By Linda Wegner
The Interim

A July 1999 ruling by a Saskatchewan Human Rights Board of Inquiry may have temporarily, at least, excluded the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer from Saskatoon classrooms, but it has not ended the controversy surrounding the issue.

Saskatoon Public School Division Policy #1030, as proposed by the Saskatoon public school board trustees on Feb. 22 recommends that traditional opening exercises, including the Lord’s Prayer, be replaced with “a song, a story, a reading, a short discussion period or a thought for the day which may be selected by teachers and students from a variety of sources.” The policy further defines the choice of material by stating that “the selection may have as a root source a holy book, a spiritual legend or spiritual literature, but must not be a direct quote from any such source.”

According to Robin Bellamy, school board trustee, passing that policy will only result in getting back “all kinds of unhappiness.” “You won’t satisfy anybody,” he said.

Bellamy’s discontent with the proposal is based on both personal conviction and on comments he has received. “I voted against anything that removes the Lord’s Prayer,” he said. Citing letters to the editor as one source, he went on to say that he believes many people support retention of the Lord’s Prayer in the classroom.

But no matter how many support retaining it, the policy is currently in the hands of the Saskatoon school board trustees. According to an article which appeared in the February 21 issue of Saskatoon’s The Star Phoenix, the proposed policy needs endorsement from four of the seven board trustees. A copy of a memo regarding the proposed policy, states that “once sufficient time has been allowed for meaningful input (May 30, 2000) the draft will be placed on a public Board meeting agenda for formal adoption, rejection or revision.”