Petition: Withdraw the “religious culture” part from the Ethics and Religious Culture program

6th December 2016

Petition Submitted to the Quebec National Assembly

Press conference with Jean-François Lisée,
Andréa Richard & Daniel Baril
(in French)

This petition is now closed as of 30th November 2016. The text (in French) of the petition remains on line on the web site of the National Assembly.

This petition is an initiative of Andréa Richard, author of Au-delà de la religion (“Beyond Religion”), and supported by the following groups:

Petition: Withdraw the “religious culture” part from the Ethics and Religious Culture program

WHEREAS the Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) program, which should have been taught from an historical or even critical perspective, is in fact a veritable promotion of religion, and thus opposed to its initial objective which was to secularize and de-confessionalize the school system;

WHEREAS the exclusion of non-religious persons and non-practising believers from the content of this program does not reflect current socio-religious reality and violates the right to equality;

WHEREAS the “religious culture” part of the ERC program has the effect of inciting young people to identify with stereotypical, sexist and sometimes fundamentalist religious practices;

WHEREAS the communitarian mentality which underlies this program can only amplify religious divisions;

WHEREAS the teaching of this program conceals the incompatibility between some religious tenets on the one hand and gender equality—a fundamental value of Quebec society—on the other hand.

WHEREAS the “religious culture” part does not favour the objective of “living together” which was the original goal of the ERC program and that, on the contrary, it encourages the segregation of individuals into groups according to their religious practices, which are often very restrictive and discriminate against women;

WHEREAS the majority of new immigrants seek only to integrate into the host society, but the ERC program may have the effect of encouraging them to withdraw into their religious community;

We the undersigned ask that the Minister of Education withdraw the “religious culture” part of the ERC program, for the benefit of our children.

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