It’s an easy topic to write about and these three articles speak for themselves mostly, so I’m only going to give limited commentary on three pieces from the past couple days that definitely classify as religions taking advantage of (if not abusing) children.
First, the Vancouver Sun mistakenly takes the view that science and Christian lobby groups deserve equal weight when presenting research. Their article titled “Research mixed on whether parents should be banned from spanking” does a solid job of presenting the scientific evidence of the harms of corporal punishment of children, but then goes and quotes the homophobic Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (at least it identifies it as a Christian right group spun off of Focus on the Family) who want the right to beat their kids. It’s telling that the following day this article was republished on the Ottawa Citizen under the more accurate title, “Time for parents to disarm.”
Next, we have a good news-bad news story, also from the Vancouver Sun. The good news is that the Delta school board has kicked religious proselytizers out of its classrooms, while the bad news is that many volunteer evangelicals remain in schools across the province – including in Kitsilano Secondary School (near my home). The BC school act makes it explicitly clear that our schools are to be secular, so any move from volunteering to preaching will hopefully be rooted by our teachers and school administrators.
Finally, the British Humanist Association has highlighted some research undertaken by the Guardian which showed that publicly funded faith schools are discriminating against poor students. This research is quite relevant in Canada where several provinces provide funding to private schools (BC and Alberta) and others provide full funding to separate Catholic school boards (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario). It would be interesting to do a similar study here to try to prove if such systemic discrimination exists here as well.