When "freedom of thought" becomes "freedom of ignorance":
Frank Bruseker, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, said parents have long been able to pull their kids from health classes dealing with sexuality. “However, the section on religion is potentially very difficult.”
Evolution, lessons about where oil comes from, astronomy and even the Holocaust suddenly become challenging topics to broach in the classroom, Bruseker said. “When those come up, how do I keep track, as a teacher, of which parents object to what things?”
Premier Ed Stelmach said the parental rights issue came from government MLAs.
“They wanted it in the bill, and it’s something there that’s supported very strongly in the legislation,” he said. “Caucus members brought it forward and wanted protection for parents.”
If passed, parents will be able to pull their children from lessons on evolution, Stelmach confirmed.
“The parents would have the opportunity to make that choice,” he said. “The parents, it’s their children, so they would make the decision, in keeping with the best interests of the child that they are raising.”
And stars? Nothing but holes in the firmament. Any other suggestion else might upset some people.
SURE, LET'S TALK ABOUT "SPECIAL RIGHTS": For quite some time, we've been listening to the batshit crazy right-wing demographic describe the fight for things like same-sex marriage as trying to give "special rights" to a group of people. And yet, in the example above, we have the ultimate example of a given group whining for the ultimate in special rights -- the right to be ignorant and not have to be held accountable for it.
I might be wrong but, as I read it, the new legislation gives parents the right to yank their kids from any class (or portion of class) with which they disagree. OK, let's follow that inanity and see where it takes us.
Let's assume that any student now has the right to blow off, say, the part of science class that deals with biological evolution. If that's true, then it wouldn't really make any sense to test them on that topic on the final exam, would it? Which means that those selective students would now have the right to get high school credit for a class for which they had the ability to skip any part that offended them, while their non-batshit-crazy classmates were still forced to learn all of the material and be tested on it. Does that seem fair to you?
Frankly, that strikes me as a pretty cool "special right" -- the right to say, "Thanks, I'll pass," to arbitrary portions of classes while one's classmates are still obligated to cover all of the material. "Special right?" No shit.
And what's worse is if none of this selective academic effort even goes on one's high school record, but if it did, then I'd actually be OK with that since it could (and should) be used to determine admission to post-secondary education: "A good transcript, Mr. Ross, but I see you opted out of evolution, geology and astronomy so, really, we can't admit you here since you're a scientific ignoramus. Next!" See, I'd be good with that. Personally, I'd be fine if you chose to be terminally stupid, as long as you paid a price for that. Then we're cool. But that's not the biggest problem here.
I'm guessing that the majority of cases submitted under that new legislation will be religiously-based since, let's face it, it really does take devout religious belief to be that criminally dense. But why should religious folks have all the fun? And the rights?
If one is allowed to withdraw from certain fields of study on religious grounds, then -- in the interests of fairness -- one should be allowed to do the same for any reason. Requiring an objection based only on religious belief is, once again, giving the God Squad a special right denied to the rest of us and, frankly, I'm getting seriously tired of discussions that run something like this:
A: "You have an obligation to do X, just like everyone else does."
B: "I don't need to -- I'm religious."
A: "Oh, well then, we're good, carry on."
I'm kind of tired of whiners who justify every damned thing with no one being allowed to offend their religious beliefs, when no one else gets the same freedom. To be fair, anyone should now be allowed to skip, say, calculus because ... well, they shouldn't need a "because", should they? Why should anyone need a reason? The reason should be no more complicated than, "Because I don't feel like it," because anything more complicated than that is gifting the devout with a right denied to everyone else. And that's just not fair, is it?
Yeah, I'm going to enjoy watching this play out. And I dearly want to see someone in Alberta test this new legislation by asking to have their kid excused from chemistry class because, well, just because. And when that excuse is refused, I so see a lawsuit in someone's near future.