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Still Not Homesick

I know that not all of you see my posted links on Facebook (and/or Twitter now) - I tend to post my "links without comment" or my "links with one-line snark" over there because it seems more appropriate, whereas I try and go into more depth in here (the emphasis, I will admit before anyone gets on my case for infrequent posting, is on 'try').

As it happens, my initial reaction to Alberta's Bill 44 and its controversial provision allowing for parents to pull their children out of class discussions where "religion or sexuality" are scheduled to be brought up was "link with one-line snark", so it went on Facebook after all, but over time I've done a lot of thinking about why it irritates me so much (now if only I'd written this before the bill passed, but really it was always going to pass regardless of what I said - thus the title of this entry. No, Tommy, I'm not moving back home, except possibly at the head of a Passover-esque horde of destroying angels. I value my blood pressure too much.)

I have, really, two issues with that provision of Bill 44 - the first is its provenance, seemingly as a quid pro quo to get certain elements of the Alberta government onside with giving human rights code protection to Those Icky Gays (heaven forbid we fulfil our Charter obligations, eh?), and subsequently attached like a lamprey onto a law in which it has no reasonable place. To say nothing of the fact that, at least when I was in grade school, sex ed already required parental permission slips, and I don't recall ever learning about gay people in class (to be honest, I don't know where I did at all, though, so it may well have been in school after all!) The law seemed utterly unnecessary and meant more as a backdoor attack on teaching evolution in school than anything else - the competing interpretations from Premier Stelmach and Culture Minister Blackett on whether evolution would fall under "religion" didn't help, but I suppose in the end that would have been a matter for the courts or regulations to decide.

The second objection didn't fully crystallise until I heard on the morning CBC news a week or so ago about the controversy in Winnipeg regarding Child and Family Services taking away the daughter of a woman who'd held some rather odious white-supremacist views and was passing them on to the child. Apparently the child had drawn a swastika on her arm to go to school, and had been quoted as saying that "Black people don’t belong. What people don’t understand is that black people should die." - but for all that, I was conflicted about whether the government had taken the right steps in moving to her and her brother.  Surely people shouldn't be denied the right to procreate or raise children based solely on the views they hold (to do so would be to truly institute the idea of thoughtcrime), and raising children necessarily entails some transfer of worldviews and thought patterns from parent to child.  The state has no real place in restraining this transfer barring actual abuse, as much as elitists (like me, I'll admit!) despair at the thought of certain people reproducing at all and fantasize about taking warning labels off everything and letting Darwin have his day.

What parents, on the other hand, must understand is that they are never going to be the only source that their child draws influence from, unless they simply refuse to socialise them at all - and furthermore, that hiding the very existence of competing religions, of alternate sexual orientations and theories of the family, of the concept of the Big Bang and evolution, of other worldviews than their own and especially of facts and people that contradict their worldviews, is not a benefit to their children. How are they to function in a world that they are largely ignorant of? What will they do when they confront things you can't hide them from anymore? What is the value, in the end, of a faith that is not examined, is not doubted, is not tested?

Why are some parents so afraid of letting their children grow into anything more than miniature versions of themselves?


( Walk in the shadow — Cast a shadow )
Jun. 2nd, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
Because it's the only thing the parents can hold onto that assures them that they're right. Or was that rhetorical?
( Walk in the shadow — Cast a shadow )