AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 136#.
TRAINING REFORM BILL :
STATE SPONSORED RELIGION AND FORCED RELIGIOUS
ATTENDANCE WORRIES PROTESTANT DISSENTING GROUP
16 February 2006
DOGS are not the only group concerned by the Victorian Government's abandonment of the 134 year old secularity provision in the 1872 Victorian Education Act. Religious groups with a long history of fighting for religious freedom against established churches are also aware of the dangerous waters the Bracks government is leading them into. The following is the contents of a paid advertisement DOGS discovered in a Christian newspaper distributed throughout Australia. It was found on page 5 of New Life, 16 February 2006 issue.
The contents of this Advertisement illustrates a number of the reasons why people of many belief systems -and non belief, Christians, minority6 religions, humanists, atheists, rationalists, as well as secularists - have always, and still do, oppose State Aid to Church Schools
MAJOR PART OF THE NEW LIFE ADVERTISEMENT FOLLOWS:
EDUCATION AND TRAINING REFORM BILL:
A DISASTER FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
The Bill Destroys the Victorian Nineteenth Century Protestant Settlement For Separation of Religion and the State. It also undermines the very fabric of Public Education:
“The State should have nothing to do with religion except to let it alone”. ( Victorian Parliamentarian, 1869.)
“No Government has the right to force any person to support or be involved in any religion, not even their own.” ( James Madison)
The union of religion and the State, the combination of civil force with religion, leads to a violation of religious liberty, religion itself, religious purity and virility. The principles of the gospel and the lessons of history.
Protestants above all should have learnt from bitter experience. It is neither in the interests of religion to invite the civil government into its affairs, nor in the interests of the citizen. It can be the very foundation of religious persecution.
As James Madison has said:
“There is not a shadow or right in the general government to intermeddle with religion. Its least interference with it would be a most flagrant usurpation.”
The uniting of religion with government is hostile to liberty. The separation of religion from government is compatible with liberty. The province of the civil ruler about religion is to have not province at all.
Violation of Religion
No one who understands the nature of true religion or the province and proper function of the State would ever ask or allow the State to involve itself in religion. The sphere of religious conscience is a sphere in which no human government has a right to interfere or attempt to rule. Religion is outside the true and legitimate province of government. Religion should be directed only by reason and conviction, and not by force and violence.
Religious matters should be separated from the jurisdiction of the State, not because they are beneath the interests of the State, but, quite to the contrary, because religion is too high and holy and is thus beyond the competence of the State.
Religion is a strictly individual matter. It belongs in the realm of the individual’s choice and action. Religion is not in the realm of the publicly dictated and supervised choice and action. Religion is in the realm of the free, not the regimented. It belongs, in the sphere of the voluntary and non-controlled. It is not the province of the law and the controlled.
There should be no invasion of the person’s private citadel. In matters of religious thought and conscience a person is only accountable to God, and to any other person or persons he or she invites.
Violation of Religious Liberty
Religion by its nature is a voluntary expression. Taxation is not a voluntary act. Whatever we do or give in religion must not be a matter of law, but of conscience. There is no more sacred or basic right than of contributing only to the religion and its activities to which one wishes to contribute, and to the extent that one wishes to contribute to it, if any. The attempt to compel another to be involved in religion is the germ that develops into spiritual despotism. “Taxing a person for religion is the very essence of tyranny.”
The payment of money for the support of any endeavour constitutes one’s involvement in that endeavour. One of the most important of all acts of worship is that of contributing to whatever religion one approves. The government’s extraction of compulsory contribution through taxation to be used for religion forces one to pay homage, - to participate in a religion to which one may be conscientiously opposed. This is a violation of both freedom of worship and freedom of con science.
Violation of Religious Purity and Virility
It is important for religious purity and virility that religion is not supported by the State. To gain government support religion has to reduce itself in its purity. It has to accept force into religion; accept financial support that is derived from vices; accept a lowest common denominator approach to religion, that which is acceptable to the government; and accept a patent, compressible religion, a new state sponsored religion, the residium of religious beliefs, acceptable to all faiths. Acceptance of Government tutelage attracts unsuitable persons to the area of religion time servers whose most strenuous job will be the wheedling of their work conditions and annual salary from administrators and legislators.
Living religion does not need an alliance with the State. However, when the divine element is missing, people seek to supply the lack by legislative means. When the Church departs from the truth and loses its purity and power, it begins to clamour for the support of the government. In a free climate, without government support or interference, the virile will survive and the other fail.
Whatever ills afflict religion, they will be compounded by government support. An entente between religionists and the State will not arrest but hasten the decline of religion. Public subsidy becomes like a narcotic to the religion that takes it, dulling its perception even further, and producing an addictions and craving for more.
The Christ who gave the invitation: “Come unto Me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” at no time called upon the State’s powers of compulsion. The continuing of religion and the civil power is not in harmony with Christianity. Civil government depends upon action and force; Christianity depends upon volition, love and acceptance. Civil government represents force; Christianity can accomplish its ends only if it refrains from the use of force.
Violation of the Lessons of History
Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. May the present generation learn and profit from history. History witnesses that the combination of the State and religion, instead of maintaining the purity and the efficacy of religion has the contrary operation. What has been true in the past will be true in time to come. The quality of religion can be measured by its association with the civil government.
The voice of inspiration and history tell the same story; when religion invokes the aid of the civil power, it is a signal that religious decay has occurred and is occurring. When the churchmen turn from God and their own constituents to ask Caesar to provide religion with coerced physical and financial support, their spiritual force and appeal is deteriorating.
Down through the ages one of the great dangers to liberty has been the insatiable desire of so-called “religious men” to get their hands on the powers and purse of the State 0- they unite religion and the State. The record of history indicates a fearful commentary on such unions. It is a combination that compels persons, invading their consciences in matters of religion. People should remember that the darkest page of all the Dark Ages reveals a time when the interests of religion became the business of the State.
Foundation of Religious Persecution
Christians believe that they have the truth and it is to a person’s benefit to receive it. The foundation of religious persecution is laid when the religionists disregard a person’s right of choice and invitation, and, claiming to hold the truth, combine with the State, using its physical and financial resources to force the truth on others.
Once religionists admit the State’s right to interference, religionists give themselves away, placing themselves at the mercy of the State. It is foolish, unwise and wrong to invite or allow the government to interfere or involve itself in any religious matters.
Logically, if religionists allow the State today to promote discussion about religion, they have no right to complain tomorrow if the State does its utmost tomorrow to hinder discussion about religion. (For example in the Catch the Fire Ministries case, the Government is hindering religion. But can Christians consistently complain about their current predicament if they take government money for their institutions?)
Persecution of Christians has occurred in our past and is still occurring in those countries with theocracies. It will happen again and in our country and in our own time
Who should support religion? Religion is the direct concern of its adherents and not that of the State. Religious believers should be free to work out their own problems in their own way. Religion should rise or fall according to the devotion of its supporters. Religious institutions and activities imperiled by constituent apathy should be allowed to wither on the vine.
Religion should be left with the home, the church, and the inviolable citadel of the individual heart and mind. In this way, support is given to religious liberty, religion itself, religious purity and virility, and the principles of the Gospel.
If the lessons hammered out on the anvil of history are heeded, if religion is kept separate from the civil authority, then the religious persecutions of the past will not be repeated. The interests of religion and the liberty of citizens dictate that civil government should have no province at all in religion.
Religious freedom was only obtained by action and will only be retained by action.
If you are a supporter of religious freedom
OPPOSE THE INTRODUCTION OF THE
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
For further discussion on these matters, listen to 3CR,
855 on the am dial
12.30 p.m. next Saturday.
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|Last modified:Thursday, 16 February 2006|