Mad dogs and religious men

Two troubling things in the news today:

First, Ontario conservative party leader John Tory wants to fund religious schools.

Taxpayers should fund Islamic, Hindu, Jewish and other faith-based schools just like public and Catholic ones, Opposition Leader John Tory says.

If I thought there was any more to this than shameless pandering for votes I’d be concerned. The trouble is, it’s hard to justify not having an Islamic or Hindu school system as long as the senseless Catholic school system still exists. If no Catholic school board existed, the Ontario government could simply fall back on rationality and common sense; as it is, they look like hypocrites.

Second, the Michael Vick situation. For those who don’t know the story, Vick — star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons — has been indicted on dogfighting charges. The ensuing backlash against Vick has been fierce, from protesters outside Falcons headquarters to the NFL commissioner barring Vick from training camp.

Now, it’s no secret I’m an animal lover. The idea of dogfighting turns my stomach. If Michael Vick is found guilty of this, then I hope they hang him by his thumbs and leave him to rot in prison. But…he hasn’t been found guilty. He’s been indicted, and while the evidence seems damning, no verdict has been handed down. Until then, Michael Vick is innocent. PETA, who I usually support pretty strongly, is getting a little ahead of itself here:

The NFL said Vick would be continue to be paid. PETA took issue with that policy. “Vick should not be paid to sit at home and work on his defense,” the organization said.

In fact, that’s exactly what he should be paid to do. You can’t terminate someone because of accusations or trials. You terminate him if he’s found guilty. And if that happens, every last penny of his hard-earned money should be donated to animal shelters. Vick won’t need it behind bars.

[tags]john tory, religious schools, michael vick, PETA[/tags]

0 responses to “Mad dogs and religious men

  1. John Tory deserves great respect for standing up for principle, in his pledge to extend fair funding to non-Catholic faith-based schools. With only 53,000 children affected, compared with over 650,000 attending fully funded Catholic schools, his initiative is clearly a matter of fairness rather than votes.

    It is disappointing that Premier McGuinty has stood up to oppose the provision of fairness for non-Catholic minorities, particularly in light of the fact that his father, the late Dalton McGuinty Senior, was such a passionate advocate for public funding for independent alternative schools, including all faith-based schools. These schools already exist today, and bringing them into the public system will increase integration, and ensure appropriate regulation, while solving a longstanding gross unfairness. The families in question pay full education taxes so money is not an issue.

  2. If true fairness is really the aim, shouldn’t the answer be eliminating public funding of faith-based schools? Can lumping exclusive entities together with inclusive entities really be considered true integration?

    I’m not defending the existence of a Catholic school board. Quite the opposite, I think it’s an absurd legacy. I just don’t believe the solution lies in trying to equalize the absurdity.

  3. I don’t know what you mean by “true integration”, but that is certainly not the sole aim of education funding. In this country we talk about multiculturalism. Well, multiculturalism doesn’t drop from the sky. Cultures need to be taught, or they disappear.

    Sure, you can tell parents that if they really want their kids to learn their culture they should go back to their country — but that seems a bit short sighted. Integration happens just fine, believe me. I went to a privately-funded religious school, and also played amateur hockey, attended a university, got a job … all the many other things that also promote integration. And you know what? Having gone to a religious school taught me enough about my culture that it allowed me to have something unique to contribute in most of those other settings.

    The downside was that, with four kids in the family, my parents had to pay for tuition instead of doing things like buying nice clothes or taking a vacation (something we never did). That’s why John Tory’s plan makes sense to me. Integration? Sure, it’s important. But so is transmitting cultures; and, for all that you may believe that you don’t need schools to do that, I have seen the difference, and it is pretty dramatic. Integration happens all over the place. Education is about so much more than that.

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