Letter: Small town secular education


I was surprised and excited to learn of the recent changes that could be made to the legislative act to bring true public, secular education to our tiny community of Legal. The common thinking has been that our town was too small to support it, which was obviously mostly an excuse but one that we’d heard so many times that it seemed pointless to argue, at least until the situation in Morinville and St. Albert could be resolved. I am so proud of the parents and legislators that understand that being from a small community does not make the rights of our children any less valid than those from larger metropolitan areas. To ignore our children’s right to this education simply enforces the stereotype of small town people as resistant to change, old-fashioned, and obstinate.

In reading about the proposed bill I came across the following comment: “History has been changed because a few people are anti Christ. Wow. There was a Historical Reason things are the way they are and now that History has been destroyed thanks to the few imposing their ways on the majority. Very disgusting indeed.” This is an opinion I run up against constantly and this is how I responded: “This implies that Christians are the majority. But is that based on fact or assumption? And if it is indeed fact, I seriously doubt it’s an overwhelming majority. Just because I am not a Christian in no way makes me “anti-Christ” and it’s not particularly “Christian” of you to paint us all as such. And by “us” I’m referring to ANYONE that isn’t Christian: Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists… It’s a long list of people, of parents with children in those schools. Hence my doubting the idea of Christians as an overwhelming majority. I’m a strong proponent of learning from the excellent morality stories included in many religions. But there is a BIG difference between learning from history (whether documented in religious texts or otherwise) and the lessons learned there, and indoctrinating my child in a religion that is not my own.”

Not sharing a group’s faith does not make me, and certainly not my children, “disgusting” and it’s disheartening to see us described as such. At the very least I hope with everything I’ve got that this legislation DOES pass so that the assumptions being constantly lobbed our way can be disproven.

Leah Elzinga
mom of 2 and cheerful atheist

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  1. While I am a Christian, in a couple of ways :-P, I believe that anyone that tells you that you’re disgusting because you don’t believe as they or I do is totally in the wrong. Everyone is entitled to believe as they choose. This doesn’t make you disgusting. It makes you human. Whoever wrote that anti-Christ comment should really give their head a shake. On a little side note, I would like to point out that any religion that believes in Christ is considered Christian, at least that’s my understanding of the term. They vary in their individual beliefs from there.

  2. Congratulations towards a good first step.

    I look forward to the day when all children may attend school to learn without mention of deities or religions. Not being pre-dispositioned towards ancient myths allows for a greater appreciation of our continuing development of understanding of the universe.

    We have such a wonderful world; our children should be free to know it with trust in themselves and their own abilities, and without a need for any gods.

    I am an atheist, I am a good person, and I learn more about the world every day.

  3. To suggest that religion and science are mutually exclusive is inane. There are many highly intelligent and capable people who have faith in God and still make great strides in science. Your comments just don’t make any sense John.

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