Sunday October 18, 2015

DEBATE: Prayer in schools

Is there room for prayer in modern classrooms?

Is there room for prayer in modern classrooms? (CBC)

Listen 11:19

In many parts of the country, the debate over the Lord's Prayer in public schools has faded. 

In 1988, a landmark Ontario Court of Appeal ruling found that school-led recitations of the Lord's Prayer violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the practice has been banned in Ontario public schools ever since. 

But in Alberta and Saskatchewan, school boards still have the authority to direct public schools to recite the prayer. 

That's a source of tension in communities like Busby, Alberta, where a mother recently raised concerns about morning recitations of the Lord's Prayer at her daughter's school. 

Alberta parent and secular rights activist Luke Fevin says allowing school-led recitations of the Lord's Prayer in public schools violates children's right to freedom from religion. He spoke out when the Lord's Prayer was being recited at his children's school in St. Albert, Alberta, and says his family was ostracised as a result. 

We still have this concept...that somehow freedom from religion is an unimportant right and that people can just arbitrarily deny it.  - Luke Fevin

Michael Taube, a Sun Media columnist, Washington Times contributor, and former speech writer for Stephen Harper, argues the Lord's Prayer is part of a valuable tradition and says reciting the prayer as a child did not influence his religious leanings. 

It was just a part of a procedure that we did for a few minutes. It is 52 words in total. It [is] part of a tradition in this country.  - Michael Taube