03 Oct 2017 David Eggen at it again: more challenges for Alberta Christian Schools
Last week Education Minister David Eggen once again came out swinging against Albertan parents and Christian schools, promising that the provincial government will be introducing new legislation that will force all Alberta schools that receive public money to have a code of conduct in place that singles out protection for students on the basis of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. The legislation will also require school policies to make it clear that students have a “right” to establish gay-straight alliance clubs and would also make it illegal for schools to inform parents, or anyone else, if their child is in one of these clubs.
There is little doubt that the Minister and his caucus are doing their best to use this politically toxic issue to make the opposition squirm. Thankfully, so far one leadership candidate of the United Conservative Party has shown the courage to defend parental authority publicly.
Minister Eggen also commented that 20 of the schools that submitted policies in response to his order last year have policies that are “outright hostile” to LGBTQ students. ARPA has worked with Reformed schools in Alberta to assist them with policies that remain faithful to Scripture and demonstrate love for all students. We are thankful to see that so far the Minister has not taken any action against these schools (to the best of our knowledge).
At first glance, some parents and schools may find the Minister’s latest edict quite manageable. After all, we don’t support bullying or discrimination against any students, including those who struggle with their sexual identity.
However, ARPA Canada believes that Christian schools must not go down this road.
With providential timing, we have very recently published a new booklet called “Protect Them All: A Christian Case for Eliminating Lists of Special Identity Groups in School Policies” that tackles this issue head-on and that also includes a sample policy that schools can use to show to the Ministry of Education, public, and parents alike that our policy against all bullying (without singling out some groups) is far superior than what is being espoused. We have sent 10 copies of this booklet to each of the Reformed schools across Canada.
If you are a part of a private school community, please take the time to read this booklet and consider why it is so important that we draw a line and govern our schools in a way that is faithful to Scripture and truly in the best interests of our children. Find a copy here. And feel free to share it with other schools that may be interested.
You are encouraged to become familiar with the language used in articulating a Christian response. By making them your own, it becomes easier to engage when the Lord presents opportunities.
Human dignity is not first found in autonomous choices or in various group identities. Christians know that human dignity is bestowed by God on all persons. We have dignity as humans because we are all His special creation, made in His image.
When Christians encounter another person, we first see, (or we ought to first see), not skin colour, not gender, not disability, not sexual orientation. Rather, we see someone made in the image of our Maker, we see the Imago Dei.
ARPA Canada will do our best, with the limited time and resources we have, to be of assistance to the Reformed education community in Alberta (and when possible, the broader private school community) as they seek to respond effectively to the upcoming legislation.
Please stay tuned for future calls to action. Most of all, please pray! Pray for a softening of hearts within the governing party, including Minister Eggen. Pray also for courage for MLAs to stand up and oppose these efforts to undermine parental responsibilities and relationships.
ARPA’s Legal Counsel John Sikkema and Executive Director Mark Penninga will be touring through Alberta in two weeks, the Lord willing, with five presentations. Please join us and invite others from your community to come as well.