Lord’s Prayer case heard in Canada

TORONTO, July 13 (JTA) — A human rights tribunal in Saskatchewan is hearing arguments over whether the Lord’s Prayer should continue to be allowed in public school classrooms there. Courts in at least three other Canadian provinces have ruled that classroom prayer interferes with national and local laws. In Saskatchewan, however, a 1905 law stipulates that religion be included in school activities, and Christian groups in the province assert that it refers specifically to Christianity. Nine parents from Jewish, Muslim, Unitarian and other backgrounds filed a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal in 1993. According to Gary Haiven, a Jewish man and one of the nine parents who filed the complaint, Canada is now sufficiently multicultural that there’s no reason to make a significant segment of the classroom feel excluded. “My parents accepted it because they were new to the country,” he said. “I feel a lot more confident about my place in Canadian society. We’d simply like this practice to end.” The case was due to be decided in the coming days.

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