Onoes, the religious are being bullied by Gay-Straight Alliances in Canada!!

In Ontario, there’s apparently been a bit of a row over school anti-bullying clubs naming themselves Gay-Straight Alliance, or something similar. The row comes mostly from the Catholic schools — naturally — where the proposed clubs are denied on the basis that they have the word “gay” in them, where these Catholic schools consider homosexuality to be evil, sinful, et cetera. The provincial government is debating amending the education laws surrounding anti-bullying initiatives in such a way to prevent schools from denying these clubs’ existences, so an archbishop threw a shit-fit.

“Why is a piece of provincial legislation being used to micromanage the naming of student clubs?” he said.

On Friday, the Liberal government at Queen’s Park said it would introduce legislation that would require all schools to accept clubs by that name.

“Why are Catholics not free to design their own methods to fight bullying, and provide personal support to students, as long as they attain the common goal of a welcoming and supportive school?” said a statement from the bishop earlier on Monday.

Oh… I don’t know… maybe because you’re not being welcoming and supporting by denying homosexuals’ existence by sweeping them under the rug? That, maybe, just maybe, might not create a welcoming and supportive school to them! That might just, in fact, be entrenching the bullying into school policy.

The debate rages onward regardless.

It is not that the clergymen are in any way supportive of bullying. What they object to is that Bill 13, the accepting schools act, gives “particular emphasis” to “LGBTTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, two-spirited, intersexed, queer and questioning) people.” They also oppose a particular clause that would enable students to call anti-bullying groups they form at school a “gay-straight alliance.”

And this week the archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, spoke out against the new amendments, writing that “all forms of bullying need to be addressed, and all victims of bullying need to be helped.”

In that vein, he said, “it is not helpful to propose one particular way, such as the one commonly called GSA.

Emphasis mine.

So telling Catholic schools that they’re not allowed to discriminate against a specifically named sort of group, explicitly protecting them from the sort of bigotry of which only your schools are guilty of, is legislating “one particular way”?

No, you religiously-motivated bigots. It is in fact legislating that you’re not allowed to be bigoted against a number of different groups, explicitly naming the one sort of group you’re trying to quash. This is just another instance of the religious using their privilege to defend their right to be bigoted toward a particular group of people, and calling it “bullying” when they themselves are told to stop.

Hat tip to Uncle Glenny. Sorry that you have to wade through this nonsense yet again.

Onoes, the religious are being bullied by Gay-Straight Alliances in Canada!!

26 thoughts on “Onoes, the religious are being bullied by Gay-Straight Alliances in Canada!!

  1. 1

    Fantastic post.

    The absurdity of it all. Originally, when all schools were religious (Protestant) in nature back in the day, there was a need for Catholic schools to stop bullying.

    Now the Protestant schools are all secular and the Catholic ones hang on to tradition and tax dollars. The quote from the archbishop, “Why is a piece of provincial legislation being used to micromanage the naming of student clubs?” is particularly rich. One can well ask, “Why is a school board policy being used to micromanage the naming of student clubs” right back at the Archbishop.

  2. 2

    Nice to see someone touch on this its a real pain following it. This whole thing shouldn’t even be an issue… cause we shouldn’t have a public catholic school board but it’ll be decades to fix that.

  3. 3

    The journey of several decades starts with one public backlash against a religious bigot. This should at the very least wreck their public funding, if I had my way.

  4. 4


    Because GSA/LGBT groups are VERY effective in not only stopping bullying, but in negating/counteracting the negative effects of bullying. They allow marginalized individuals to form their own communities negating much of the impact of social bullying. It increases the power of the marginalized individual, allowing them to “fight back” in their own way.

    And that’s why they oppose this. Marginalization is a powerful weapon for them. Always has been, always will be.

  5. 8

    Good Googling, MichaelD.

    Well, there’s another piece of evidence that the Catholic religious hierarchy don’t actually speak for their laity when they make vast and sweeping proclamations about what Catholics, in general, believe. Just like their proclamations on birth control despite 90% of their flock using it.

  6. 9

    Yes my google fu is strong ;p.

    Ok fun little story…. my mother a few years ago went back to school to become a public school teacher.

    She told relayed stories of people in teachers college going to the local catholic churches and starting to attend service etc. Not because they particularly believed in Catholicism but because if they played along well enough they double the potential hiring market after they graduate. Which is particularly important right now as it can take years for new teachers to get full time contracts.

    So given that I’m not terribly surprised that catholic school teachers aren’t necessarily as up in the dogma as one might expect. Not that most Catholics are very dogmatic either.

  7. 10

    “Why are Catholics not free to design their own methods to fight bullying, and provide personal support to students, as long as they attain the common goal of a welcoming and supportive school?”

    Because you’re publicly funded, you prick.

  8. 13

    First, I want to start out by saying that I do not at all support the Catholic School Board’s stance on this. If it’s a student group, the students should be allowed to use any reasonable name for it that they want. Denying them the name they’ve chosen (which is a reasonable one) is ridiculous.

    Second, I want to address the tax issue. In Ontario, local school boards are funded primarily by property tax and then topped up (if needed) by the province. The York Catholic School Board puts it nicely: http://www.ycdsb.ca/departments/admissions/separateschoolsupport.htm. So, if you are Catholic or you want your children to attend a Catholic school, then yes, your tax dollars are going to the Catholic school board. The same goes for Alberta – we got a form after buying our house that asked us which school board we would like to support.

    Note: Jason’s province of residence does not currently have any Catholic school boards. In fact, I don’t recall there being one there the entire time I lived there – we more had issues with the French vs English school boards.

  9. 15

    The money that the province hands out to the school boards comes from regionally collected property tax. So if Joe and Mary Catholic lived in an Atlantic province, their money would go to a secular school. If they were in Alberta, it would go to a Catholic school (in the district they live in). If they live in Ontario and they want little Jess to attend a Catholic school – regardless of their religion – their money would be going to a Catholic school (in the district they live in).

    Where your tax dollars come in is if the funds collected from property tax fall short. When that happens, the provincial government forks over some of your hard earned cash and calls it a school year. When they do this, they don’t care where it came from. Of all the provinces that fund religious schools, Quebec has the best method: they’ll partially fund you if you teach their curriculum.

    Frankly, since the money technically comes from the province, then the province can certainly give them guidelines for behaviour…and I’d expect them to be the same across all types of school no matter what the trustees/parents/students/staff believe.

    Here I must stop because the baby (who will be attending a secular school in 4 years)will not stay asleep and if I wait for him to settle, I’ll be up all night.

  10. 16

    For an afternoon of fun /head meet desk reading see these links that spell it all out.

    NOTE Archbishop Collins is not just a Toronto guy — he is the president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario and speaks/writes on their behalf (i.e on behalf of all the bishops of Ontario)

    1. Collins as President, Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario

    2. Collins as Toronto’s Archbishop

    3. Hamilton Catholic School Board big document that is largely a scanned copy of the Bishops of Ontario document: see especially page 21 bullet 8 for irony/hypocrisy

    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
    Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church issued on October 1, 1986.

    5. Assembly of Catholic Bishops Of Ontario Church Teaching on Sexual Morality

  11. 17

    “The money that the province hands out to the school boards comes from regionally collected property tax.” Umm… how is property tax not tax money from the general public…. Note I actually live in ontario. If its only property tax from catholic going towards it then it should be allowed that property tax from any religious group that wants to set up schools gets the same opportunity.

  12. 18

    Since the name of the club seems to be the problem, why not rename the clubs “Cheerful-Linear Alliance”. That way the dreaded “G-word” isn’t used. That should make everybody happy. Or at least “cheerful”.

  13. 19

    MichaelD, you’re right on that Ontario should allow any religious groups to do the same thing.

    How it works is that the province has the city (or county) add on a little to your property tax to pay for schools. That money goes to school boards to disperse amongst the schools. Because you can assign your money to either the the secular school board or the Catholic school board, you can choose who that money is supporting. It’s the top-up money that comes from the general public (not from property tax but from the provincial portion of HST or from provincial income tax). That’s the money we have no control over. What I’m trying to point out is that the money from the general public isn’t that 100% of the support that people are making it out to be.

    Here’s the Calgary school support FAQ: http://www.calgary.ca/CA/fs/Pages/Property-Tax/School-Support.aspx. Note how on Jason’s link it said that in Alberta they pay “Full funding to faith-based and charter public school boards” and on this one Calgary only lets you choose between secular and Catholic? I don’t know if Edmonton (or any other area in Alberta) has any school boards that aren’t secular or Catholic but chances are there aren’t any. Instead there are stand alone schools that either have to go private (and get up to 60% funding…which I dislike) or get themselves connected to the secular school board – which I’m not sure they can do. What it boils down to is that Alberta is no different than Ontario, but they have at least worded things to make it look like they’re supportive of all religions. Good ol’ lip service.

    What the rest of the country needs to do is exactly what the Atlantic provinces or Quebec has done. Make them private and then not fund them or partially fund them based on following curriculum. Then, make equality and support for ALL students a requirement of their charters. This whole separate school board thing has grown old and needs a revamp. Besides, the reason for the two school systems – “Catholics in what was to become Ontario did not want their children following the Protestant practice of Bible studies in school, while Protestants in Quebec did not want their children learning Roman Catholic dogma.” (from Jason’s link again) – isn’t really there any more. The Protestant schools are now secular and many of the Catholic schools have cut back on the dogma in order to attract students of other faiths and thereby increase their funding.

    Giving them their separate school boards allows them to pull crap like this. Saying they won’t allow the club because there are other people being bullied who need help too is ridiculous.
    Make an anti-bullying club for everyone AND allow the Gay-Straight Alliance for those who need the extra support.

  14. 22

    I’m originally from Ontario, and I attended a Catholic high school. I wrote about this topic and my own high school experience at my own blog. While the curriculum might have changed since I was there, some of the Catholic church’s bigotry was written right into my grade 9 religion textbook. Some teachers might be in favour of the legislation that the Ontario government is proposing, which is great, but there are other teachers in the Catholic school system that will penalize students for taking a pro-LGBTQ stance in the classroom. Even if there aren’t students or staff members actively seeking out gay students and making their lives miserable, make no mistake, Catholic schools are not gay-friendly environments.

    (My experience, of course, was clouded by my own heterosexual privilege. I’d be interested in hearing the experiences of not-straight students in Catholic schools.)

    My younger brother will be starting grade 9 at a Catholic high school this fall. I’d love to get my hands on his religion textbook.

    Regardless of how these schools are funded- through property taxes or income taxes or HST or whatever- this is a school system I absolutely don’t want my tax dollars to support. Furthermore, it’s wasteful. Catholic schools will need their own school boards, which costs public money. School buses will need to transport students in one area to two schools, and likely need to travel father to get to the closest Catholic school. Catholic schools will have chaplaincy staff. They’ll need to develop and then teach a religions curriculum. And there are probably plenty of other things I didn’t think of that cost money, money that could be saved if the system was abolished. Considering the financial situation Ontario is in, I’m quite surprised that stopping public funding for Catholic schools wasn’t suggested when they were looking for ways to save money.

  15. 23

    When I lived in the Ottawa area in the 1990s, we had four school systems to choose from, public/Catholic and for each of those, English/French instruction.

    This meant 4 sets of school buses going by every day. There was talk of merging some of the buses over the years, but it seemed to be difficult to actually implement.

    I hope someday sanity will prevail, but that won’t happen until the priests lose their power over their herds of sheep.

  16. 24

    What a sad shower of bigots you are, mabye when they stop using state funds to fund abortions that many people religious and non-religious alike do not support, which should be a private cost to the individual, mabye when they do that, mabye when they stop funding useless embyro stem cell research and use adult stem cells u will have a right to moan about state funding, but I say freedom to education, and one of a religious nature is a right you bigots. Out of the tax payers pocket, because the parents would not have the money to pay for the education out of their own pocket, you fuckers want an end to free schools, well you fucking conservative morally liberal scum can bugger off.

    Religious privelage doesn’t exist, but secular prevelage most certainly does with demonic hollywood and MTV, and most newspapers and anti-religious laws being passed, you guys are all for so called “freedom” yet you don’t extend that to people having concentious objections on religious reasons for things like performing abortion, when that is only a tiny part of being in health care and which can be reasonly done by someone who has a less amount of moral reservation about it. But probably support a stantanists right to object to being put in jail for murder on the same grounds of “tolerance” and “concentious objections” which you don’t do for other mainstream religions like christianity and Islam.

    You probably think a gay club has the right to not higher someone to position of accountant or similar, on account of their sexuality being heterosexual, what total hypocritic propaganda merchants. And the Bishop is right ALL bullying should be regarded as wrong, not just homeosexual bullying, no doubt if a white straight male is being bullied by a gay male you would just laugh and say he deserves it because of his colour, religion, sex and or sexuality, you pricks seriously don’t recognise that when something is wrong it is wrong, even if the prepatraotor happens to come from a group who traditionally were oppressed.

  17. 25

    Wow one of the crazies has learned how to use paragraphs, never thought I’d see the day. It’s kind of like that scene in Land of the Dead where one of the zombies picks up a gun.

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