Monday, January 20, 2014

Further to York University's Discrimination Issues...

If you haven't heard, a York University prof denied a student's request to work in all male groups for religious reasons.  York's Centre for Human Rights suggested the student should be granted the request to avoid being with women in public.   I commented with my views here:
I see education as a stepping stone for the working world. If he expects to work in Canada, he has to get used to working with women, so it's in the male student's best interest to find a way to cope with this expectation within a Canadian institution.
Then today I was reviewing the new Ontario Curriculum for Social Sciences and Humanities for a course I'm teaching, and I came across this bit:
"Accommodations consistent with the board’s religious accommodations guidelines must be made for students from various faith communities – for example, same-sex partnering for small-group activities may be required" (43).    
That's in the section called "Equity and Inclusive Education."  So it appears we're to be inclusive by honouring a wide variety of moral precepts even if there's an inherent sexism within.  But, of course, what if my religion sees a specific ethnicity or race as unclean and basically scum, and suggests I "smite them, and utterly destroy them" (Deuteronomy 7:2)?  It seems far less likely to see accommodations made to avoid a specific race within a Canadian governmental publication.  And that's a problem.  It's not, of course, that we should all be allowed to avoid communicating with undesirables or anyone that might awaken temptation if it's suggested by our religion, but that nobody should be able use religion to be exclusionary.  It seems to me a religious doctrine cannot be allowed to override human rights in a Canadian institution.

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