Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Canada of course has no first amendment but nonetheless has enshrined both legal freedoms of speech and religion. There is moreover the expectation that government will remain neutral with respect to religion, not favouring one over the other, as seen in a recent case involving the banning of Gideon Bible distribution in public schools. Hence the same argument exists here against the use of Twitter by publicly employed teachers to promote their own religion. But in my opinion it would be a mistake, even if Twitter posts are seen as public utterances or even publications. A public school's official Twitter account - or any other internet service - should remain religion-free. But it is unreasonable to apply the ban to a person's private Twitter account, no more than it would be to ban a person from publicly attending church on Sunday mornings or putting a cross in their front yard. People - including public employees - have the right to freedom of expression and conscience and all the rest, and it is illegitimate to argue that their employment permeates all aspects of their private lives.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 1:14 p.m.