Thursday, February 23, 2006

The non-sectarian presumption

Freedom Party of Ontario leader Paul McKeever sends along this letter in response to the Izvestia editorial on that mythical beast, "non-sectarian" education:

I agree that it is a mistake for the government to use taxes to subsidize "faith-based" schools. However, it is self-defeating to base that opposition on the idea that a society that funds multiculturalism should protect funding for a "melting pot role" of public education. Intentionally or unintentionally, all schools - public and private - have a major influence on a child's beliefs about the nature of reality, about how it can be understood, and about morality.

When a government funds or subsidizes a school with taxes, it eliminates any pretence of a separation of church and state. The state becomes a god of sorts. The schools it funds become its temples. The taxpayer becomes the state's followers, compelled to pay for the temples and to accept, on faith, that the state is the origin of moral truth. All schools a government funds are "faith-based" in that sense.

In a day when tax-cutters are blamed for murders, our politicians - to avoid offending any voter - fund public schools in which moral relativism wages war against objective codes of right and wrong. At a time when the criminalization of blasphemy is considered seriously in some quarters, Mr. Tory would have the state fund mysticism in a war against the idea that man can understand the universe and use reason alone to distinguish right from wrong. The religious and the moral relativists must be free to teach their children their beliefs and philosophies, but not at the expense of those whose philosophy they seek to destroy.

Instead of funding public or private schools with taxes, we must let every parent pay tuition directly to the school that their child attends, and only to that school. A separation of education and taxation is reason's only hope.

Paul McKeever
Leader, Freedom Party of Ontario

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