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Copy of Religion in Schools
Transcript of Copy of Religion in Schools
By Tracy Lazaroff and Stephen Kovach
2) National and Provincial Demographic Breakdown
3) Religious Issues You Could Face
Religious Makeup of Canada (2011)
Please organize into groups groups of 3-4 members. Biology teachers please form (a) group(s).
You will be presented with a hypothetical situation.
After a few minutes we will take up these questions as a class.
Religious Issues in Today's Schools
In all religions there are divides and though two people may identify as the same religion, they may have different beliefs within that religion. These are some current, controversial issues with religious connections, Saskatchewan teachers face in their classroom:
Prayer in Public School
Teaching of Evolution
You will teach students of diverse religious/non-religious backgrounds during your career.
This means that there is a growing need for you to know your students, administration's policies, and school board's policies.
Prepare responses that are sensitive to the situation and the class.
Some Islamic traditions believe that homosexuality is a choice, and it is considered to be a sin.
Buddhism traditionally views homosexuality as sexual misconduct. But there are no traditional teachings from Buddha on homosexuality.
There are Jewish communities that have accepted GLBTQ's into their communities.
Within Christianity there is mixed feelings about homosexuality. With feeling running from complete acceptance to homophobic, and everything in between.
In Islamic belief abortion is looked at with a mixed view. As children are called a gift from God and "decorations of Life" in the Koran. Yet contraception and abortion are allowed in most Islamic countries. Abortion is usually used only as a last resort if the pregnancy is believed to be physically harmful to the mother.
Buddhism considers abortion as taking a life.
Judaism views abortion as a conflicting idea and there are arguments for and against it.
Christianity much like Judaism has conflicting beliefs about abortion. Usually it depends on the denomination.
Prayer In Public Schools
School mandated prayer in public schools has been removed in every province but Saskatchewan and Alberta.
1988 Ontario ruling decided mandated prayer reading violated freedom on conscious and religion.
Teaching Evolution in the Sciences
You will have students (and parents) who are Creationists.
Creationism= "The doctrine that matter and all things were created, substantially as they exist now, by an omnipotent Creator, and not gradually evolved or developed".
2008 Angus Reid Poll found 22% of Canadians "believe God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years".
Roman Catholic- 12,728,900 or 38.7%
Protestant- 9,592,871 or 29.2%
Non-Religious Affiliated- 7,850,600 or 23.9% (youngest and fastest growing group)
Muslim- 1, 053, 945 or 3.2% (Fastest growing religious group)
Christian Orthodox- 550,650 or 1.7%
Hindu- 497,960 or 1.5%
Sikh- 454,965 or 1.4%
Buddhist- 366,830 or 1.1%
Jewish- 329,500 or 1%
Religious Makeup of Saskatchewan
Protestant- 416,915 or
Non-Religious Affiliated- 246,305
Traditional (Aboriginal) Spirituality- 12,240
Christian Orthodox- 12,140
Muslim- 10,040 (Most reside in Saskatoon)
Trends in Religious Diversification
Since 1971 immigrants from Asia (including the Middle East) have become the numerical majority of Immigrants to Canada.
This has resulted in the emergence of non traditional religions.
Key Example: Islam
Islam is the fastest growing religion in Canada and Saskatchewan.
Between 2001 and 2011 Saskatchewan's Muslim population increased 450%.
Huda (K-12) school in Regina and Misbah (K-8) in Saskatoon show this new trend.
Growth of the Non-Religiously Affiliated
4.3% in 1971
7.3% in 1981
12.4% in 1991
16.9% in 2001
23.9% in 2011 NHS
Saskatchewan and Alberta:
1905 Saskatchewan and Alberta Acts gave the provinces constitutional exemptions to administer "Religious and Patriotic Instruction".
This was challenged in 1993 by a group of Saskatoon parents to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.
Fancy V. The Board of Education Saskatoon School Division no. 13 was ruled on in 1999 by retired Judge Ken Halvorson.
Fancy v. Saskatoon Board of Education (1999)
Complaint lodged by seven families in 1993.
Saskatoon Board argued their Constitutional Right.
SK Human Rights Commission ruled on Case in 1999.
Called using the Lord's Prayer "outdated and discriminatory", and ruled the School Board's actions were not protected constitutionally...but
Fancy V. Saskatoon School Division No.13
Halvorson concluded the Board's policy of using the Lord's Prayer and Biblical readings "outdated and discriminatory" and were not constitutionally protected.
However the ruling was based on a technicality. The Board had a constitutional right to "direct" prayer to its schools, yet in the cases presented in Fancy V. it had merely "encouraged" prayer. Thus by delegating powers to individual schools to implement prayer as they saw fit, the policies of the Board were not constitutionally protected.
As A Result...
In the 1999-2000 school year the Saskatoon School Board placed the Lord's Prayer on Hiatus (where it has remained ever since).
Public school boards in Saskatchewan still have the right to "direct" religious instruction, however the majority choose not to.
In Alberta however the Lord's Prayer and Biblical readings continue in many public school divisions
"Human beings evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years."
"God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years"
*Age and education level was shown to adversely impact individuals acceptance of evolution.
Where They Stand?
Islamic scholars are split on evolution being reconcilable with Islam.
Roman Catholicism has never formally opposed "Darwinian evolution".
established R.C. neutrality on evolution.
1996 Pope John Paul II formally adopted "theistic evolution".
Methodists, Presbyterians and Lutheran churches officially support evolution in seminaries.
Anabaptists lack a defined position.
Pentecostals have official anti-evolutionary stance.
Seventh Day Adventists have official anti-evolution stance.
Two broad conclusions can be drawn according to Joel W. Martin:
Biblical literalist beliefs are promoted most strongly in small, independent denominations, where it is not uncommon for the leader to have little or no formal theological training.
In some larger denominations, acceptance of evolution is far higher amongst "theologically educated leaders" than less educated members.
Alliances in Catholic Schools
It appears that Gay- Straight alliances are allowed in the Catholic school system, but students who are hoping to start one are getting no support from their teachers or their fellow students. Halla Scott from a Regina Catholic school has been trying to start a Gay-Straight alliance but has been unable to do so. There is one active club in a Catholic school in Saskatoon.
A Bad Bunny Trail
In April of this year an Islamic School got some bad publicity when a speaker that was to talk about social interaction between boys and girls ended up sharring his anti- gay views. The school leaders were upset and apologized for not having procedures to prevent such things being taught.
In Winnipeg, 2011, students in a private Catholic school were given volunteer hours for anti- abortion prayer vigils outside of the city's Health Science center. They did not block people. But their has been arguments that it is a political stance and that it irresponsible that children should be encouraged to advocate for it.
Angus Reid Global. 2012. “Britons and Canadians More Likely to Endorse Evolution than Americans.” Accessed November 01, 2013. http://www.angusreidglobal.com/polls/46561/britons-and-canadians-more-likely-to- endorse-evolution-than-americans/
Brooke, John. Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1991.
CBC News. 2013. “Regina School For Muslims Eyes Expansion.” March 04, 2013. Accessed October 28, 2013. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/regina-school-for- muslim-students-eyes-expansion-1.1303275
CBC News. 1999. “Saskatoon Told to Pull Prayer From Schools.” CBC News. July 28, 1999. Accessed November 01, 2013. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan-told-to- pull-prayer-from-schools-1.184449
Gallup. 2013. “Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design.” Last Modified November 04, 2013. Accessed November 05, 2013. http://www.gallup.com/poll/21814/Evolution-
Martin, Joel W. “Compatibility of Major U.S. Christian Denominations With Evolution,” Evolution Education and Outreach 3 (2010): 420-431.
McKay-Panos, Linda. 2005. “Religion in Public Schools.” Legal Resource Center of Alberta. Accessed November 01, 2013. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Religion+in+public+schools.-a0160104812
National Center for Science Education. 2013. “Polling Muslims on evolution.” Last modified March 10, 2013. Accessed November 01, 2013. http://ncse.com/news/2013/05/polling- muslims-evolution-0014838
Press, Jordan. 2013. “Survey Shows Muslim Group is Fastest Growing Religious Group in Canada.” National Post, May 08, 2013. Accessed October 29, 2013. http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/05/08/survey-shows-muslim-population-is-fastest- growing-religion-in-canada/
Statistics Canada. 2013. “Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada.” Last Modified November 07, 2013. http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-010-x/99-010- x2011001-eng.cfm#a6
Statistics Canada. 2013. Saskatchewan (Code 47) (table). National Household Survey (NHS) Profile. 2011 National Household Survey. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-004-XWE. Ottawa. Last updated September 11, 2013. http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/dp- pd/prof/index.cfm?Lang=E
Statistics Canada. 2013. Saskatoon, CY, Saskatchewan (Code 4711066) (table). National Household Survey (NHS) Profile. 2011 National Household Survey. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-004-XWE. Ottawa. Last Modified September 11, 2013. http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/dp-pd/prof/index.cfm?Lang=E