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Not your imagination, jews hate our Saviour

To Subvert a Society: It Is What They Do Best!

Not your imagination, jews hate our Saviour

Postby Les » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:43 am

I always wondered why The Lord's Prayer disappeared when I was in high school, and replaced with hindu and other sorts of gibberish.

By: Bernie Farber Published on Mon Apr 20 2015

It feels like Groundhog Day in the Supreme Court. Like the Ontario courts more than a quarter century ago, early last week the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that a Saguenay, Que. town council’s recitation of the Lord’s Prayer prior to its meetings is unconstitutional.

Writing on behalf of the court, Justice Clément Gascon pointedly noted, “Sponsorship of one religious tradition by the state in breach of its duty of neutrality amounts to discrimination against all other such traditions.”

The decision by Canada’s highest court is no real surprise. We’ve heard it all before. This contentious issue has been with us for decades. Indeed, as the only Jewish student in my Ottawa elementary school in the late 1950s I recall having to remain seated when all the others in my class rose to recite the “Our Father.” It was hard enough being Jewish but having to sit out the Lord’s Prayer gave more ammunition to the bullies who used anti-Semitism as a battering ram in the schoolyard.

Decades later as I began work with Canadian Jewish Congress in 1984, ironically, one of the key issues on our agenda was working toward the elimination of Christian bible study and the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in Ontario public schools.

It was undoubtedly a dispute fraught with tension and passion especially in a province that funded Catholic schools and where the “public school system” was still viewed as the purview of Protestant Ontario.

Nonetheless the battle was engaged and by 1988 a court case was winding its way through the system based on a complaint by public school teacher Philip Zylberberg of Sudbury, Ont. It would set the stage for years to come on the issue of public prayer in Ontario.

The Ontario Court of Appeal heard arguments from a slew of interveners, including CJC, B’nai Brith Canada and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association all arguing in favour of abolishing the long-held practice of opening the public school day reciting what was unarguably a Christian prayer.

Similar to what occurred last week in the Supreme Court, the Ontario Court of Appeal unanimously agreed that imposing the Lord’s Prayer as part of Ontario public school opening exercises infringed the right to freedom of religion as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It held that communal recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the classroom would in fact place undue pressure or hardship on children who are not part of the Christian classroom majority. The Court noted that their decision took into account the fact that exemptions, though allowed for non-Christian children, were no salve to the real pressure to conform.

It was a wise move by the court. It levelled the playing field in Ontario public schools and created a schoolyard where children were no longer centred out for their minority faith. As importantly, the Zylberberg decision reinforced the notion that our province was no longer a single-minded entity.

In fact, it gave expression to a real change that embraced pluralism and multiculturalism as Canada’s set characteristics and, to be sure, in the months and years to follow other provinces and jurisdictions followed suit. It was, many believed, not just the right thing to do but long in coming.

Yet the changes in policy adopted by Canada’s public schools were not necessarily embraced by other public institutions. While the Courts were clear in that the imposition of a majority faith action in the public sphere was unconstitutional, many municipal councils across Canada still began their meetings with the Lord’s Prayer. Like the public schools of yesteryear, councils did permit exemptions and from time to time a prayer from another faith was heard in conjunction with the Lord’s Prayer.

It wasn’t until 1999 when George Freitag, an atheist, challenged the Penetanguishene town council on its Lord’s Prayer practice that some councils changed their tune.

Indeed, as in the Zylberberg case, the Ontario Court of Appeal unanimously held that the council’s practice was not only unconstitutional but that public institutions could not pressure the minority to conform to majority religious practice.

Incredibly, 15 years later, the same fight continues to be fought, now in front of the Supreme Court of Canada, which mirrored decisions in both Zylberberg and Freitag to stop a Quebec town council from opening its sessions with the Lord’s Prayer. Even more sadly, Mayor John Gray of Oshawa is stubbornly refusing to change the practice in his municipality to conform to the law.

Surely in 2015 we should expect town councils and our elected municipal officials not to act like dinosaurs of a time long past but to embrace equality and the need to ensure we are all treated with dignity and respect.

Bernie Farber, a former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, writes on human and civil rights matters. He is currently senior vice-president of Gemini Power Corp.
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