Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Religion in public schools – NO!

with 15 comments

All I wanted to do was check the footy results.  Unfortunately I stumbled across an article in The Age reporting the Victorian Education Department is forcing public primary schools to teach christian religion.  I am astounded!  In Victoria we have a Liberal government.  One of the foundation principles of the Liberal party is freedom of the individual!

From the party’s web site:

We believe in the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; and maximises individual and private sector initiative.

Forcing my children to learn christian religion, or ANY religion, is denying my rights and freedoms.  Forcing my children into religious education is certainly NOT minimising interference in my daily life!  This all seems to stem from 2006, when we did not have a Liberal government, so I hope the Victorian Government acts and acts NOW on this issue that is so against the principles of the party.

We are also supposed to have freedom of religion in this country.  This issue has caused me to change my vote once before at a federal level.  This time I will voice my disapproval more strongly!

The Humanist Society has set up a website to “garner views on the issue” and is taking legal action against the Education Department.

Australia is a country of people from many different lands, many different cultures and many different religions.  We are are multicultural society and forcing christianity into schools is NOT the Australian way.  Read the article and see what it is suggested the children who opt out of the classes are going to be doing:  according to the article, they must not do any other classwork.

I am shocked.  Very shocked.  I am still embroiled in a civil rights fight with a federal government department and now I must look at particpating in a fight against a state government department.  I have four children about to enter the Victorian education system.  As a parent this is not what I want for my children.  Clearly I am not the only one, given the  Humanist Society website states:

12:30 – We are also aware that the Humanist Society of Victoria’s website has been so inundated with people wanting to access it that it has crashed. This speaks volumes on just how many people care and want to learn more. Future information will come from FIRIS so be sure to subscribe to the newsletter.

EDIT:

In the spirit of “if you want to change something, suggest an alternative”, resulting from a discussion with someone else, my suggestion would be introduce Cultural Intelligence classes and within that framework touch on all religions to provide awareness, rather than indoctrinate in one.  We need Cultural Intelligence training, so why not start early?

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Written by Robyn Dunphy

March 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm

15 Responses

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  1. […] have governments attempting to force-feed our children religion in public schools, government departments telling us who we can and cannot marry: government departments interfering […]

  2. […] to my article Religion in public schools – NO!, I particpate in the FIRIS campaign to stop this.  I am publishing this email I received today […]

  3. Robyn – thanks for pointing out this article in response to my blog. If I was in Victoria I would be opposing the way the state government is further wedging this issue. Seems quite draconian if I’m reading it right. Basically, my position is similar to the second comment except I wouldn’t be saying No, I’d be saying let’s explore the possibilities that lead to a good educational outcome for as many points of view as can be practically addressed. This rarely happens under compulsory regimes.

    wonderingpilgrim

    May 27, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    • Clarification – second comment aka Rayo Abe’s post – I was reading from the top down!

      wonderingpilgrim

      May 27, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    • Thanks for reading! The more I think about it, the more I think providing education in ALL religions (or at least the main ones) is a good option.

      Team Oyeniyi

      May 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm

  4. “Teach kids how to think, not what to think”… I feel that this is especially lacking in most education systems where Christians dominate.

    I don’t believe that religion ought to be taught in any science class because religious beliefs cannot be scientifically proven, and what a science class is for is to instruct students in how to employ the scientific method.

    I have no objection to the Bible, the Dhammapada, Upanishads, The Rig Vedas, Koran, etc. being available on school library shelves. However, when it comes to anyone mandating that teachers must provide religious instruction to minors in a public grade school environment within a democratic nation, then the separation of church and state has been violated, and I say emphatically “no” to that.

    Public schools, as an extension of government (which is supposed to remain secular and essentially weak agnostic), should never be used as a vehicle for indoctrinating children into any belief system.

    For Christians, evangelizing is mandatory as per The Great Commission and they are determined to instruct not only their own children in their own homes. That is their right. But to also demand that public grade school teachers, who may or may not be Christians themselves, must instruct other people’s children in the tennets of any religion as well is intolerable. Such demands have no legitimate place in any democracy.

    Christian parents who want their religious practices to continue in schools, despite the multi-cultural nature of society and the diversity of religions that prevail in it, are simply throwing temper tantrums and behaving like power and control freaks. They feel the loss of power that they were never intended to have in democracies is an affront so they are acting out.

    The bottom line here is for us to speak out truth to power. Those making these demands are bigots i.e. prejudiced people who are intolerant of all religious views that differ from their own.

    If some parents insist their young children be taught religion in schools as a supplement to what they teach them in their homes then they need to register their children in private schools.

    When children grow up to become young men and women attending college if they are interested in pursuing religious studies then they can register in comparative religion classes.

    timethief

    March 28, 2011 at 9:01 am

    • Wonderful perspective. I am still having difficulty with the fact a court found “may” = “must” and that has caused all this. Since when did “may” have the same meaning as “must” in the English language?

      Thank you for your comment – it speaks for itself so well, I am saying little in response! 🙂

      Team Oyeniyi

      March 28, 2011 at 10:06 am

  5. I am a Chritian and believe very much in God and the bible which is why i know that christianity or religion should never be forced on anyone. One of the duties of Government is to protect its people’s freedom of choice which is a human right. Forcing the bible or any other religious book on children is a clear violation of that right. Ikm also very sure that God doesn’t want to rammed down anyone’s throat. Neither does He want anyone learning the bible because they have to.
    I join Australia in saying NO!

    Rayo Abe

    March 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    • Thank you! Unfortunately, Australia (more correctly the state of Victoria) is saying “Yes” and many people are saying “No” – hopefully sanity will prevail and this will be rectified.

      One of the duties of government is most certainly to protect the people’s freedom of choice. Being an atheist myself, I am well aware of the plethora of religions available: I have no belief that any one is the “right” one and therefore strongly believe it is a private choice.

      Team Oyeniyi

      March 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    • I too join Australia.
      🙂
      NO!

      erbdex

      March 27, 2011 at 4:25 pm

  6. It is not, yet neither is the fact where the gov’t should be funding schools. That is not their job. hahaha (not liek they

    simplybeau

    March 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    • Whether governments fund schools or not is a question for each country. In our country it IS the job of the government to provide education.

      Team Oyeniyi

      March 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm

  7. “It is not to be doubted, that to be free and universal reading of the Bible, in the age, men were much ubdebted for right views of civil liberty. The bible is a book of faith and a book of doctrine and a book of morals, and a book of religion, of especial revelation from God; but it is also a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow-man. “(Ibid,) Daniel Websters

    simplybeau

    March 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    • Thank you for your contribution to the discussion.

      I am not quite sure what you are trying to say. The Christian Bible is certainly not the only way man can learn “his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow-man”. Religion is a private matter, not a matter for government and therefore not a matter for government schools.

      Team Oyeniyi

      March 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm


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