A course on ethics and religion taught in Quebec schools since 2008 does not infringe on students’ religious freedoms, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday, meaning the students can’t opt out it. The ruling settles a dispute brought forward by two parents who had wanted to exempt their children from the course, which covers history of ethics and the different religions found in Quebec, and confirms a 2009 decision by Quebec’s Superior Court.
As the CBC reports, Madam Justice Marie Deschamps wrote in the ruling: “Exposing children to a comprehensive presentation of various religions without forcing the children to join them does not constitute an indoctrination of students that would infringe the freedom of religion of L and J [the appellants].”
The Supreme Court decision was unanimous. However, as La Presse reports, judges Louis Lebel and Morris Fish expressed some reservations. Lebel wrote an opinion warning that the course does risk trivializing and disrespecting some people’s beliefs.