November 23, 2007

Update: Book Bans at Catholic Boards

This morning's Toronto Star is reporting that the Dufferin-Peel Catholic school board has also decided to do a review of the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy by Philip Pullman. This follows on the heels of the Halton Catholic board and which I commented about yesterday. Hopefully this will only be a temporary issue and will become moot sooner than later.

As I talked about in my last post, banning these books, due to their theme, will likely end up doing the opposite of the intentions. It will draw more attention to the books by your own students and will raise questions about the security of your beliefs. Maybe not enough to bring down the Church but the effects will still be there.

Furthermore, with the Catholic boards being publicly funded and mandated under the government, there is absolutely no reason censorship of a book should be allowed. To quote a quote from the Toronto Star article,

"My firm belief is this, that as a parent you have the right to say that your child cannot read a book. But as a parent, you don't have the right to say nobody else's child can read that book."
And as part of a public education system, they should not be making arbitrary decisions that are an affront to the relevant mandates that are set before them.

During the last provincial election the Catholic school board was oddly quiet. This had a lot to do with the public debate about whether we should continue to fund only Catholic education or all religions or none, through public means. The sense I gathered was that people generally fell on the 'none' side. That gives a perspective to the Catholic system being generally silent. They didn't want to draw unnecessary attention to themselves. If these boards decide to ban the book and set a precedent for other Catholic boards, they will draw that unnecessary attention to themselves and I doubt public opinion will be in their favour.

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Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)

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