Quebec daycares to ditch religion

Yesterday, the Globe and Mail reported on a new rule in Quebec regarding daycares and no more religious references allowed in them. Some parents have a problem with this, of course. Those who want their toddlers to be labeled Catholic or Jewish (or whatever) are annoyed that religion is being culled from the places their kids hang out all day.

a newly formed group, Quebeckers for Equal Rights to Subsidized Day Cares, argues the government directives are vague, a bureaucratic headache to apply, and discriminate against parents who believe daycares should be an extension of the family home. The group is challenging the rules under the Quebec and Canadian charters.

“This is a fundamental question,” said Marie-Josée Hogue, lawyer for the coalition, which includes more than 200 parents and associations from the Catholic, Jewish and Egyptian Copt communities. “The benefits of the law should be the same without distinctions like religion and belief.” Daycare, she said, “is a substitute to the home environment.”

I poked through some of the comments and most of them are siding with the government’s promotion of secularism. This one from Toast is worth noting.

Children can be (perhaps should be) made aware of religous diversity without the use of dogma and without prejudice. Creating an environment where people pretend religion doesn’t exist is foolish.

He or she may have a valid point there. Maybe it’s akin to getting kids primed for a camping trip but never mentioning the possible danger of bears. It’d be a fur paw faux pas to encourage them to hug the damn things. Better to make an effort to teach them how to protect themselves in bear country.

Unfortunately, these parents don’t want to protect their kids from bears, they want their kids to be taught which bear to hug. (It’s the Jesus bear, honey. The Mohammad bear will bite your head off and juggle with it…)

I’ll add this one from Uffen.

“Extension of the home”? Well, does that mean the daycare has to provide for second hand smoke and the TV on all day? What about adults arguing in loud voices? A few curse words thrown in?

Also, regarding the article comment on the seperation of Jewish faith, culture, etc. I didn’t know that turning your kids over to the state for the day was part of the Jewish culture.

KJ-Can makes a good point, too.

But, banning specific words from stories and outlawing symbols is really just censorship. And there is something wrong with that. I see no reason why there can’t be stories from other religions (besides christian) that can be written in French or English and allowed in the daycares. Exposure to all of this will bring about a much more rounded individual and allow that person to make up his or her own mind about what religion to follow if any.

Young as they are, they’ll probably still follow whatever their folks believe, though, no matter how many other cultures and belief sets they’d be exposed to through stories. I agree on the censorship angle but if the government really wants the daycares secular then those who run them will have to find alternatives to the religious standards that have made up their singalongs to this point. There are scads of great performers that record for children and stick to secular lyrics. No angels on the daycare Christmas tree? So what? Let the kids design their own kooky ornaments and make the tree really special.

If there are religious options for daycare that’s great. Put your kids in those if you have the money for it. If you don’t have the money for that then learn to deal with the reality that your kid will spend every $7 day doing secular activities and you can ramp up the faith shilling swill on your own time to make up for it. If you really want your kids to be religious, you’ll do it. For everyone else who has kids there and no dreams of making saints or martyrs out of them, it probably won’t mean much of a change at all.

It’ll be interesting to see how this works out.

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