A win for secularism and free speech was won in an Ontario court today.
Three years ago, Mr. Choinard, a Grimsby, Ont. father decided to protest against the handing out of Gideon bibles to the resident grade 5 students. Since the school board refused to stop handing out the religious material, Mr. Choinard decided to propose handing out the book: “Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children”, to those same students.
Of course, the religious couldn’t have that. They told him that he wasn’t allowed to hand out his book, and so they took a trip to court.
Today the court ruled:
Atheism is a creed deserving of the the same religious protections as Christianity, Islam, and other faiths, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ruled in a new decision.
“Protection against discrimination because of religion, in my view, must include protection of the applicants’ belief that there is no deity,” wrote David A. Wright, associate chair of the commission, in an August 13 decision.
Of course! That’s common freaking sense. You can’t have freedom of religion if you don’t have freedom from religion. You can’t protect religious freedom, if you don’t have the right not to believe in mythological nonsense.
The decision also said:
“The policy was discriminatory because its definition of acceptable materials violated substantive equality by excluding the kinds of materials central to many creeds,” reads the decision.
Not only did it block Atheist texts, wrote the Tribunal, but texts by Falun Gong and other “emerging or non-traditional creeds.” The decision also noted that some creeds, such as Native Spiritual Beliefs, do not even have texts.
I know it shocked me to read that Christians felt so entitled that they thought they could hand out their books and spread their cult by trying to close out discussion about any other belief, philosophy or religion.
This Canadian would like to thank Mr. Choinard.
I wish everyone would just stop trying to convert children at school. They have enough on their plate without being bombarded by people trying to indoctrinate them. If they want to learn about religion, work on getting a comparative religion class, or go to church or read about it on the internet. There’s lots of options for learning about religion that don’t include proselytizing at a public school.
It's only a matter of time, I fear, before Christians start whining about this decision, and start saying that this proves atheism is a religion.
It's not. That doesn't mean people who don't believe in God don't deserve the same protections under the law as those who do believe in a deity.