The Easter Bunny: Would You Lie?
With the Easter break well and truly behind us there is one issue lingering in some of our minds here at edu-quip.
In March, a court ruling in Canada stated that a couple should not lose custody of their foster children after they refused to tell the lie that the Easter Bunny is real. Reports suggest Frances and Derek Baars, who are devout Christians, said they would be happy to host an Easter egg hunt, but their case worker was not satisfied with this.
The result was that the agency removed the young children, aged 3 and 5, from the couple's care and barred any future adoptions. Consequently, the Baars couple sued the Children's Aid Society (CAS), which provides child protection services via taxpayer funding for the province.
A contentious issue - The CAS has been criticised heavily in the past, with many believing it wields too much power. That would certainly seem to be the case in this instance; it appears the couple, who showed no signs of being unfit parents for their foster children, were punished for refusing to impart a fiction upon the children that went against their own belief system.
Whatever your opinion about religious beliefs and the issue of giving biased teachings to children about one belief system over another, this particular case is somewhat disturbing to read about. If the thing a parent is refusing to teach their child could actually put that child in danger, then perhaps taking action against that parent's decision is a valid move. But when the point of contention is whether to proliferate a belief in a fictitious, playful character then it is more difficult to argue that sanctions are justified.
The big question - This story does compel you to ask yourself if you would have told the lie about the Easter bunny in that situation. For someone who isn't devoted to a belief system that the Easter bunny directly undermines, perhaps there wouldn't be a reason to refuse to tell that lie. But, under the circumstances, would you object to being threatened with sanctions if you don't teach those children about something as trivial and meaningless as an imaginary bunny that delivers chocolate on the anniversary of the Christian Messiah's resurrection?
For some, it would be a matter of principle. For others, it would be a matter of belief. And for the rest of us, it would be a matter of considering whether or not it is truly worth making a big fuss about something we have very little stake in. If you think believing - or not believing - in the Easter bunny is an important part of your child's development, we'd love to hear your point of view!