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‘Church vs. State’ showdown sparked by dispute over gay-straight alliances

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

TORONTO — A dispute over the use of the term “gay-straight alliance” in Ontario schools has prompted the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto on Monday to accuse Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s administration of making “religious freedom . . . a second-class right.”

The church-versus-state showdown was sparked by an amendment from Education Minister Laurel Broten to the anti-bullying bill, closing a loophole that gave schools veto power over club names.

Under the proposed change, all schools — including those in the Catholic system — won’t be able to stop students from calling anti-homophobia clubs “gay-straight alliances.”

Broten said that Ontario’s LGBTQ students received highlighted mention in the legislation, as statistically LGBTQ youth are at increased exposure and risk to being bullied and that schools, parents, and government needs to reinforce the message that this behavior will not be tolerated.

But in an interview with the Toronto Star, Marino Gazzola, chairperson of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, said Tuesday that using the word “gay” in the name of supportive clubs is going too far.

“In our view the word itself is a distraction,” he said. “We want the focus to be on more than just one thing, more than just the sexuality of the student. We want the focus to be on the entire student.”

According to some conservative lawmakers, including Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod, it’s a thinly veiled effort to undermine the $7 billion a year that Catholic schools get from Ontario taxpayers — almost one-third the annual education budget, reported the Star.

“The government has decided in this case that they want to be aggressive, they want to provoke the Catholic education system for whatever reason,” MacLeod said. “Catholic school board trustees . . . are worried this is going to cause the de-funding of their system.”

Broten denied that her bill was an effort to de-fund Catholic schools, instead pointing out that all provincial schools must follow the law as “we root out discrimination of all kinds, whether it’s racism, whether it’s misogyny, whether it’s homophobia.”

“Every single one of our schools, whether Catholic or public, must be safe and accepting places for all of our students,” she said, and added that is not “radical” for a gay club to have the word “gay” in the name.

She noted that the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association support her position.

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said the battle shows it’s time to scrap Catholic school funding in favor of a single, secular public school system that could save taxpayers as much as $1.5 billion a year.

Catholic school boards said they’ll look for ways to fight back should the amendment on gay clubs be passed.

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Filed under: North America

6 more reader comments:

  1. maybe the church should clean is own house.. with the vatican bank leader being forced out, the popes butler being arrested, and a power struggle within its “princely” ranks…. hopefully this is the end of the church as it stands today

    Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 11:21pm
  2. The church really needs to change for sure.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 11:26pm
  3. I left the church for this very reason

    Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 11:28pm
  4. The Catholic Church is the corporation more intolerant murderous and destructive that historically has existed.

    Their ideology is an ideology of hatred and war and an altarpiece of lies, cheating, contradictions, deceits and absurdities built for the sole purpose of annulling denigrating the intelligence and the reason.

    The Christian morality is like chloroform that neutralizes the pleasure and the imagination, to make our bodies our nearest enemy and to switch the truth into submission.

    The Papacy is an emissary of torture and lies, a puppet of the interests of the fascist Vatican state.

    The higher clergy is a band of social parasites, eager of power and plunder.

    The faithful Catholics are a humanity deceived, for whom I have solidarity and compassion.

    All victims of religious terrorism are a definitive proof of its guilt.

    The Catholic Church has put to death millions of individuals, has collaborated to the spread of HIV / AIDS per their negative to authorize Catholics the use of condoms.

    They do practice Symbiotic relationships of all kinds of totalitarianism, they encourage them, they justify and prostitutes before them.

    They bless the murderers and tyrants.

    They proclaimed holy crusades against women and men who have doubted its truth.

    They enslave the weak, flatter the generals and the leaders, promote hatred of the body, happiness and pleasure, insult the intelligence and intended to impose its absurd and primitive theology.

    They use gender hierarchies, relationships and feelings, according to the sinister moral they practice.

    They impose their phobias as sacred commandments, systematically attacking individual and collective freedoms.

    They plunder the people, relentlessly and with impunity, through its diplomatic agreements, concordats and their alliances with political power.

    They abuse children, fornicate with them, they are lying and abusing the humanity.

    They discriminate, they cover up for pedophiles.

    They created the Inquisition.

    They light fires that have not yet ceased to burn.

    They despise science and knowledge.

    They torture, massacre and hide the historical truth.

    They manipulate the collective memory.

    They perpetuate their ideology, injecting it into children’s minds. And abetting, conspiracy, falsifying and using violence to impose their pathological delusions.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 11:30pm
  5. The Catholic has no room to talk about anyone or anything with all the crap, cover-ups and scandals that they have going on.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 11:33pm
  6. Catholic church = Hypocrisy in all the things they do and say, please read this article:

    Dr. Lina Pavanelli is an Italian anesthesiologist. She wrote an article called “The Sweet Death of Karol Wojtyla” which was published in September 2007 in the bi-monthly Italian magazine MicroMega. The article argues that the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005 was an act of euthanasia, which is opposed by the Catholic Church.

    Possible Motivation

    Pavanelli reportedly was motivated to write the article because of the Church’s refusal of a religious funeral to Piergiorgio Welby. Welby was a right-to-die advocate who requested a doctor to remove his respirator.,8599,1664189,00.html

    Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 3:03pm