Nova Scotia student suspended for wearing Christian t-shirt

Political map of Canada
Political map of Canada

From CTV News.


A Grade 12 student in Nova Scotia has been suspended for wearing a T-shirt publicizing his religious beliefs.

The South Shore Regional School Board suspended William Swinimer from Forest Heights Community School in Chester Basin for five days for wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words, “Life is wasted without Jesus.”

School board Supt. Nancy Pynch-Worthylake said the wording on the shirt is problematic because it is directed at the beliefs of others.

“If I have an expression that says ‘My life is enhanced with Jesus,’ then there’s no issue with that, everybody is able to quickly understand that that’s my opinion about my own belief,” she said.

“If the shirt were to say ‘Without Jesus, your life is a complete waste,’ then that’s clear that it is an opinion aimed at somebody else’s belief.”

Pynch-Worthylake said the school has spoken with Swinimer a number of times about the shirt, asking him not to wear it again.

Swinimer was unavailable for comment.

Varrick Day, the pastor at Swinimer’s Pentecostal church, said the young man feels that his religious freedom is being restricted at the school.

“His reaction is that he is being bullied by the school itself, not the students, when it comes to his freedom of speech within the school and his freedom of sharing his faith,” Day said from Bridgewater, where he preaches at Jesus the Good Shepherd Church.

Day said Swinimer was told that at least one student at the school complained about the shirt.

Pynch-Worthylake said the school tried mediation with Swinimer before suspending him.

A spokesman for provincial Education Minister Ramona Jennex said the minister believes the issue should be handled by the school board.

An atheist was offended, and complained, and brought the power of the state to bear on that Christian. Shocking.

UPDATE: More from Lydia McGrew here.

9 thoughts on “Nova Scotia student suspended for wearing Christian t-shirt”

  1. Lydia McGrew has posted this news story and her thoughts here:

    She finds the story chilling:

    Thanks, Nancy, that’s very clear. We are all relativists now. Christian expressions are allowed so long as all they say is that Jesus is good for me. Christian statements are non-threatening so long as they’re purely personal, subjective, and relative. The problem comes in where anyone implies that Jesus is also good for somebody else, that other people will be better off if they know Jesus. That, in fact, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. (Just imagine what they’d do with a T-shirt that said, “Jesus is the only way.”) Statements that imply that Christianity is objectively true and that this might make a claim on somebody else’s life are verboten.

    In other words, expressions of real Christianity are verboten.

    We learn from the video accompanying the story that William has been a “problem” in other ways. Not only has he made atheists feel criticized, poor babies, by wearing a T-shirt that implies that their lives are wasted without Jesus, he has also been preaching (aka witnessing) to people. Can’t have that salt and light stuff. This little light of yours, I’m not gonna let it shine.

    This is what Christian parents are up against. An entire education run by secularists, funded by our own tax dollars. Blech! Christians – do not vote for big government, do not vote to “tax the rich”. This is what happens when secularists have your money to burn on their ideology.


  2. As a resident of Nova Scotia, it’s very unfortunate to see this kind of thing. We all know that if someone were to wear a T-shirt with the same text, but having “Jesus” replaced with almost anything else (including religious terms), there would be no problem.

    If you haven’t actually seen the T-shirt, the words “Jesus” are actually in very very small print! That is, you’ve got to look really really close to be able to read what it says. . .

    There have been comments by students saying that “He says that we will all go to hell if we don’t turn to Jesus,” etc. Maybe this student didn’t discuss his convictions in the best manner, I don’t know for sure, yet it’s again unfortunate that the T-shirt is the crux of the controversy – not his behavior (if it really was inappropriate at all).

    A philosopher from Saint Mary’s University said on a CBC radio program that this is not good, because it show that all someone needs to do is say “I’m offended . . .” and that ends it all. No questions asked. Not a good policy to create.

    If mere “offence” gives us a veto over religious expression – and whatever else – then I’m afraid we’ve seen the collapse of why government should even exist int he first place.


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