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‘Oust evangelism from our schools’

‘Oust evangelism from our schools’

Schools are not places of worship. If parents want their kids to be religiously indoctrinatated, then they should take them to a church, synagogue or mosque.

That’s the view of Australian Lara Wood, Chief Executive of a parent-run lobby group, Fairness in Religions in Schools, which, according to this report, has paid for a billboard attacking Special Religious Eduction (SRE) classes in public schools.

It is part of a FIRIS campaign urging families concerned about religious evangelism in public schools to opt out of scripture classes.

Lara Wood

Lara Wood

Wood said the billboard was in response to what the group sees as evangelism in public schools which it claims is poorly regulated by the NSW government.

Scripture classes push messages about sin, death, suicide, sexuality and female submission onto children without the knowledge of their parents.

The Department of Education has no control over the program and it is time these classes were removed or at least regulated by the government.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said it works with scripture class providers to ensure the material is:

Sensitive, age appropriate and of a high standard.

Green Party education spokesman John Kaye said parents were becoming increasingly concerned about religious groups pushing “dangerous ideas” into public schools.

This is the beginning of the backlash to an enrolment form that obscures the existence of the ethics alternative.

It is not surprising that community groups react by trying to warn parents about the messages their children might be exposed to in scripture classes.

The billboard quotes from an Anglican SRE text stating:

God says you are stuck in your sin and need to be rescued from his judgment.

Fairness in Religions in Schools appears to have the support of the Anglican Archdeacon of the Central Coast, Rod Bower, who said SRE classes should be replaced by “a quality general religious education program” in public schools to reflect “this multicultural, multi-faith society”. He agrees that:

If parents want their children formed in a particular tradition they should take them to a place of worship.

But the Anglican Bishop of South Sydney and chairman of the Sydney diocese’s SRE taskforce, Rob Forsyth, said scripture classes did not proselytise but provided education in Christian faith.

If someone signs their kid up for education in the Christian faith, that’s exactly what that kid should be taught.

If these parents don’t like it, no one is forcing their child to attend SRE classes. They don’t have to go. It’s as simple as that. But they should not be trying to stop other people from sending their kids to SRE if that’s their choice.

FIRIS says on it website:

The groups seeking to use our schools to do “Special Religious Instruction” simply don’t trust that parents know how to raise their kids.

They don’t want to have to accept that in a free society, where religious diversity is held as a virtue, that they are free to invite anyone they want to worship and learn about their religion.  

Instead they want to use the power we vest in our schools (ie it is a law that you must send your children to school) to conduct their programs in such a way that parents must take action to remove their children.

Parents have their reasons for wanting or not wanting ‘religious instruction’ – but no one in Australia lacks for access to a Church, Mosque, Synagogue, Temple, Gurdwara, etc … these institutions proliferate in a free society and one of the great qualities of life in Australia is that these institutions exist side by side.  

This happens because none of them make the rules.  They are all free to assemble and pursue their obligations as congregates and followers, but the price for this freedom is the acceptance that others choose not to.

12 responses to “‘Oust evangelism from our schools’”

  1. Broga says:

    Religions know that in an increasingly sceptical society they must trap the children when they are young. The schools offer a passive, ignorant audience of young minds ripe for influence. And the religious will not hesitate to burden these children with imagined sins and threats of dire punishments.

    The God who dishes out the punishments is a mystery. No one knows what he wants or how the Great Tyrant in the Sky may be appeased. So the only way to escape is via priests who claim to provide the only route to salvation.

    In the UK government support for faith schools and the acceptance of the use of the BBC to preach is a scandal.

  2. AgentCormac says:

    @Broga
    The religiots amongst us have always known that in order for their controlling influence to extend in perpetuity they must have access to the very young. That’s the only way they can close down questioning minds, inculcate their superstitious claptrap and be sure their power and influence will be preserved. That’s why they establish their own schools where no one can see what’s going on. Why they make every effort to get into the classrooms of schools they do not run. It is cynical. It is calculated. And it has no place whatsoever in a 21st-century education system.

  3. Atabale says:

    When our sapling’s first grade teacher realised she had an atheist couple in front of her, she politely asked if we will consider that: the child should have all the opportunities to make up his own mind. Yeah, we thought, that is what 6 year old’s are good at. (English is my second language).

  4. Broga says:

    @Atabale: English may be your second language but you have an admirable command of it. However, let me suggest a translation of : “the child should have all the opportunities to make up his own mind.” What the teacher means is that all the opportunities be given to indoctrinate so that the child ends up as a Christian.

    In religious “thinking ” the conclusion is already decided. What remains is to twist the evidence, selectively choose facts, censor all challenges and block all criticism of the so called received wisdom of their “biblical truths.”

  5. 1859 says:

    True ‘education’ should OPEN minds. ‘Indoctrination’ CLOSES minds. Telling children that certain fairy tales are true and other fairy tales are false can only confuse and close vulnerable minds. Religious agendas should be totally excluded from the classroom.

  6. Har Davids says:

    “God says you are stuck in your sin and need to be rescued from his judgment.”: that’s a nice introduction to the “only” true religion when you’re six yo. Scare the shit out of them and they’ll do whatever you tell them; sounds like abuse to me.

  7. John says:

    I think parents should teach their own children a few simple lessons about being sceptical about claims unsubstantiated by verifiable evidence. They should tell their children to demand from their religion teachers that they produce the claimed god in the classroom so they can interrogate him as to why he or she or it is making such statements.
    We know what the outcome of that will be…….

  8. Nogbad666 says:

    Atabale – “the child should have all the opportunities to make up his own mind”. Absolutely right. Let’s have a system where absolutely NO religious “education” of any brand, is given to children under 18. THEN let them make up their own minds.

  9. The evangelism in schools is a serious issue. Christians say that secular activities and religious overlap. For a Christian, a secular activity such as playing a game has to manifest faith in God. So there is no such thing as secular in a Christian school. What looks non-religious is religious and permeated by the religious Catholic ethos. That is quite a lot of indoctrination. It is not just about the religion classes.

  10. dennis says:

    After this class of indoctrination, a class on the abuses of religion during the middle ages and religious gansterism being taught today. the poor child who gets confronted with that legacy of our human history will be inoculated for life. ups am I proselytizing! see how quick it can happen.

  11. […] its grip on schools when the announcement was made. According to this report, Lara Wood, above, head of Fairness for Religions in Schools, a parent-led campaign against religious instruction by Access Ministries, […]