Picture
While working on my memoirs, I've been VERY confused by one major issue that strikes me to the core. Everyone tells me how liberal Canada is with it's Socialist politics (more so than the United States), and I have certainly understood this as an adult in present-day. However, I cannot shake the FACT that in 1986, the public school I attended in Newmarket, Ontario was still practicing school prayer and even Bible Reading. Uh-huh. Yeah. TRUTH, and documented in my diaries. It was at a PUBLIC SCHOOL. We were reading the Bible and reciting the Lord's Prayer to open the school day. Along with this we also sang the Canadian National Anthem, both in english and french (yes, mornings were busy). None of this seemed strange to me in the least. I was raised in a Christian household and went to church almost every single Sunday. No biggie. Seemed totally normal...
... until I moved to the States.
Which is ULTRA strange, considering my family moved from Ontario, Canada to the BIBLE BELT. Living in North Carolina, where there is a Baptist Church on every corner, Bible-reading was forbidden in school, as well as reciting the Lord's Prayer. There was only the Pledge of Allegiance recited, which at least mentioned God. The more I tell people this story, the more confused looks I get back, and I am accused of getting my facts wrong. "You must have gone to a Christian school, then." No. "Maybe you were at the last school in Canada practicing freedom of religion in public schools?" Maybe. So I have been doing some research, and finally came upon some info conveniently on Wiki:
--------------------------------------------------
Thanks to some light research on the matter via Wiki, I discovered the following:
RE: SCHOOL PRAYER ABOLISHMENT IN THE USA:
In two landmark decisions, Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington School District v. Schempp (1963), the US Supreme Court established what is now the current prohibition on state-sponsored prayer in schools.
RE: SCHOOL PRAYER ABOLISHMENT IN CANADA:
The challenges to Christian opening and closing exercises occurred mainly in Ontario with the crucial case being fought in The Ontario Court of Appeal in 1988.[12]
Zylberberg v. Sudbury Board of Education (Director) The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the use of the Lord’s Prayer in opening exercises in public schools offended the Charter s. 2(a). 1988. (1988), 65 O.R. (2d) 641, 29 O.A.C. 23 (C.A.). Education regulations did not require the use of the Lord's Prayer and there was an exemption provision. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the regulation infringed religious freedom because schools could use only the Lord's Prayer rather than a more inclusive approach. It was argued that the exemption provision effectively stigmatized children and coerced them into a religious observance which was offensive to them.
The Ontario Court of Appeal was persuaded by the argument that the need to seek exemption from Christian exercises is itself a form of religious discrimination. The judges described as insensitive the position of the respondents that it was beneficial for the minority children to confront the fact of their difference from the majority.
-------------------------------------------------------

So I can keep my memoirs as they are written, then, realizing the Canadians abolished prayer in schools DECADES after the USA did (so which country turned liberal first? Hmmmm). 
Of course I don't bring ANY of this debate into my book. I keep the memoirs a pure record of memories from my early-adolescence. But I have hopes that the book series will raise some social questions in discussion, because I am plainly writing about the differences I notice as a child between the two countries as I experience them.
If you are interested in reading specifically the chapters that relate to this issue, you can download (free until I'm done editing all 3 books) the following:
FROM BOOK TWO: Chapter 6 (Linda and Sheba) & Chapter 11 (Louise)
FROM BOOK THREE: Chapter 3 (Toto, I Don't Think We're in Meadowbrook Anymore
To check out the REST of the book series, it's all HERE. It's a work-in-progress, though, so beware there is editing work needed at this point.

 





Leave a Reply.