Friday miscellany…

…#tellviceverything edition!

My son and I were hit by a stomach bug the other night so we spent the day yesterday comfortably at home. It afforded me the opportunity to follow a Twitter hashtag called #tellviceverything. This was aimed at Justice Minister Vic Toews, who has been trumpeting the virtues of Bill C 30… which will effectively give the police broad authorities to track everything that Canadians do digitally – without judicial oversight.

I wrote about this the other day, if your memory if failing (like mine!).

Anyways… some clever dude thought of this tag in order for Canadians to tell Mr. Toews about intimate details about themselves… sorta saving Vic the trouble of doing it himself. And it was also taking the high road. Instead of tweeting details about Toews, users created the #TellVicEverything hashtag to share the banal details of their lives.. Here were some of my favourites:

@ToewsVic I admit it, I shot JR on Dallas. #TellVicEverything

Cats are both soft AND sharp! @ToewsVic #TellVicEverything

Dear @ToewsVic: I think I am allergic to dairy products. But I love cheese. What can I do? #TellVicEverything
RT @markcritch: Tony Clement has a small decorative gazebo inside his bigger gazebo. #TellVicEverything
…and my own:
@ToewsVic Chicken and dumplings. Should I use or omit the cornmeal for the dumplings? #TellVicEverything
Well… this isn’t going to dent the Con armour much as long as they couch everything as being “what’s best for the children”. Hmmm… where have I heard something that before…

“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”- Mein Kampf – Adolf Hitler

Ralph Manheim translation, Page 403 of the 1943 version. source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Mein_Kampf

Note – now before anyone gets all huffy about me comparing the Cons to the Nazis – I am not. I am simply pointing out that previous shady regimes have used the “protecting the children” justification in the past. I’m sure Castro and Che said something similar… OK?

As well, this is completely separate from the personal attcks of Toews and his family. As much as I cannot stand the guy, I DO NOT condone these types of attacks! Politics is rough and tumble but keep one’s personal life out of the mix! We are NOT the USA!

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Woo-hoo! Pro ball is coming back to O-Town! I hope it is a Jays affiliate! If so, then you can sign me up for season tickets!!!

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Whoa. It looks like the Alberta PCs may not be a big of a shoo-in as in past elections. The über right-wing Wildrose Party has some traction.

Ah. Alberta. Canada’s answer to Texas.

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Gotta love 22 Minutes…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2fXWslhzx8I

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My eldest is an AC Milan fan, and I am of course a Gooner.

She thought this was funny to send to me after the debacle at the San Siro the other day…

I’ll have my revenge… oh yes I shall!

Sigh.

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Finally, and maybe most importantly – at least to me – is the SC decision that mandatory religion courses do not harm the religious freedoms of parents and their children. Harper’s stacking of the Court with conservatives is paying some dividends.

So much for that division between church and state.

I am an Atheist, but a tolerant one. I believe that the superstitious beliefs of some over the eons have done more harm than good but believe in the “live and let live” doctrine. You go ahead and believe what you wish, but leave me to do the same.

This pokes a whole in that.

The contentious program, known as the Ethics and Religious Culture program, was made mandatory in Quebec schools in May, 2008.

Its stated purpose was to expose children to a range of cultures, creeds and religious traditions such as Judaism, aboriginal spirituality and other religious traditions. The goals of the program specified that an emphasis would be placed on the historical significance of French culture and the role Catholic and Protestant Christian traditions.

The parents behind the constitutional challenge, a Catholic couple who reside in Drummondville, Que., argued that the program was at odds with guarantees in the provincial Education Act.

They alleged that the program could expose their two children to harm and disruption, “caused by forced, premature contact” with beliefs that are incompatible with those held by the parents. They said that the program could also have an adverse effect on the religious beliefs the children were being taught in their home.

What if the OCDSB suddenly decided that all those in Grade 4 were required to take a course on religion? After this case, that would be totally valid.

I seldom side with catholics on anything concerning education policy, but parents do have the right to control what belief systems their kids are exposed to. And Atheism is very much a system of beliefs just like catholicism – a system that I do not want compromised as long as they are children.

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5 Comments to “Friday miscellany…”

  1. Dave says:

    I personally like the idea of comparative religious instruction but can certainly see why parents fear it. It’s very hard to support fully the silly belief systems that exist once someone knows about the other ones that contradict it but I have no children so the problem of when to give them this knowledge is academic to me( no pun intended).
    All I’m sure of however is that where ever and whenever these course are taught the bias and beliefs of the teachers and the dominant society are going to colour the whole subject. Think of how long we were taught about Greek and Roman Mythology rather than telling us that two of the societies we consider the bedrocks of our own treated these things as the “serious religion” of their time, not mythology at all.

  2. I think a comparative religions course is an excellent idea for students once they’re old enough to have at least a slight grip on concepts like philosophy. Probably grade 7 or 8. some students may be capable earlier, but I think by grade 7/8 most would be able to extract value from such a course. In terms of course material, I think they could give a run-down of the desert trio, native american religion, east asian religions, and some of the historical pagan religions. I’d also include atheism as a contrast, even though it’s technically not a religion (but it could be considered a philosophical point of view).

    This:

    They alleged that the program could expose their two children to harm and disruption, “caused by forced, premature contact” with beliefs that are incompatible with those held by the parents.

    is a specious argument. School isn’t about exposing kids to their parents beliefs. If parents don’t want their kids to stand any risk of being exposed to other ideas, they should be schooling them at home. The whole point of education is to expose students to new ideas. Whether it has adverse effects on the beliefs children are taught in the home is also irrelevant. Children should be deciding for themselves what to believe. They should not be coerced by parents.

    It’s always been my thinking that if your beliefs are genuine and consistent, then exposure to other people’s beliefs won’t harm you at all.

    • trashee says:

      I disagree. As a university elective, sure. But not in a publicly funded school. And here is why:

      1) Which religions are part of the cirriculum and who decides this? Holy can of worms, Batman. Does Scientology count?
      2) Governments are sticking their long noses directly in religion. And there should be no relationship between the two.
      3) Who will make sure that these courses don’t just turn into preaching sessions where a teacher tries to convert the children into thinking that one point of view is more valid than another? Remember Jim Keegstra’s

      I and my wife should decide what religions and belief systesm our kids should be exposed to. Period. Neither a teacher nor a bureaucrat.

      • Absolutely Scientology counts. It would be wonderful to teach kids that L. Ron Hubbard created Scientology as a cynical, money-making ploy, and that the whole thing is completely based on his works of fiction. That’s all verifiable fact, and schools should be free to teach fact, even if religious yobs don’t like it.

        In fact, they should be free to teach it ESPECIALLY if religious yobs don’t like it. Schools are all about exposing unpopular ideas to the light.

        I don’t believe you and your wife should have the sole right to decide what belief systems your kids should be exposed to unless you plan to ensure your children are never, ever integrated into the rest of society and never have to interact with anyone else outside of your family. If you can’t meet that criterion, then the rest of society has a right to ensure your children are exposed to different ideas and capable of integrating them for themselves. It’s the only way they will be able to get along in a free civilization.

      • As an illustrative point, if you hadn’t been exposed to different ideas and beliefs at a young age, we probably couldn’t even have this conversation.

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