Quite the squawking of faux-outrage on the starboard side of the 'sphere over the decision by a New Brunswick school principal to abandon the custom of singing "O Canada" (or "Oh Canada" if you're a shrieky illiterate) at the beginning of the school day. There's the usual dreary character assassination by Ezra Levant, and then the predictable turn by his ideological cohorts to outright bigotry:
Who are these "fake" Canadians who do not want to sing our national anthem? They spit in our faces and we let them.
This is Blogging Tory "Hunter," informing us that Jehovah's Witnesses aren't "real" Canadians.
The initial media report of the foofaraw is here. First, the principal:
Different families have different beliefs. There are people of particular faiths who would say the Lord's Prayer should be brought back. Other people of particular faiths or beliefs say they don't want their child to sing the anthem. It's not up to me as a school administrator to subject kids to something their parents don't want them exposed to. I have to protect the minority rights as well as the majority rights.
And then the mother who complained about the principal's decision:
The principal tells us he doesn't want to see children have to sit it out.... How about every other religion that has to sit things out like school dances, or there are books some parents don't like their children reading.
We have Baptists and Catholics and Pentecostals and Jehovah's Witnesses and there are many different values and beliefs out there but we are all Canadians.It's fairly clear what happened here. The principal made his decision after a couple of JWs asked for the usual exemption for their kids (to "sit it out"). The mother refers specifically to this religious group, the only one she mentions that objects to having their kids sing anthems.
Jehovah's Witnesses are non-violent opponents of nationalism. In the words of one of them:
Jehovah's Witnesses give our allegiance to Jehovah God and his Kingdom Government, over which he has appointed his Son Jesus Christ to rule as King. (Isaiah 9:6, 7; Matthew 6:9, 10) We are a global community serving as Ambassadors or Envoys for that Kingdom, therefore we choose not to participate in divisive nationalistic practices such as singing a national anthem of any nation.
The JWs have had a long history of persecution in Canada. During the Second World War, "Jehovah's Witness children who refused to sing the national anthem and salute the flag during patriotic exercises in public schools were often expelled from class, and in a few cases, removed from their parents' care and placed in foster homes and juvenile detention centres."
How far we have come! But imagine just how far things would revert if bigots like "Hunter" ever achieved the government of their fevered dreams.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, unsurprisingly, Ezra's commenters are calling for the school principal to be fired, and beaten up as well. Remember that comments at Ezra's are moderated.
UPPERDATE: (January 31) More on this non-issue here.