An Atheist Attends A Catholic School Assembly

Not something to be proud of

My step-daughters go to Catholic School. Not so much because their mother is a devout Catholic, but because the Catholic Schools get far higher ratings in terms of education than the public schools here in town.

I can’t say I really blame her for sending them to a Catholic school. She’s trying to give her kids the best education she can, and unfortunately, that means sending them to a Catholic school.

Tonight one of her daughters received an award for getting an average of 80% or higher. They call it the ‘honor society’. This meant that I had to do my step-fatherly duty and attend the assembly that went along with it. I’m not good with crowds. They usually cause me to get a migraine, but I felt as though I had to support my step-daughter so I was determined to bite the bullet and attend.

Anyways, as I arrived at the school, I was struck by how much nicer it was than any public school I’d ever been too. In Canada, the government subsidizes Catholic schools, while discriminating against the rest of the religious groups (including Christians ones) so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see that their school was well outfitted. I wondered how much nicer our public schools would be and how much better educated the kids would be in the public school system, if the government were sending the tax dollars they spend on Catholic schools to them instead.

Probably wishful thinking, but there it is. In my opinion, if parents want their kids going to a religious school, they should pay for it themselves. The government shouldn’t be in the business of endorsing any religion, Catholic or otherwise. They also shouldn’t be discriminating based on religion, either.

Anyhow, we funneled into the auditorium and had to sit through a prayer. They started out with a few speeches from the heads of the school, most of which included some reference to God. Not really all that surprising, considering it’s a religious school.

There was a large banner at the back of the auditorium, with ‘Crusaders’ in large letters. It’s apparently the name of their sports teams. This took me a bit by surprise, since I thought the crusades weren’t something most Christians took pride in.

For example:

So terrible, it is said, was the carnage which followed that the horses of the crusaders who rode up the mosque of Omar were knee-deep in the stream of blood. Infants were seized by their feet and dashed against the walls or whirled over the battlements, while the Jews were all burnt alive in their synagogue. In the midst of these horrors Godfrey the church of the Sepulchre, clothed in a robe of pure white, but bare-footed as well as bare-headed and knelt at the tomb to offer his thanksgiving for the for the divine goodness which had suffered them to realize the yearning of their hearts. In the profound enthusiasm and devotion of the moment his followers beheld the dead take part in the solemn ritual, and heard the voice of Adhemar rejoicing the prayers and resolutions of penitence offered by the prostrate warriors of the cross.

I’m not sure why any institution would think it appropriate to name a sports team after such carnage and stupidity.

After the speeches, there was a video. The song in the background was a bit disturbing. The wording was something along the lines of ‘despite the effort of thousands of unbelievers, we keep the faith’ or something along those lines. Unbeknown to them, there was an unbeliever in their midst, witnessing the way the people danced in their seats, while watching pictures stream by of their crusader mascot (uniform, spear and all) mugging for the camera, surrounded by impressionable children.

It wasn’t bad enough that their team names boasted about the crusades, but they had to glorify the murder of thousands of people over religious beliefs with a life-sized mascot.

I could feel my head begin to pound. My twelve year old step-daughter leaned over (she also attends a Catholic school) and asked me why the banner said ‘crusades’, since she was under the impression they were a bad thing.

Good for her. All I could do was nod my head, and mutely wait for the awards to be handed out. After my step-daughter received her award, I left the gymnasium. I’d had my fill and wanted nothing more than to go home.

What a disgrace. I hope that the Canadian government starts treating the Catholic school board like they do any religious group – fund it yourself. Our tax dollars shouldn’t be going towards endorsing a religion or teaching our kids that the crusades were a good thing.

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11 Comments

  1. You would think that imagery from the Crusades and Inquisition would be something Catholic schools would hide from, but no, it's popular in Catholic schools to name their teams the Crusaders. There's a Catholic school in my area that is popular with wealthy families (tuition is hellishly expensive, no pun intended) that has the Crusader mascot.

    From what I understand, Catholic schools are government sponsored in Ontario and Quebec, but not in the rest of the country? I have also heard that homeschooling in incredibly popular in the western prairie provinces. You'll have to excuse my lack of knowledge about Canada, it's not that unusual here in the US, our media only talks about what happens in our borders, or affects us directly.

    What I do know about Canada, I learned mostly from blogger Godless Poutine (mysecretatheistblog.com)

  2. Catholic schools are government sponsored in Alberta, Newfoundland, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon. The UN has even told Canada they're violating article 26 by discriminating against other religions.

    I'm not sure about the home schooling, but it wouldn't surprise me.

    You're absolutely right that you'd think they'd run from those historical atrocities, not glorify them with cartoon mascots.

  3. What's the name of the school? Tomás de Torquemada High? Sorry, I just being sarcastic. My ex sent our son to a Christian school for a year, but couldn't afford to continue and tried to get me to pay more to help with it. I told her unequivocally no. I do not support voucher programs nor do I support religious schools.

    Evil

  4. I didn't know government sponsorship of Catholic schools was so rampant up there. Is it only Catholic schools, or do other Christian denominations get taxpayer funds to run schools?

    Godless Poutine had said the homeschooling was becoming more popular in the prairie provinces, Alberta especially. He called Alberta the “Texas of Canada”, lol

  5. Yeah, I wouldn't put my kids in a Catholic school. The harm outweighs the good in my opinion. I would also find it unethical, but that's just me. The Catholic schools here are well funded. They get money from the government and the Catholic Church. More funding equals better buildings, more text books etc.

  6. What is with the government's attachment to the Catholic church above all other denominations? I could understand why in Quebec, but with the rest of the country being settled and controlled by the British for so long, you would think that it would be the Anglican church instead, or some homegrown group.

  7. It has to do with historical schooling in Canada. At one time, churches funded education. Parents would pay a tuition. Then the government switched over to tax paid schools, but there were so many Catholic schools, they melded them into the system, and agreed to continue giving them taxes. Catholicism is the leading religious denomination here in Canada.

  8. Hi Mike

    I think as long as your step daughters know what the mascot and the word crusades stand for all is ok.

    As for government funding that sucks big time. I am not sure how the government can justify it while been discriminatory to other groups including the other religious groups.

    Hopefully you don’t need to go back any time soon.

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