Ontario’s Sex-ed Curriculum: Objections Overruled

In her National Post article, “Can we please put this garbage debate about sex-ed to bed?” Robyn Urback addresses the objections of “the parents who have wasted everyone’s time by pulling their children out of school in protest of the [Ontario government’s new sexual education] curriculum”:

Objection 1: The curriculum introduces students to inappropriate concepts such as anal sex, oral sex, etc.

Wrong. Categorically wrong. False. . . .

Objection 2: The curriculum encourages students to engage in masturbation, premarital sex.

There is a difference between teaching students about something, and instructing them to engage in it. . . .

Objection 3: The curriculum normalizes sexual activity

We live in a liberal Western democracy. Sex is already normal. . . .

Objection 4: Schools should stick with the basics, like reading and math

The public school system is supposed to equip students with the tools needed to live as productive, successful adults. . . .

Objection 5: All this talk about trangenderism and gender fluidity will be confusing for children

This notion only holds water if you believe that being trans is a product of social influence and upbringing, not something present since birth. . .

Objection 6: Discussion of sex should be left to the parents

Every parent thinks that he or she knows what’s going on with his or her kids. Those other parents might be out of the loop, but me and my child are the exception. . . .

Objection 7: Parents are being silenced

There’s nothing stopping parents from sitting down with their kids after class and saying, “So, I hear you had a lesson on sex today. Let’s talk about why it’s important to our family/faith/community that you wait until marriage.” . . .

Objection 8: The province is ignoring parents’ concerns

OK, maybe this is true, but there’s a good reason for that: See #1-7. . . .

The Ontario government has released a video promoting/explaining the 2015 sex education curriculum to students and stupid ignorant parents.

Accurate information on Ontario’s updated Health and Physical Education Curriculum, which includes sexual education, is available on the Government of Ontario’s website.

To Go or Not to Go

Bob Ripley, a retired, non-believing United Church of Canada minister, has a guest post on Rational Doubt where he examines his “mixed and strong feelings about the efforts of his former colleague, Gretta Vosper, to remain in the church as an open atheist.” In his post entitled “Atheist Clergy Colleagues Agree on Many Things, but…,” Ripley says,

I agree that how you behave trumps what you believe. I agree that religion is a human construct and a source of horrific violence. I agree that God and Jesus, along with the hundreds of deities humans have worshipped, are the products of mythology.

However, Ripley does not agree with “Gretta’s insistence on continuing to serve a Christian congregation under those vows” because although

Gretta sees herself as a catalyst for changing the church into something that jettisons a theistic god in the absence of doctrine [,] . . .  the church is a community of believers in a supernatural deity.

Ripley would like to see Vosper leave her congregation and the United Church. He does not support the fact that

Gretta’s friends are raising money to support

her legal costs in a potential “heresy trial.” There will be no heresy trial. Whatever happens, she will not be tried for heresy. She is not being persecuted. The church may conclude, after due process, that she is no longer faithful to her ordination vows. It is the church’s right and duty.

Ripley would like Vosper to go quietly; however, he does provide a link in his post to the Friends of Gretta Vosper Association’s GoFundMe page.

The Limits Of Free Speech And Public Monuments

Recently there was a lot of disgust expressed against a “Man charged after ‘fornicating the statue,’ police say

Yes, this is the same monument Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was murdered at and, the same monument that saw teenagers in 2006 charged for urinating at.

In all the above cases the charge was ‘mischief’.

In the CBC video, the CBC commenter (About 1:30 in if you watch) refers to the monument and says “And Canadians gained a new sense that this is a hallowed place.”

Definitions for ‘hallowed’ include ‘sacred’, ‘holy’ and ‘consecrated’. Is this monument now a religious object? How so? and must we as a secular society respect the supposed ‘hallowness’ of an inanimate object?

A not dissimilar outrage was expressed against a teenager in Pennsylvania a few years back. Jerry Coyne discussed it on his website.


Obviously a statue on church grounds is a ‘hallowed object’.

And from the recent Huffington Post video on Ottawa by Chris Hau, I made this still.


Is this also public mischief? Go watch the video; he’s obviously ‘fornicating with a statue’ why wasn’t this actor charged with public mischief as well? I suppose the reason is this statue is not ‘hallowed ground’. This statue is of a ‘Metis fighter fighting in the war of 1812’, so I suppose that’s not holy enough.

If we are to become a secular nation, will we have honoured monuments that we must respect? Who gets to decide which monuments are honoured? Would ‘giving the finger’ to the concept of war in the form of the war memorial count as disrespect? Instead of ‘fornicating’ could one simply give the finger to a Jesus statue? (Blasphemy!) Could one be arrested for giving the finger?  Do people have a right to not be offended after all? Where are the limits to free speech to be drawn then? Must we have limits? It’s certainly obvious to me that religious reasons are not sufficient.

“Recognizing Lawyers from TWU Legitimizes Discrimination”

Today, the BC Humanist Association published the following information in the “News” section of its website:

August 31, 2015

This morning The Vancouver Sun published our letter regarding Trinity Western University’s proposed law school. Our letter was in response to an opinion article by Barry W. Bussey, Director, Legal Affairs, at the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Read our letter below and make sure to share it.

While a private university, TWU has received several million dollars in government grants in recent years. We support the Law Society of BC’s decision not to recognize TWU’s law school and call on the provincial and federal governments to stop spending public money on a discriminatory organization. You can read the BCHA’s position on the proposed TWU law school here.

Principle of equality lost at TWU law school

Re: TWU Law School case was expected; we just didn’t know when, Opinion, Aug. 26

It’s of course the right of any organization, secular or religious, to be left alone when operating privately, as Barry Bussey calls for; however, Trinity Western University has entered the public sphere by demanding that public bodies recognize lawyers from its proposed law school. These demands open TWU’s beliefs to public scrutiny, particularly when something as fundamental to democracy as the justice system is concerned.

The Community Covenant that TWU requires its students to sign is clear: Only heterosexual Evangelical Christians are allowed in. If the Law Society is forced to recognize lawyers from TWU, it legitimizes this discrimination.

Christian students have always been, and will always be, welcome at Canada’s many secular law schools. TWUs program, however, closes doors not just to the LGBT community, but also to atheists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and even other Christians who don’t subscribe to TWU’s narrow ideology. With a finite number of positions available for lawyers, this gives an advantage to evangelicals that is unavailable to other students.

The fundamental basis for modern Canadian law is equality. Establishing a school that rejects students with the wrong beliefs or sexual orientation is fundamentally opposed to that principle.

Ian Bushfield
Executive Director, BC Humanist Association

Read our letter online (page 2)


It’s almost the end of the “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,” but the 2015 Canadian election pollsters are just gearing up to predict how Canadians will vote on October 19, 2015. For many of us, it’s too much and too early with no relief in sight. However, the video “Harperman, a Protest Song” and the story that accompanies it may make you wonder how Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are maintaining even second place in the polls:

“Harperman,” written and performed by Ottawa folksinger Tony Turner, is effective, so effective that Turner

A scientist with Environment Canada has been put on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation for creating a politically charged protest song about ousting Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

The Harperman Song Project has a

crowdfunding campaign to support a “Harperman Cross-Canada Sing-Along” on Parliament Hill and 14 other locations across Canada on Thursday, September 17th. We are asking people to go to the Indiegogo page to make a donation and help spread the word.

and is working on making t-shirts available.

harperman-white-tshirt-150x150Contribute now and buy a t-shirt to help make Cross-Canada Harperman Sing-Along a reality.

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