Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Students at Religious Schools who are of Different Religions

Posted by chinesecanuck on April 24, 2008

As you’ve probably read in previous posts, high school was (and still is) affiliated with the Anglican Church of Canada. We had to go to regular services, regardless of what our faith.  Our services weren’t overtly religious, though hymns were sung, prayers said and Scripture read.  Parents send their kids to the school knowing that services are a part of the school’s culture, so they generally don’t have a problem with it.  The people who DO have issues are outsiders.  Some are even SHOCKED to hear that say, Muslim or Jewish parents would even think about sending their kid there.  They seem to think religion first, academics second. Is religion really more important than what the kid learns in school?  Except for two years of religious education in Grades 7 and 8, nothing outside of mandatory services is religious based.  Do people automatically think “religious school” as soon as they hear about mandatory services?  Just because a school has historical connections to a church doesn’t mean that it’s a true “religious school.”  Schools under the Roman Catholic school board are probably more religious than my alma mater, and these schools, at least the high schools aren’t really religious!  In fact, the school often has “talks” or presentations by students and staff who are of different faiths.  It was very normal for us.  In any case, many “traditional” private schools tend to have some sort of connection to a church.  Even those that don’t, such as Toronto’s Upper Canada College, still has a school hymn and/or prayer.  I guess people need to do their homework!

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5 Responses to “Students at Religious Schools who are of Different Religions”

  1. In response to the first sentence, public high school is not like that.

    I think we have very different definitions of “overtly religious”. “Hymns were sung, prayers said, and Scripture read” is blatantly religious to me.

    “Overtly religious” is not the same as “religious fundamentalist”, and your high school was/is overtly religious.

  2. If my school is “overtly religious” then Brownies is “overtly religious” as well. In Brownies, our “Taps” or “Bells” started out with “O Lord, our God, Thy Children call…..” It was still used when I was a Junior Leader more than ten years ago.

    In any case, as I said in the origianl post, if you want your kid to go to an old line, very academic private school and the kid’s a girl, you really have no choice. Most co-ed and girls’ schools such as Trinity College School, Ridley College, BSS, Havergal and St. Clements are historically tied to the Anglican Church. In any case, why should religion be more important than academics? As far as I’m concerned, no kid has ever been converted (unless you count a few Catholics who decided to go Anglican, since they’re more “liberal”.) Most non-Catholic religious schools are weaker, academically speaking, compared to these schools, to public schools and Catholic schools.

  3. Yes, Brownies are overtly religious.

    Yes, I guess most private schools are Anglican. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have the choice to go to Anglican private schools if they want to. I’m just saying that your school is overtly religious, according to my definition and according to most Canadians’ definitions.

  4. So to most people then, a school is still overtly religious even if there are no religious symbols anywhere in the school (except maybe a chapel), as long as it has a connection to a church? Then by definition, St. Mike’s and Trinity College at University of Toronto are “overtly religious” because they are Catholic and Anglican respectively. I believe both colleges have chapels. Trinity’s chapel is definitely fully functional, meaning that you can get married there. Or is it different because they do not require students to attend service?

  5. Requiring that students attend service is a big factor. That’s like assuming that people are Christian or should be Christian.

    Trin and St. Mike’s seem somewhat religious to me, but much less religious than your private high school. Those are not my colleges, so I don’t know about the cultures within them in student residence, for example.

    Once I had a class in Trinity that had nothing to do with religion, and the old, traditional Trinity professor began each class with the Lord’s Prayer. He did not require that everyone pray with him, but I thought that was crazy in this day and age, to recite a Christian prayer at the beginning of class at a public university. I dropped that class.

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