Jennye Blain, a mom in Busby, Alberta, Canada, is upset that the local school board supports the Lord’s Prayer being recited by students at Busby Elementary School, where her daughter attends.
"It’s not acceptable because it’s a public institution and we shouldn’t be condoning any religion in any public institution, but especially an academic institution," Blain told the Edmonton Journal. "It also makes us all bow to the Christians. It says that we all have to take time out of our day to acknowledge how important they are. There’s nothing in their religion that says they have to pray at school."
The school board asked for the public's feedback on the prayer, which goes back several years at the school, in September, but Blain did not attend the meeting.
“I didn’t want to be there to show that I’m condoning the concept of voting on our neighbors’ rights," Blain said.
Attendees voted 30 to 3 on Sept. 30 to continue the Christian prayer, and the board made the decision final on Oct. 7.
“We have great local community schools, and each one is unique," said Jennifer Tuininga, chairwoman of the board for the Pembina Hills Regional School Division. "You have to look at the traditions and values of those local communities."
Blain plans to keep fighting, but has received online harassment from those who support the Lord's Prayer, radio station 630 CHED reports.
"I definitely have already been getting some hateful messages on Facebook from members of the community, and I am quite concerned that my daughter might wind up taking some the backlash from these people who are upset about what we’re trying to do," Blain told the radio station before the school board's decision.
"Basically we’re going to have to stand up for Albertans' rights to have our children be free from religious indoctrination in public schools," she added.
The Edmonton Journal reports that Blain has spoken with Luke Fevin, a parent in the Sturgeon School Division, who says Ontario and British Columbia courts have found that separating religious children from non-religious children violates the rights of the youngsters who do not pray.
"The school board is not legally compelled to do this," Fevin said. "If they do not do it, not a single right will be infringed upon. But if they do it, they'll knowingly deny the charter rights of a bunch of kids in their care."
"I'm willing to take this as far as it has to go to protect our children's rights … it's wrong their freedom from religion is being denied in such a callous way," Blain said.