Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/7/2011 (3756 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Re: Secularist bias (Letters, July 4). Margaret Jablonski's beliefs prevent her from seeing the religion-in-schools issue clearly.
Secularists don't practise a belief but a lack of one. Children are all secularists, and should remain as such until they can analyze and understand for themselves. It is this secular majority that should be protected in the classroom, to provide an atmosphere of common learning, without introducing the confusion of religious differences.
Also, Martin Pankratz's July 2 letter asks us to imagine if our province or country enforced religion in schools to suit the religious majority. I'd rather not. Iran, like many other theocracies, condemns non-majority religions, sometimes with dire consequences. I prefer to imagine that if everyone woke up in the morning not believing in any religion, we would have a far more peaceful planet.
Christians feeling oppressed by society's concern over religion in school are really reaching to assert that it is their right to impose their beliefs on others. The law does not prevent any individual, anywhere from praying whenever and to whomever they want.
It does not prevent groups from gathering on school property for prayer or religious instruction. It does prevent schools from requiring students participate in religious activities against their will. At least it would, if it were enforced.
If atheists were in fact religious zealots, as some Christians like to claim, they would not be asking for forced prayer to stop. A militant atheist would demand that each day begin with an affirmation that there is no god. Any student who objected would risk failing courses and being unable to graduate.
Yet I have never heard even the most vocal atheist suggest such a practice. Freedom of religion does not include the right to force others to pay lip service to your beliefs, even if you are in the majority.
Your June 24 story Schools ignore prayer rules and your June 25 editorial NDP shows its cowardice both reveal the anti-Christian bias so common in the Canadian secular media.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins by saying that Canada is founded "upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law." History tells us that our early schools, universities, hospitals and many charitable organizations were founded by Christian churches.
Christian leaders in Europe advocated for abolishment of child labour in the coal mines. Christian leaders in Canada take credit for medicare and old-age security. Many other examples could be given where biblical principles have drastically changed countries for the better. This being the case, why do we allow minority pressure groups to formulate policy that would take away religious freedom?
Those school districts that allow the majority the freedom of expression are to be congratulated for standing up for their rights. The Free Press, calling the NDP "cowards" for not allowing freedom of religion, is unfair. The law regarding these issues is a bad law. People choose to ignore it and authorities overlook it for good reason.
If we allow these minority pressure groups, as represented by Chris Tait, to formulate policy in our education systems, teaching secular humanism denying the existence of God, teaching that we descended from monkeys, why should we be surprised if some of our students buy into this philosophy and act like animals?
Why would Tait be fighting God when He does not exist? Mr. Tait, if you are reading this, please know that we love you and are praying for you that you might know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Changes to Kenaston
Re: Kenaston expansion means expropriation (June 25). Widening Kenaston Boulevard has been on the books for years, and it will take many more years before anything ever happens. So what do we do in the meantime?
The first change should be to synchronize the traffic lights more effectively during morning and evening rush hours. Second, increase the speed limit from 50 to 70 kilometres per hour.
Third, and most important, there is a school crossing between two intersections, with a traffic-light control. Build an overpass walkway with a fenced area leading into it so that children can walk over any time and not be in danger of traffic. This overpass should be built anyway if the city plans to move traffic more effectively on Kenaston.
Turning off signs
Re: No flash in the plan as city seeks new billboard policies (June 29). These electronic signs are being turned off all over the U.S. It seems the bylaws of many states forbid the usage of these signs due to the hazardous conditions they create for drivers and pedestrians, not to mention the horrific living conditions that exist near or under one of these monstrosities.
Environmental and community living groups all object to the signs. It's easy for city council members to look past the needs of the people affected by this signage and into the pockets of the people who want to erect these signs. Business trumps environment, sadly, in too many cases. Maybe it's time for councillors to take a proactive approach to this dilemma, and listen to the people. You know, the ones who elected them.
CWB privately owned
The Canadian Wheat Board ships grain through the Port of Churchill to save farmers money. Overall, farmers save $8 million to $12 million per year by using this tidewater port. Yet, in most years, the CWB is the only agricultural shipper to use it. Overall, CWB grains account for an average of 95 per cent of grain shipments through Churchill.
Some have wondered why the CWB is the only grain exporter taking advantage of reduced transportation costs associated with Churchill's proximity to the grain-growing region (Churchill's fate, Letters, June 27).
The answer is that Churchill is a privately owned facility. Grain companies with terminals at eastern or western ports prefer to ship grain to their own terminals, as doing so maximizes handling revenue. Grain companies without their own port terminals generally have handling agreements with those that do and prefer to ship through those terminals exclusively.
The CWB is the only grain marketer working to maximize revenue to farmers, as opposed to company shareholders.
Canadian Wheat Board
In his July 2 column, UN puts foxes in hen houses, Tom Oleson repeated a falsehood that has appeared more than once in the Free Press. It is true that Iran has a hostile attitude towards Israel, but its leaders have never explicitly expressed a commitment to its destruction.
It is true there have been statements to the effect that Israel was in some sense doomed to disappear, but when pressed for clarification, it was explained that it would disappear in the sense that the Soviet Union has disappeared.
It is probably true that Iran was behind two outrages committed against the Jewish community of Argentina in the 1990s, but it is certainly not true that Iran has called for the death of all Jews in Israel.