Religious instruction belongs in church

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Your Jan. 19 front-page article, “Catholic board says no to secular school in Morinville,” gave much food for thought about what public schools should be.

In my opinion all public schools should be as secular as our government and our laws. No religious group should have the right to force its religious beliefs upon others regardless of how politically powerful their religious organization might be. It’s a matter of human rights.

The term ‘secular’ is an adjective that is seldom used. However, in the Oxford Dictionary it’s defined to mean, ‘not religious, sacred or spiritual.’ Aren’t public schools supposed to be like that? Aren’t they supposed to be for all students regardless of their faith? I too feel that Donna Hunter and her group are correct in claiming that a public school should provide a secular education. To be proper, all public schools in Alberta should be secular to reflect the fact that members of our society have many different religions and also that many people are free and correct to have religion at all. Must we believe in the Pope (or any other similar person) to believe in God?

Though members of the Alberta Catholic Schools Trustees’ Association (ACTSA) don’t appear to know it, the ‘three Rs’ of basic education in normal schools are reading, writing and arithmetic. The fourth R — namely religion — should be taught in a different building, namely, a church. Sunday schools are very good. They put religious education where it belongs, namely, in a non-secular atmosphere where the specific teachings of a specific religion can and should be taught. If all other religions must use their churches to teach their religious beliefs to their children, how can it be correct for members of ACSTA to demand the use of our public schools for the teaching of their religious beliefs to both Catholic and non-Catholic students? All four public schools in Morinville fall under the control of Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools.

I urge all readers to read that good Gazette article by staff writer Lauren Den Hartog once again. Take a closer look at the expressed attitude of superintendent David Keohane. I was given the impression by his words (as quoted) that he doesn’t give a damn about the religious freedoms of people who are not of the Catholic faith. If the Alberta School Act must be changed, it must be to put the ‘fourth R’ in churches where it belongs so that all our public schools would become secular, as they should be.

For the record, I was taught by nuns at a public school. I was a kid who had Catholic beliefs forced into his mind at school. As a 70-year-old man, I now know that what they did to me was wrong. I still deeply believe in God. But I’m now quite convinced that God is not a Catholic. And so the members of the ACSTA can go to hell as well as the rest of us who do wrong to others.

Richard G. Nobert, Morinville

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