Christian Prayers in Alberta’s Public Schools: What are the Issues?

January 9, 2014 :: Amy von Heyking
Moderated by Susan Giffen

Alberta has one of the most diverse school systems in the world. Its public schools offer a range of specialized alternative programs, from sports academies, to language immersion programs, to faith-based schools.

If you are a Christian in this province, you can send your children to fully-funded Catholic schools and in many school districts, you can send your children to equally-funded Logos programs, which use non-denominational Christian curriculum and teach the Christian faith on a daily basis. In some school districts, you can send your child to a fully-funded, formerly private, Christian school, which has chosen to affiliate with the public system. Finally you can send your children to a “private” Christian school, one which receives provincial funding up to 70% of the per student grant that would go to a public school.

It could therefore be argued that committed Christians have plenty of opportunities to send their kids to schools of their choice and not expect a secular public school system to accommodate certain religious exercises. One example is the recent controversy involving the expectation that students recite the explicitly Christian Lord’s Prayer piped in over the public address system for everyone to hear in a Taber public school. The speaker will provide background information and her perspective on the issue of religion in public schools.

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