Ill winds are blowing across the land when it comes to parental rights, religious liberty and education policy.
Quebec’s new “ethics and religious culture” curriculum aims to promote religious tolerance by teaching that religious differences don’t matter. If you are a Muslim parent who wants to teach your child that Islam is superior to being an atheist or being a witch, the education system will be undermining that view in class. Quebec will brook no exceptions to the new groupthink: No child is permitted to be exempt from class when the teacher instructs her that her pious parents are teaching her falsehoods. The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed this soft totalitarianism last month, saying in effect that parents ought to get with the program and get over their religious, moral and cultural obligations to instruct their children. That is the narrowing of liberty to the point of eliminating it; everyone is free to teach his kids what he wants at home, just as long as the state gets to teach the little ones the opposite at school.
After reading Fr. de Souza, I am reminded of this quotation from the great christian statesman Abraham Kuyper with more than a little relevance for current developments on both sides of the 49th parallel:
When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.
Incidentally, Fr. de Souza delivered this homily at Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ funeral three years ago.