B.C. voters open to meditation, Christian prayer — but not indigenous ceremonies in public schools: poll

Apr 16, 2017 by

A firm two of three British Columbians also rejected Muslim ceremonies and prayers in public schools, while nearly 40 per cent believe Christian prayer should be allowed

Many British Columbians are open to allowing both mindfulness meditation and Christian prayer in public schools, according to a poll conducted for Postmedia News.

There is little enthusiasm, though, for First Nations prayers or “smudging” ceremonies, with more opposed than favouring the practices, which have recently been the subject of legal action in B.C.

These are two of the surprising results of a Mainstreet Research poll of 5,500 British Columbians, conducted on the eve of Easter, that probed several thorny issues related to religion and education.

* The poll found 45 per cent of British Columbians oppose even partly funding private schools, whether they’re religious or not.

* British Columbians were mixed on many spiritual issues, with 42 per cent believing “mindfulness meditation should be allowed in public schools.” Just 35 per cent opposed the meditative practice which teachers are increasingly teaching their public-school students. It is linked most strongly with Buddhist and Hindu spirituality.

* Though the Lord’s Prayer was banned five decades ago from B.C. public schools, 39 per cent of British Columbians believe Christian prayers should be allowed in schools, while roughly the same proportion were opposed.

* A firm two of three British Columbians reject Muslim ceremonies and prayers in public schools. The only group that backed Islamic prayers in schools were B.C. Muslims, by a whopping 89 per cent margin.

The B.C. Education Act requires public schools to be “secular” and not favour one religion over another.

The Mainstreet poll did not probe whether respondents felt meditation or prayers should be mandatory in schools, or be voluntary or be limited to lunch or after-school hours.

Source: B.C. voters open to meditation, Christian prayer — but not indigenous ceremonies in public schools: poll | National Post

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