted, the abundant redemption he acquired for us, what we must do to apply it to ourselves and to bear worthily our identity as God’s children, in order to merit the eternal glory which has been destined for us and which Jesus went on ahead to prepare for us."

I then spoke about my experience in teaching students who didn't attend regular school programs. These were students not living at home, but they were housed in group homes. They had experienced difficult lives of abuse and neglect. Most of them were severely depressed, had spent time in jail and often had engaged in very risky behaviours. I spent over ten years teaching these students who were in the Care and Treatment section run by the Catholic Children's Aid Society and the Toronto Catholic Board. I used this experience to tell the teachers that I learned one main lesson while working with students at risk: in order to really teach any of the curriculum, students needed to know that the teacher cared for them. This is the important lesson of love the students taught me. They were looking to be loved, accepted and respected. The teaching of St. John Bosco, Saint Francis de Sales, St. John Baptist De La salle, St. Thomas Aquinas and all the other great Christian educators made this truth central to their vocation as teachers: love your students to the point where they know that you and God loves them.

The Day of Reflection concluded with the Holy Mass and a meal. Fr. Gustavo Campo gave the teachers a wonderful homily about bringing the love and the truth of Baby Jesus to the classroom. So like The Magi, teachers too need to bring through their vocation gifts to Jesus of sacrifice and love. In turn, God's love and wisdom will inspire and guide their work as educators. Teachers can take the Gospel message of hope and love in working with children. In doing this, they will sanctify their lives as educators and those of their students in this earthly pilgrimage to emulate the saints.

The last thought goes to St. Marcellin: "To raise children, we must love them and love them equally. I cannot see a child without wanting to tell them how much God loves them. Let there be among you just one heart and one mind. Let it always be said of the Little Brothers of Mary as it was of the early Christians: See how they love one another!" Amen to that!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bill 13: It's bullying against parental rights and religious freedom

Today I attended a press conference at Queen's Park that the mainstream media will probably report little or nothing about it. Everyday for Life Canada thinks it's important for Christians and all Ontarians to know what happened. Dalton McGuinty's Liberal government continues to stand behind Bill 13, the recently proposed anti-bullying legislation and the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy. However, representatives of the Christian, Catholic and Jewish communities made it very clear at the press conference thas Bill 13 is an attack on traditional family values.

All the speakers strongly agreed that school bullies must be stopped, but they can't condone a requirement under the legislation proposed to deal with it that schools promote sexual acceptance through gay/straight clubs. The new law will make it possible for school authorities to expel students who are considered bullies. This is the severest punishment that schools can give a student and in all likelihood it will end a student's education.

Dr. Charles McVety, of the Institute for Canadian Values said, “To force, especially Christian classrooms or schools, to have homosexual clubs would of course be an affront to their family values. And what does this have to do with bullying? Nothing.” The problem of bullying is being used to advance “his (Premier McGuity) radical sex education agenda.” He added, “When you are forcing teachers, Christian teachers, Jewish teachers, Muslim teachers, to teach things that are contrary to the values that they hold, to teach that there are six genders and that you are not attached to the gender of your anatomy, do you not find that may be an offence to a lot of Ontarians?”

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan of Chabad Flamingo Synagogue in Toronto said that the anti-bullying bill is to make schools inclusive and tolerant of gay lifestyles and this is offensive to many families. He said, "Let me be clear, we strongly support the need to protect our children from bullies. What we cannot, in good conscience, support is a law that calls on those of us of faith – be it Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu or others to abandon beliefs considered sacred ---- all in the name of political correctness."

Jack Fonseca from Campaign Life Coalition said that government could face a mass exodus of children from public and separate schools. He stated, “There's radical, radical stuff in there, all of this agenda on gender identity and facilitating the questioning of a child's gender and all this other sex-driven stuff that's clearly coming from activists. It's not coming from parents' consultations. It was drafted with consultations by radical activist groups.”

Dr. Rondo Thomas from the Evangelical Association was concerned because many Evangelical Churches rent school auditoriums from school boards for their religious services. The proposed law would require any group entering an agreement to use school facilities to comply with the new code of conduct. So if a pastor is holding a service on school property and preaches on issues of sexuality based on the scriptures he could be in breach of Bill 13 and this restricts religious freedom. He said, "The anti-bullying legislation that Mr. McGuinty is proposing constitutes a violation of our religious freedom that is guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Further, to that it is a violation of the common-law of separation of church and state."

Education Minister Laurel Broten has responded that the comments made by these religious representatives are “homophobic,” and her role is make sure that every school welcomes all students, regardless of their sexual orientation. In her words, “There's absolutely nothing radical about working hard as a community to make sure that every single student in our schools can be safe and accepted and succeed.”

Mr. McGuinty fully supports the idea that Catholic schools will be required to have a gay-straight alliance. The Premier has said, “I fully expect that Catholic kids are going to use the word 'gay'. I fully expect that Catholic teachers are going to use the word gay, and as a Catholic premier of Ontario I'm going to be talking about gay kids.” The New Democrats have said that for anti-bullying legislation to be effective the ruling government must force Catholic schools to use the name gay-straight alliance for clubs that promote sexual tolerance.

Here we go again with more lies and deception. Here you have a government saying it doesn't matter who the press conference speakers represent and what they believe. We the government know better. We will force parents through legislation to accept our views about the very meaning of human sexuality, the family and religious freedom. In other words, there's no choice. There's a dark irony here: this is bullying and discrimination coming from a government that claims to be inclusive and equitable. They are inclusive and diverse, but only if you agree with them. Bill 13 is a rejection of religious freedom and a violation of parental rights. We need to tell Mr. McGuinty that he immediately withdraw Bill 13. We don't want and don't need this misguided legislation. We do want our parental rights in education. We do want to exercise our religious rights and teach our children our values when it comes to sexuality, the family and the church.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Parental rights continue to be violated in Ontario schools

The media in Ontario was quick to make Bill 13 a main issue in the news for the last few days. You have heard the message before: we need the law to combat bullying in schools. What the news left out is that the government and most of the mainstream media are now aggressively promoting, protecting and supporting laws to advance the homosexual lifestyle. In Ontario, we already have the Safe Schools Act and Bill 157 to fight bullying of any kind. But that isn't enough for this government. So we are told we need the proposed Bill 13 to do even more of the same: make sure the law protects and eventually graphically teaches about, tolerates, accepts, celebrates and promotes about a dozen sexual orientations in all schools. This week the new legislation passed the first reading at Queen's Park. In other words, we are all equal but those with same sex attraction issues are more equal.

In another blog entry titled, "When governments violate parental rights, we need to fight back", I wrote about the importance of using democratic solutions to defend these rights. One of these democratic ways is to use the courts. New evidence has surfaced recently that ought to urge all Christians and people of goodwill to help this initiative become a reality.

Just recently one teacher from a Toronto Catholic school informed us that the staff has been instructed to formally make a report of any incident of bullying based on sexual orientation. Disciplinary action will be taken based on such a report. There are no exceptions to this rule; the Equity Policy and Bill 157 are to be enforced. The report will then be filed in the student's OSR, an official document called the Ontario School Record which follows the student throughout his educational/work life. Here's what the media didn't report anything about. Parental rights in education continue to be violated. The Liberals carry on enacting laws, such as Bill 157, that permit the violation of parental rights, and schools boards are only too eager to do the bidding of a government that pays their wages.

Parents are not to be consulted. This has created a school atmosphere of fear and mistrust because not all teachers are comfortable with this harsh and legalistic approach. Moreover, the law forces Catholic teachers and parents to support a teaching on sexuality that the Church rejects. What has happened to the parental rights in all this? Why are Christians forced to accept a law that openly discriminates against what their faith teaches? Parents are the primary educators of their children, not the government or the school.

In another school, a gay/straight alliance assembly was held to tell all students that if anybody had a problem accepting the homosexual lifestyle they were simply wrong. A guest speaker went on to address the students about how he was assaulted and made fun of when he was in school because he was gay. He then made an argument that what the Bible teaches on many subjects is relative. The speaker used the analogy that in the Old Testament, for not keeping Sunday holy or for drunkenness, the punishment was death. In addition, the students were told that today nobody believes that therefore any Biblical teaching about homosexuality is so outdated and wrong that the time has come to get rid of such obsolete ideas. The clear aim of such a ridiculous analogy was to ridicule and discredit Christian teaching. The implication is that Christian beliefs are archaic and untrue. There are so many distortions in what students were told, but again it's a clear case of the violation of parental rights and the denial of freedom of conscience and religion. How far must this parental injustice go before we are prepared to fight back?

What can we do? Certainly parents must get informed and involved about what is happening in the schools, at the boards and in our government, in order to protect their rights in education. However, we must also push back and exercise our legal rights. If you agree with this, I ask you to support The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund. I do not like to do this, but I feel it's both important and timely in order to protect our Christian and parental rights.

Who we are?

The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund.

What are our goals?

A) to provide financial assistance, on a discretionary basis, to individuals and other organizations who are parties in legal proceedings in which the rights of parents and/or their children in education, including, but not limited to, the right to the freedom of religion, are at issue. Such financial assistance shall be limited to defraying the legal expenses they incur as participants in a legal case;

B) to raise donations from the public and manage the resulting funds for the purpose described above.

Who can get financial/legal help?


The association's purpose is to help parents, students and teachers whose rights have been violated. This of course will be done based on the Fund's financial possibilities.

What are the main issues?

A) Violation of Parental rights
B) Religious Freedom
C) Sanctity of Life
D) Marriage and Family

What can you do to make a difference?

A) Get the word out
B) Get informed
C) Start a campaign to help us
D) Pray
E) Donate/Join Us
F) Any other suggestions/ideas?

Contact information

www.DefendingParents.com

We need to work together and speak to trustees, board/school administrators, bishops, priests, politicians and the media to express our concerns if we hope to change the legislated moral problems in our schools. In addition, if you agree with taking legal action and you have already made a donation, we thank you; if not, please consider supporting the fund so that Christians can exercise their legal and democratic rights.