ICYMI – ‘You can’t just pick and choose’: Alberta Christian school fights board request to remove ‘offensive’ scripture

Would Carpay defend a Muslim school that used some of the Koranic versus that endorse violence? He appears to argue for no limits:

CCA — a public K-12 school in Kingman, a hamlet with a population of 103 about an hour outside of Edmonton — has retained the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom (JCCF), a conservative legal organization dedicated to “defend(ing) the constitutional freedoms of Canadians through litigation and education.”

“Trustees enjoy the legal right to send their own kids to various schools that align with the parents’ beliefs and convictions. But these trustees have no right to impose their own ideology on schools they disagree with,” John Carpay, president of the JCCF, said in a statement.

Skori sent an email earlier this year asking Wargel to remove a bible verse on immorality from the school’s statement of faith. She also asked that they remove the word “quality” from the phrase “CCA offers quality educational programming.”

CCA agreed to remove “quality” and the passage from 1 Corinthians, which states: “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

“The specific reference and the word quality were not a big issue,” Margel said. “Out of respect of the relationship we’ve had with them, we can say ‘okay, this isn’t the key point here.’”

But Skori followed up, saying that “any scripture that could be considered offensive to particular individuals should not be read or studied in school.” She clarified in a separate email, “For example: any teachings that denigrate or vilify someone’s sexual orientation.”

“That’s a completely different directive, and it was shocking. Absolutely shocking,” Margel said.

BRSD spokesperson Diane Hutchinson said the board felt compelled to make the request after protections for gender and sexual minorities were added to the Alberta Human Rights Act in late 2015.

“In our province there is a heightened awareness and a heightened sensitivity” around LGBTQ issues, she said, downplaying concerns of censorship.

“It appears that someone who was involved in the conversation had taken a small piece of the conversation and used it to raise an alarm about the potential for interference,” she said.

CCA approached JCCF a couple of months ago for advice on the situation, after which the JCCF sent an eight-page letter to the school board outlining what it says is an “unwarranted and unrealistic” prohibition.

“The government’s duty of neutrality, required by the Supreme Court of Canada, means that a school board cannot dictate whether verses in the Torah, Koran, New Testament or Guru Granth Sahib are acceptable,” Carpay said in a statement.

Less than eight hours after the letter was sent, Margel says she got an email back reaffirming the board’s position.

“How can you come to that conclusion in less than eight hours?” she said.

Alberta funnels public funding into “alternative schools” like CCA, which emphasize a particular language, culture, religion or subject. Each alternative school is offered through an Alberta school board. In CCA’s case, this involves a Master Agreement between the school and the BRSD, under which the board agreed not to meddle in the “essential nature” of the school’s programming.

Hate mail is flowing, misinformation and fear-mongering are widespread

“Alberta has one of the most diverse education systems in Canada,” Carpay told the Post. “It’s really contrary to government policy for any school board to try to squelch that diversity.”

Source: National Post

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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