The Quebec Ministry of Education requires its schools to teach a Religion & Ethics course, and that it be taught from a secular/neutral perspective (ie. an explicitly Christian perspective is prohibited). A private Catholic high school, Loyola, wants to opt out of this restriction. After various legal battles (at one level the school won but this was overturned) it is now going to be heard by the Supreme Court. (For websites with more details see end of email.)
This might sound familiar - in May 2011 a similar case was heard and you might remember that through KWCHEA we organized a month of prayer and fasting. In that instance, Christian parents took the Ministry of Education to court to be allowed to exempt their public-school children from this mandatory course.
The outcome of the 2011 case (the result was announced Feb 2012) was that those parents were not allowed to exempt their kids from the course. This, of course, was a disappointment. HOWEVER, the language of the Supreme Court judgement was very specific. The refusal of the exemption was for that particular course at that particular time. The door was left open for future discussion if (say) the course changed. Although that outcome was not what we hoped for, it could have been much worse. For instance, the Supreme Court could have ruled that across Canada, from then on, all ethics/religious instruction be secular/neutral, in all educational settings (public, private, homeschool). In fact, I think it is quite striking that this didn't happen - the Supreme Court Justices must have realized this sort of thing would come up again and this would have been a great opportunity to establish a binding precedent for all future situations (think of the taxpayer money that would save!) - yet for some reason they didn't do that. I'm convinced that was God at work in answer to our prayers.
So we now have another opportunity to intercede. (At one point I confess I was tempted not to bother - after all the effort last time, to not have the parents' freedom upheld was discouraging. However, Jesus did tell a parable specifically so that we would "pray and not give up" (Luke 18:1-8) and I think it is interesting that after the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray, he first teaches them the Lord's prayer and the very next thing is a (different) parable about persistence. (Luke 11) There is an excerpt here www.ccel.org/ccel/torrey/pray.i_1.ix.html about the importance of persevering prayer.)
I would like to again organize 30 days of prayer and the fasting of individual meals leading up to the Court hearing. The first day would be Feb. 23 and the final day March 24. If you would like to give up a meal please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org (please specify date & which meal). If each person agreed to fast 1 meal that would only require 90 people. (I am not a fasting expert by any means, but there are many examples of prayer & fasting in the Bible; sometimes fasting is necessary (Mark 9:29).
Even if you do not fast please consider praying. Here are some suggestions:
- that the name of God be glorified in every step of the process (John 12:28)
- that if there is any hindrance to the Lord hearing our prayers (sin, lack of consecration etc) that the Holy Spirit would reveal it, convict us and incline our hearts to obedience (Psalm 66:18)
- that the Lord would move the hearts of the Supreme Court Justices to continue to allow overtly Christian education in Canada (Proverbs 21:1"The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases.")
- for the salvation of any involved in the process who might not be Christian, including the judges. They are:
• The Right Honourable Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, P.C.
• The Honourable Mr. Justice Louis LeBel
• The Honourable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella
• The Honourable Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein
• The Honourable Mr. Justice Thomas Albert Cromwell
• The Honourable Mr. Justice Michael J. Moldaver
• The Honourable Madam Justice Andromache Karakatsanis
• The Honourable Mr. Justice Richard Wagner
• The Honourable Mr. Justice Marc Nadon
- for all the people arguing this case on March 24 - for our Christian brothers & sisters intervening in the case, that the Holy Spirit would tell them what to say (Matthew 10:19-20) and for those "against" us, that they would turn to the Lord.
"As a Father, God finds His greatest pleasure in relieving the wants and granting the desires of His children. Prayer is the child's request, not to the winds, nor to the world, but to the Father...Prayer is the seeking of God's great and greatest good, which will not come if we do not pray" (E.M.Bounds)
**Websites with more detail about the above court case:**
You can read the Supreme Court website summary here: www.scc-csc.gc.ca/case-dossier/info/sum-som-eng.aspx?cas=35201
A Catholic organization summary here: www.bccatholic.ca/canadian/3333-catholic-civil-rights-league-seeks-leave-to-intervene-in-loyola-case
A Protestant organization summary here: http://arpacanada.ca/issuesresearch/education10/1825-christian-school-case-going-to-the-supreme-court
HSLDA summary here: http://www.hslda.ca/blog/ongoing_support_important?year=&month=&page=5
**Articles to convince you of the significance of this issue :) in case you think it is no big deal and that religious freedoms in Canada are completely safe:**