My thoughts have been mixed over the recent brouhaha over the revelation that a Toronto public school is allowing Muslims to pray during lunch hour on school grounds (it also allowed an Imam to come in and segregate the students, especially those who were menstruating).
On the one hand, I really don’t like the thought of aligning with the usual suspects who simply oppose Islam out of bigotry. I further would rather see these kids in public school, getting a secular education than to have them either home-schooled or sent to private Islamic schools.
Perhaps I also have a slight anti-Toronto bias (as is Canadian, note to Torontonians: electing Rob Ford will not make the rest of Canada like you), and just glazed over the stories.
But in a discussion today (not at the BC Humanists meeting I attended, but at a political meeting for a civic party whose endorsement I’m seeking to run for Vancouver School Board) I realized that it’s really quite simple:
Prayer does not belong in public schools.
It’s a simple concept, and one we’re used to fighting over when the prayers are Christian. Swap the Christian for a minority faith, like Islam or Hinduism though, and something seems to change.
Perhaps I’ve gotten too soft and accomadationalisty lately, and for that, I’m sorry.
The rule is simple: Prayer does not belong in public schools. It does not matter whether that prayer is Christian, Jewish, Hindu, or even aboriginal, the rule applies to all Canadians. Our public schools are secular places where people are included, which means that religion and its divisiveness are out.