Playing the Indian Card

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Funding Religious Schools in Ontario

Warren Kinsella and Robert Fulford both argue that the Ontario Conservatives’ plan to fund all religious schools is unworkable. Kinsella asks “what will you name the new government ministry that will determine what is a bona fide religion deserving of funding, and what is not? And, then, how many lawyers will the Attorney-General need to hire to fight the decades of constitutional challenges you will immediately face?” Fulford writes: “Have they any idea of the theological and bureaucratic nightmares they are inviting? We'll need armies of officials to negotiate with those who say they want support -- Hindus, Copts, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and Protestants. Which of the many Protestant sects will be supported? Which Muslims? Which Jews?” Fulford actually implies the whole Enlightenment is at stake.

But this is a false problem. First, we already make this determination—for tax purposes. It is therefore manifestly possible, and it would cost not one penny more nor one more hour of work, to simply recognize the same organizations for school funding.

Even were this not so, the matter would still be simple. If any group of, say, fifty families in a given municipality requested a school on religious grounds, why would it even be any business of government to decide whether they have a real religion? Isn’t that their own business? Don’t their children need schooling in any case?

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