Friday, November 25, 2016

Canadian Court Refuses Parent's Religious Accommodation Request

In E.T. v. Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, (ON Super. Ct. Jus., Nov. 23, 2016), an Ontario (Canada) trial court rejected an attempt by the father of two elementary school students to require his children's school to notify him in advance of specific curriculum areas being taught to his children so he could withdraw them from classes, lessons or activities that conflict with his Greek Orthodox religious beliefs.  The father contended that he has an obligation to protect his children from "false teachings," including moral relativism and issues surrounding human sexuality. While the school had a religious accommodation guideline and the parent had shown a sincere religious belief as to matters of marriage and sexuality that are inconsistent with the school's curriculum, the court upheld the school's refusal to grant his requested accommodation, saying in part:
Accommodation by non-attendance, which is sought by the applicant, would allow him to isolate his children from aspects of the curriculum that in his religious belief would amount to "false teachings". However isolation is antithetical to the competing legislative mandate and Charter values favoring inclusivity, equality and multiculturalism.
LifeSite News reports on the decision.