Burnaby: Oh… well then neither can we, apparently

Well clearly I spoke too soon:

A group that opposed a Burnaby school policy intended to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students is urging parents to pull their children from classroom lessons that offend their morals. The Parents’ Voice is distributing a form letter for members to complete and send to their schools requesting “alternative delivery” of lessons “that may in any way undermine our moral convictions with regards to non-heterosexual inclinations and/or behaviours.”

I was speaking with a friend recently about the idea of “death throes”. She asked me if I thought we were seeing a swing toward hyper-religiosity in light of developments in the United States and a mirror of that movement here in Canada. I posited that it seemed to me to be more of a desperation move (a “Hail Mary pass” if you’ll forgive the pun) of an ideology that has been left behind. Society has seen the flaws in religion, and is beginning to move past it. The religious establishment is getting busy trying to re-establish its relevance, but it’s too late for that. It’s a tantrum thrown by a child after she’s lost a game – all the tears and screams in the world can’t change the past.

This reaction from this parental group is just another such tantrum – ‘give my kid dissenting information, will you? Well I’ll show you!’ Pulling kids out of classes only hurts the kids – they’ll still learn about pro-gay attitudes from interactions with their peers. They will learn that there are other ways of looking at the world besides your stone-age mythology, and they’ll start to ask questions. Unless you’re going to erect a wall around your child and refuse to let any dissenting information in (a la Fox news), then you’re fighting a battle that isn’t just losing – it’s already lost.

The Parents’ Voice insists schools have a legal obligation to accommodate cultural, religious or ethical differences, and says Burnaby acknowledged that obligation earlier this year when it approved a policy allowing students to opt out of animal dissections in science classes.

I remember when there was a flap about frog dissection in my biology class back in high school. Kids were indeed allowed to opt out and learn anatomy another way. You know what happened to those kids? They didn’t learn the stuff properly.

Besides, there is one very important issue that is being overlooked here. Nobody is saying to the parents “you’re not allowed to tell your son or daughter that gay people are abominations and should not be accepted.” You can teach your kids whatever hateful bullshit you want in the privacy of your home. However, you don’t have the right to demand that the rest of us play your insulation game. Just as parents will be wrong about math, language, history, and science, they will be wrong about ethics. The schools have an obligation to teach, to the best of their ability, the truth. If your world view is hostile to the truth that LGBT people are not disordered or sinful, then that’s your problem.

Funnily, it’s usually parents of this mindset that trumpet the idea of “teach both sides” when it comes to things like evolution and the origins of the universe (as though there were only two sides, and that those two sides have equal evidence supporting them). It’s funny to see how hostile they are to having “both sides” taught when it’s something they disagree with.

Enjoy your tantrum, Burnaby. It’ll be the last time anyone pays attention to you.

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  1. says

    The timing of this seems worthy of attention: school is out for the summer.

    Threats to pull your child out of class when the next class is 2 months away are either empty because you know this issue will die down over that time, or empty because these parents are too stupid to remember this tantrum in two months.

    My bet is on the second option. They’ll spaz out all over again in about October, or whenever a teacher actually implements this improvement and takes advantage of a teaching opportunity. I’m expecting some fraction of these asshole parents will start repeating, without any sense of irony nor deja-vu, their hysterics from today when one of their bigoted little offspring comes home all butthurt over a teacher scolding them for taunting the boy who talks funny, or the girl with short hair.

    I think your hypothesis that this is a death-throw or useless tantrum is probably correct. But I might just be really hopeful that this is the case.

  2. Riptide says

    Have you ever noticed that these people *never* elucidate their supposedly-sacred ‘values’ and ‘moral convictions’ that they want to uphold? They’re ashamed to even own their homophobia, and yet they want it enshrined as a standard practice for *everyone’s* children. It’s hilarious and sad all at once.

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