Children in many U.S. schools yesterday heard President Obama exhort the values of hard work and personal responsibility in his back-to-school address. Reformed pastor John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church praised the speech as "a wonderful gift of common grace from God to the students of our land." Before the speech, many parents had protested the way it was framed—the Department of Education had given schools a "menu of classroom activities" that suggested students write about "how they could help the President"—rather than its content. Many parents demanded that their school districts provide alternatives to watching the speech or that they not show it at all. School districts were forced to respond with less than two weeks' notice to the Education Department's announcement.

Meanwhile, in Quebec, a court struggle recently broke out over a new, mandatory "Ethics and Religious Culture" course that will replace three separate religion courses for all students. Some Christian parents protested it as a violation of their right to choose their children's religious education, but Quebec's Superior Court ruled August 31 that the class does not violate the right to "freedom of conscience and religion" in the Canadian Charter of Rights. Here's how one law professor at the Universitfamp;copy; de Sherbrooke defended the ruling:

What parents were demanding was the right to ignorance, the right to protect their children from being exposed to the existence of other religions …. This right to ignorance is certainly not protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom of religion does not protect the right not to know what is going on in our universe.

Then, a home-schooling mother in New Hampshire received ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.