- Created on Monday, 25 August 2014 08:34
The following article, "Understanding, appreciating, protecting & using our Educational Freedom" was originally published in the Reformed Perspective magazine. It has been included here as a reference item for our readers. You can download a PDF of the updated version, linked at the bottom of the text if you wish to print a copy.
Understanding, appreciating, protecting & using our EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM
By André Schutten
In most of the Western world we are free to educate our children as we wish. We can raise them up to know the ways of the Lord. Do we understand how blessed we are because of this reality?
Let's consider, then, this blessing and examine how our Reformed schools, teachers, and parents are crucial in defending this freedom. Recent legal challenges on the education front should serve as reminders that we need to stay vigilant and jealously guard the freedom we have to raise up our children to know and serve the Lord.
- Created on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 09:24
The following article, "School: Who Should Rule" was originally published in the Reformed Perspective magazine. It has been included here as a reference item for our readers. You can download a PDF of the updated version, linked at the bottom of the text if you wish to print a copy.
What do Reformed church orders say about church-run schools vs. parent-run schools?
By Mark Penninga
Late last year I was privileged to join my colleague André Schutten in making presentations to Reformed churches and schools across Canada. We were talking about the political and legal challenges we are seeing against parental authority in education. Our focus was the Loyola Supreme Court case, in which the province of Quebec is demanding that all schools and home schools set aside their worldview, and instead teach about religion and ethics from an explicitly secular perspective.
In preparing for these presentations I did some research into what Reformed Christians believe about who is primarily responsible for the education of children. I assumed that there was a common perspective about parental authority, in light of covenant theology. I was wrong.
- Created on Friday, 08 August 2014 09:45
An interview this week, on the conscience rights of medical doctors in Ontario. The College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario is reviewing whether doctors should have the right to “opt out” of providing certain services, such as prescribing birth control pills or performing abortions if those practices violate their religious beliefs. There’s a public consultation process underway on the issue now, and we talk to lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos, who has submitted a brief on the issue on behalf of several groups of Christian medical professionals. (ARPA has also submitted a brief as part of the consultation process. You can find a copy online, here.)
On the news portion of the program, ARPA has applied for intervener status in two pending legal challenges on the Trinity Western law school debate.
We also continue our series on what some local ARPA chapters have been up to this summer. A group in Alberta hosted a BBQ for their Member of Parliament with some encouraging results.
And the Ontario government is getting ready to update it’s requirements for sex education. The issue first surfaced foury ears ago, but was abandoned at least in part because of opposition from the Christian community, which said the proposed curriculum was too explicit and age-inappropriate. There was a column on the issue in the Toronto Star last week; it was openly hostile to the Christian perspective on this, but it’s worth a read as a primer for parents in Ontario in terms of some of the rhetoric they will be facing when this issue comes back to the forefront. You can find the column here.
- Created on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 10:01
On Tuesday, August 5, ARPA's legal counsel sent a formal submission to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario with respect to their policy as it relates to conscience rights and the Ontario Human Rights Code. The College had requested feedback as it underwent consultations while reviewing their policy. At stake is whether doctors have the right
to refuse treatment if they have conscientious objections to the treatment. For example, can a Christian doctor refuse to prescribe birth control pills if that particular doctor thinks that such a prescription is unethical, or is bad medicine? What if the objection is religiously motivated? These are not just hypothetical questions: three doctors in Ottawa recently came under fire for refusing to prescribe the birth control pill.
As you will read in ARPA's submission (a copy is appended below), there were many legal submissions made to the College that correctly and thoroughly outlined the law as it relates to protecting doctors' conscience rights.
- Created on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 07:39
The Barrhead/Neerlandia ARPA chapter hosted a BBQ to thank Hon. Rob Merrifield, MP for Yellowhead for his work and commitment to the riding in which he served and is now retiring from. The approximately 45 people that attended the BBQ included both past and present board members, Mr. Merrifield and his wife and Mr. Merrifield's White Court office secretary and her husband. Board member Jacqueline Hamoen wrote that the guests were very thankful for the opportunity to come to a pig roast on a farm.
The group presented Mr. Merrifield with a picture, designed by Caitlin Hamoen, with words of appreciation for the work and dedication he had given the Yellowhead riding. He was surprised but very thankful for the gift.
According to Jacqueline Hamoen, Mr. Merrifield mentioned the appreciation that he had serving, and how important it is to keep Christian leaders in play. He felt at home and had a great many laughs with everyone. The evening was enjoyed by everyone.
- Created on Monday, 21 July 2014 07:59
It’s frightening that a provision protecting a parent’s authority over their child’s education would cause so much controversy in Alberta, the land of the free. And it’s ironic that when the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly parental rights are all the rage.
Last month, PC leadership contenders landed in hot water over their support of section 11.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act. This 2009 amendment requires educators to inform parents with a written letter when their children will be taught about controversial issues including religion and sexual ethics.
This section simply affirms the common law right and the constitutional freedom of parents to raise their children according to their own worldview. This freedom and right is also protected under the Charter’s section 2(a) and 2(b) provisions (freedom of religion and freedom of expression) and under section 7 (right to liberty).
- Created on Monday, 02 June 2014 15:21
Update (July 18, 2014) - Quebec's new euthanasia law is being challenged in court. We are thankful that the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, have filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal. The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of Bill 52 that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a euphemism used to describe euthanasia.
"Great civilizations are not murdered. They commit suicide."
*For a thorough ethical, legal and medical critique of Quebec's euthanasia law, check out Dr. Margaret Somerville's brief to the Quebec Health Committee. Her brief is No. 053M.
By Mark Penninga (www.ARPACanada.ca): These words are credited to the famed 20th Century historian Arnold Toynbee who wrote a 12-volume book set about the rise and fall of 26 civilizations.
Toynbee's statement takes on a morbid new meaning when we see how Quebec is rushing to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. With reckless abandon, the province is throwing aside its moral grounding and forging ahead in search of a new identity. Those who thought that this was stalled in the recent election of a Liberal government can think again.
Bill 52, reintroduced by the new Couillard government, will allow doctors to lethally inject their patients if they have physical or psychological pain. Because the bill was fast-tracked, it is possible that state-sanctioned killing is law in Quebec within a couple of weeks.
Although Bill 52 was first introduced by the previous PQ government and died as a result of the recent election, the new Liberal government has quickly reintroduced it, with no substantial amendments. It then proceeded to move the bill to the same stage as it was prior to the election, which required unanimous, and likely coerced, approval from all MNAs.
So why is this such a big deal? Bill 52 would cross a line that Canada has never crossed in its existence, at least for born humans.
- Created on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 07:45
When speaking of issues of justice and maintaining order in society, a democracy requires a certain ingredient to work well. That ingredient is virtue. But where does virtue come from? It comes from faith. Knowing human nature, when we remove faith from a democracy, we remove virtue from a democracy. And when we remove virtue, it doesn't take very long at all before the society starts to crumble. Freedom and liberty are curtailed in attempts to maintain order and safety. And the desires and quickly changing whims of the majority (lacking in virtue) begin to shape public policy. As Chuck Colson notes in his book, Justice that Restores, "without individual virtue, one cannot achieve a virtuous culture; without a virtuous culture, one cannot hire enough policemen to keep order. As Michael Novak has trenchantly observed, referring to America, 'in a virtuous culture, we have 250 million policemen, in a culture that mocks virtue, we cannot hire enough policemen.'"
Indeed, a virtuous society basically polices itself, creating more, not less, freedom. Eric Metaxas explains further in this great 4 minute podcast. Click here to listen.
- Created on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 06:39
A lot of people get angry when pro-lifers use graphic images to depict the reality of abortion. While we at ARPA Canada and through our pro-life campaign, WeNeedaLAW.ca, do not use graphic images in our messaging, we know many who do use them and use them effectively. The reality is that graphic images anger people, and rightly so. However, instead of focusing our anger on the messenger, we should be concerning ourselves with those whose ideology allows for the injustice to occur in the first place.
The Hamilton Spectator published an excellent op-ed by WeNeedaLAW.ca campaign director, Mike Schouten, titled Censoring disturbing images in which he addresses the Hamilton City Council's decision to prevent distribution of graphic images depicting abortion.
Interestingly, a question posed to the Hamilton City Council councillor who presented the motion about condemning other forms of graphic violence (as seen on TV, in film and video games), has gone unanswered. As Mike writes, "Images of aborted preborn children will certainly make every Canadian with a conscience uncomfortable. That's the point."