February 22, 2011

Camel and the Sheikh

Religion shouldn’t undermine education — Macleans OnCampus:

Of course, this type of religious accommodation in secular schools is not new. Religious students have long been able to request exemption from sexual education programs, for example. Catholic school boards in Ontario (which are publicly funded) don’t even have to teach the same sexual health curriculum that is mandated for other boards. And at this point, the concept seems nothing but silly and tired. How can educators and policy makers preach the unequivocal value of the provincial curriculum, while at the same time resign to “Well, I guess STI prevention lessons aren’t that important”?

Public school curricula are specifically formulated (at least on paper) to provide a well-rounded education while promoting Canadian values such as equality of the sexes. These values should not be subject to religious accommodation ...

There is this old story about the sheikh and the camel. You probably have heard it a million times. For the benefit of the boneheads, here's how it goes.

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was this sheikh riding his camel across the desert to the next oasis. When night fell, he pitched his tent and all, and went to sleep, tying his camel to the tent post. As the night progressed, it got colder, and soon, the camel became uncomfortable. He stuck his nose into the tent and pleaded with his master, "Please, master, it's getting awfully cold out here. Please, let me just nuzzle my nose inside the tent." After much thought the sheikh relented, and let the camel crane its neck into the tent.

A couple of hours passed, and the sheikh was woken up by a desperate cry from his camel. "Oh, sir, I am so sorry to have woken up your majesty, but, sir, I can hardly breathe. It feels like ... eh ... my lungs are frozen shut. Master, please let me stick a few more inches of my body into the tent. "Ah, the poor camel! It seems that this one is not adapted to the ways of the desert," the sheikh thought. "It's only right that I accommodate his wishes." Not only did he let the camel stick its torso inside the tent, but also let him rest his head in the bed besides him.

Another couple of hours passed, and the camel ... you get the idea. When the sheikh woke up shivering in the morning, why, he was surprised to find himself under the open skies and the camel soundly asleep in his bed inside!

Camel rights advocates may not agree, but, please, keep religion out of the institutions of reason.

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