Getting the language wrong
Note: As Part Four of this series explains, education is within provincial jurisdiction; however, much of the funding comes from federal coffers. More important: what happens in Canada’s schools is a matter of national concern-parents in other jurisdictions must be warned about corruption of the process anywhere in the country. Right now, BC is reaping the bitter fruit of careless legislation, and the even-more-bitter fruit of duplicity and behind-the-scenes manipulation of what should be public business.
In 1986, British Columbia’s Social Credit government-which included several Christians in its cabinet-made a major philosophical blunder. The error could perhaps be attributed to the declining condition of public education in BC (and, indeed, across Canada), reflected in the fact that when the MLAs voted, they did not understand subtle differences between the words secular and non-sectarian.
The BC government, rewriting the province’s School Act, wanted to ensure that public education in BC remained non-sectarian in character. But what they actually wrote was a law that mandates: “public education in BC must be secular.”
There’s a huge difference!
Three years later, the UK Parliament also revised its Public Education Act: while retaining the non-sectarian character of public education, it also specified that public education must be “essentially Christian in character.”
The Mother of Parliaments recognized that Christianity is a culture-shaping faith, not limited to or by its various sects (e.g., Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic, etc.). In the House of Lords, the representative of the UK’s Jewish community affirmed the change: Lord Rabbi Emmanuel Jakobovitz said that he recognized the social value of a Christian culture.
“The enemy of Judaism is not Christianity,” declared Lord Jakobovitz, “it is militant Secularism.” The rabbi was right.