A few weeks ago, I received an email about a prayer request on an upcoming case at the Supreme Court in Canada.
Tomorrow (May 18th) is the date.
Here’s the email.
Dear OCHEC members and leaders,
Earlier this week you received an email from OCHEC forwarding to you press releases about the Supreme Court of Canada case on May 18th regarding the Province of Quebec curriculum, the Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC), addressing the issue of whether parents have the right to choose the kind of education their children will receive, particularly in regard to religious instruction. Basically, the province of Quebec is insisting that its students take a course on Religion and Ethics that teaches all religions are on a par. Thousands of parents have tried to excuse their children from the class, but their request has been refused (the province supplied the school boards with a standard rejection letter). Two parents have fought this and the case will be argued in the Supreme Court. How does that work? On May 18 the nine Justices of the Court will hear both sides of the case presented (certain Christian organizations, including CCCC and EFC, are among the interveners) and then they will decide if it is the parents or the province who are able to decide what their children should learn in this case.
Why are we sending this out to our Homeschooling community? Because if the SCC decides in favour of the Quebec ministry of education, it will set precedent giving the government the right to choose and insist on the content of curriculum even religious curriculum. This case could be used in the future to decide legislation regarding home education freedoms.
We’ve been asked to circulate a request to join with one support group that is organizing prayer and fasting for the weeks leading up to this case. I’ve attached excerpts of emails from S K who is spear-heading this prayer and fasting movement.
If the Supreme Court of Canada case we referred to is decided in favour of the Quebec school board things related to parental choice of educational material will be non-negotiable. Forever. And it would almost certainly affect homeschooling, eventually: imagine if you could only homeschool if you agreed to a certain curriculum (including books you disagreed with) and your kids were required to be tested on the material....and that was the only homeschooling option. Consider how things have changed from when you were a kid. I remember being read Bible stories, told about John 3:16 and studying The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in my public school, when they still said the Lord's Prayer. None of that would happen now. Gideon Bibles are barely permitted in the Waterloo region schools and the school board is considering further legal action on that issue. What else will be lost over the next 20 years if we do not seek God's face on this? (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Pray! Pray! And please again consider fasting .
Here are a few suggestions for specific prayer:
Pray Proverbs 21:1 "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases." - that God would direct the hearts of the Justices ("kings") to allow parents, not the government, to decide what children should learn.
The Right Honourable Madam Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, P.C.
The Honourable Mr. Justice William Ian Corneil Binnie The Honourable Mr. Justice Louis LeBel The Honourable Madam Justice Marie Deschamps The Honourable Mr. Justice Morris J. Fish The Honourable Madam Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella The Honourable Madam Justice Louise Charron The Honourable Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein The Honourable Mr. Justice Thomas Albert Cromwell
Pray for all the people arguing this case on May 18 - for our Christian brothers & sisters intervening in the case, that the Holy Spirit would tell them what to say (Matthew 10:19-20). We are asked to pray for those who persecute us - not sure if the opposing folks would count as persecutors! - but pray that they (and the Justices) would have their hearts turned to Christ.
Above all, whatever happens, pray that God would be glorified.
Please ask yourself: What if you were in the situation of wanting to excuse your child from seeing an objectionable movie in class, BUT YOU COULDN'T. [These things are already happening in public schools in Ontario.] Or, you did not want your child to read a blasphemous book, but you had NO WAY of preventing it - except for your child to get an incomplete credit in that course. Or, you want to send your child to a Christian school, but the Christian school is not allowed to teach Biblical Christianity (Jesus really IS Lord, etc). Or, you are homeschooling but are forbidden to teach about Jesus (or, say, use creationist materials) or just that you are required to have your kids follow certain curricula.
Well, you could say that this doesn't affect you, and it probably wouldn't immediately. But I think it is naive to think that it wouldn't eventually. The underlying issue is WHETHER IT IS YOU OR THE GOVERNMENT WHO SHOULD CHOOSE YOUR CHILDREN'S CURRICULUM.
Lest you think "Oh, that couldn't happen here", please consider the fact that more severe restrictions already exist in western Europe. For example (this is from Wikipedia, accessed today, under "Homeschooling in
"Homeschooling in Germany is illegal with rare exceptions. The requirement to attend school has been upheld, on challenge from parents, by the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. Parents violating the law have primarily or most prominently been Christians seeking a more religious education than that offered by the schools. Sanctions against these parents have included fines of thousands of euros, successful legal actions to remove children from the parents' custody, and prison sentences. It has been estimated that 600 to 1,000 German children are homeschooled, despite its illegality.”
PLEASE PRAY. OUR GOD ANSWERS PRAYER.
Thanks for reading this far! And feel free to circulate this to anyone you think would be interested.
"As a Father, God finds His greatest pleasure in relieving the wants and granting the desires of His children. Prayer is the child's request, not to the winds, nor to the world, but to the Father...Prayer is the seeking of God’s great and greatest good, which will not come if we do not pray." (E.M.Bounds)
From an HSLDA Canada email I received today.
Right to opt out of anti-Christian course in Québec argued before Supreme Court
In September, 2008, the Province of Québec changed the religious education curriculum, requiring all students from first grade to the end of high school to take a course each year entitled, Ethics and Religious Culture. The course surveys all religions, treating Christianity on par with all other religions. No religion is permitted to be presented as more desirable than any other. The course is mandatory for all public and private schools. Even religiously based private schools are not permitted to teach a religion course contradicting Ethics and Religious Culture.
The Applicants, Lavallée and Jutras, are a married couple with four children. They live in Drummondville, Québec. On behalf of their children, they applied for exemptions from participating in the Ethics and Religious Culture course. Their requests were denied. Several thousand parents living in the Province of Québec also applied for exemptions from the Ethics and Religious Culture course on behalf of their children. All requests were denied. The Minister of Education has, apparently, indicated that all such requests will be denied. School boards have been supplied with a standard form rejection letter for this purpose.
The outcome of this case will potentially impact religious education throughout Canada. Right now even private Christian schools in Quebec are prevented from teaching religion from a purely Christian perspective.
For more on this story please click here and here.
Please join me and many other Canadian homeschoolers in praying for this issue.
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