AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.

PRESS RELEASE 137#.

 

 EDUCATION AND

TRAINING REFORM BILL :

IS A BAD IDEA:

 ANOTHER REACTION FROM A PROTESTANT DISSENTING GROUP

23 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 another paid advertisement DOGS discovered in a Christian newspaper distributed throughout Australia. It was found on page 5 of New Life, 23 February 2006 issue. 

The contents of this Advertisement illustrates a number of the reasons why people of many belief systems -and non belief, Christians, minority religions, humanists, atheists, rationalists, as well as secularists - have always,  and still do, oppose State Aid to Church Schools

THE FOLLOWING IS THE NEW LIFE ADVERTISEMENT:

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THERE NEVER IS A RIGHT TIME FOR BAD IDEAS

 

EDUCATION AND TRAINING REFORM BILL IS A BAD IDEA

This Bill is

      Disastrous for Public Education,

      Freedom of Religion,

      Separation of Church and State and

      Is a danger to religious teaching in non-Roman Catholic Church Schools

Overview:

This Bill introduces compulsory religion and religious tests for teachers in all State Schools alongside a commitment in both public and private schools to the principles and practice of ….”freedom of religion, freedom of speech and association, and values of openness and tolerance”.

This Bill has set in train an overall plan for the deliberate destruction of public education; the further destruction of separation of church of state, the further  infringement of religious freedom, and the possibility of neutralizing in the area of religion, the non-Roman Catholic church school sector.

The tragedy for Victorians and their children is that the present ALP Government knows little and remembers less. In Education it is guided and controlled by private school system connected persons and fellow travelers.

The major underlying, unwritten, unspoken purpose of this Bill is the destruction of the public education system. It is part of 134 year battle in Australia against free, secular, and universal public education. The Irish National system, on which our State system was based was destroyed in 1899 by the Roman Catholic Bishops . The Victorian State school system has been similarly embattled since its inception and is now in danger of stealthy annihilation by deceit.

In the process of destroying and privatizing public education, religious freedom and the principles of church state separation are being violated..

Non-Roman Catholic private schools are also in danger of having their particular religious content compromised and controlled.

Whose Version of “Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech and Association?

            Not the Protestant Dissenting View Hammered out through Centuries     of Persecution!

It is clear that the concept of religious freedom in this Bill is a very constricted version of religious freedom. It does not involve the separation of religion from the State or separation of Church and State. This Bill envisages forced contributions to religion; State involvement in religion; forced involvement with religion ( no right of opting out of comparative religion) and it could dictate the version of religion taught in non-Roman Catholic schools.

The Roman Catholic (Theocratic) View will be Accepted as the Only One:

If this Bill is successfully introduced the Roman Catholic view of religious freedom will be subsumed under the Act and become law. The Bill, its provisions, and its assumptions contain all the hallmarks of Roman Catholic values namely:

v Forced contribution to religion

v Entanglement of the church with the state

v Entanglement of the State with religion

v Limited religious freedom

Ms Kosky admitted at a public meeting organized by the Fabian Society and others that she was taking advice from the Roman Catholic system. {20 July 2005

For non-Roman Catholic Church schools there will be a further problem in restriction of the religious content that can be conveyed to their pupils.

Latest Vatican Line ( The Catholic Leader, February 12, 2006, p. 1 )

The latest Vatican line is consistent with the past history of persecution. The latest Roman Catholic version of freedom of expression is that:

“it does not include the right to offend religious sentiments.”

Even in the twenty first century they advocate State intervention in matter of religious expression. :

“Where free speech crosses the line and becomes offensive to a religion, national authorities ‘can and should’ intervene.”

We urge readers to consider recent times in Australia. The Roman Catholic inspired destruction of the Founding Father’s intention and meaning of Section 116 of the Australian Constitution and their campaign of forced taxpayer contributions to religious institutions.

The danger to non-Roman Catholic Church Schools to Their Proselytising Preaching and Teaching. In Their Schools:

If the Roman Catholic view of Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Expression is Accepted, Protestants are in trouble. Protestants maintain that it is their right in the area of religion to promote their beliefs, win converts; retain their adherents; and expose evil and error with the strongest advocacy and criticism. It is fundamental to most Protestants  that they assert the truth of their own doctrines and at least implicitly deny the validity of others

Religion consists of views, beliefs, traditions and practices. If anything warrants hatred or contempt some actually or potential religious view do so. Religious views can support the most contemptible attitudes and practices. There are religions which may well be regarded by thoughtful citizens as harmful. Should it not be possible to attack in the strongest terms, the mutilation and slaying of people for religious reasons; the stoning of adulterers; the cutting off of hands of thieves; the burning of widows; or the circumcision of young girls?

Unashamedly Protestants have courageously condemned and denounced people, traditions, views and practices in both religion and politics.

This technique of presentation is used for conversion, proselytizing or turning individuals away from improper or evil ways. It is also a method used to keep their flock from straying from what they consider is the straight and narrow. Finally, it is used as a straight out attack on what they consider to be evil.

Under the Roman Catholic view of religious freedom, the above Protestant approach would be unacceptable, even in non-Roman Catholic schools.  

Destruction of the Secularity Provision

One of the fundamental underpinnings of the 1872 Victorian Education Act was its secularity. This secularity signified that the State should have nothing to do with religion – except to leave well alone. A further major purpose of the secular provision was to take religious issues and conflicts out of all schools so that children from any or no religion could attend and gain an education with respect for all religions with offence to none. The State schools were never irreligious or anti religious.

To preserve the right of parents and children to a religious education of their choice, denominational teachers were permitted entrance for a set time each week.

The secularity provision enabled public (State) schools to achieve their major purpose. This was the political purpose of having a united community of educated citizens. The public (State) school was envisaged as a social harmonizer.

 In the proposed  2006 Bill, the secular provision has gone. Religion has been made the business of the State whether you like it or not. The religious clause in the  Bill will cause religious people to leave the public school system, thus assisting the long term goal of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

Freedom of Religion Means Freedom from Religion.

If the Protestant dissenting view of freedom of religion is applied, then parents/children should be able to opt out of general religious education. Under this Bill there is no such provision. Once again, the ALP is imposing on Victoria a nonsense view of religious freedom.

What is Wrong with the State Sponsored Religion in this Bill?

The Bill is based on the philosophy that the exclusion of religion  from the school curriculum tends to make religion a private matter, prone to the individual caprice and preserve it from the valuable correctives of rational consideration and public scrutiny.

This is mistaken. Religion is a private matter which individuals may opt into. As a State matter, religion is a compulsory activity.

Do you Want your Children Actively Involved in Teaching and Practices offensive to Your Beliefs?

The general religious curriculum could include entering “imaginatively into the festivals, rituals, myths and folklores of various faiths” as well as

“acquiring information about the devotional lives of various people, joining in different rituals, or at least visiting places of worship.”

Many Christian parents may object strongly to their children being exposed and conditioned to rituals offensive to the first and second commandments.

Do you Want the Lowest Common Denominator of a Religious Smorgasbord for Victorian Children?

Compromise and the promotion of the lowest common denominator in religion will be evident. A smorgasbord of what would be acceptable to all will be imposed, first on the State schools, and then on the non Roman Catholic Schools in the name of “openness and tolerance”.

What will be imposed is a new State sponsored concept of religion.

The Primary Responsibility for Religious Education

The primary responsibility for religious education is to be transferred from the churches to a State authority.

The Lessons of History

The worst chapters in the English speaking Western World for body and mind have occurred when religion and state have joined together. The State must not be allowed to involve itself in religious affairs. Once we grant that the State has any right in the area of religion, we have conceded the principle. From there it is only a matter of degree. Religion and religious freedom are best served when religion is left free from State help or hindrance.

The Thin Edge of the Wedge

This Bill is a thin end of wedge. Take heed from the wisdom of James Madison who wrote about the dangers of conceding a principle and entangling the principle in precedent. He warned:

“The best defence of a principle is not to breach the principle.”

The Bill Defies the Wisdom of the Ages by Uniting Religion and the State

The greatest writers and thinkers on religious freedom in the English speaking world: Roger Williams, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Locke and John Milton have maintained that religion and the State should be separated. They did so by recognizing lessons hammered out on the anvil of history. Madison wrote:

“Religion is not within the cognizance of civil government.”

The Slippery Slope: Who will be Next?

History witnesses that once the State involves itself in deciding what is proper and not proper in areas of religion and politics, every one is in danger.

DON’T SEND TO ASK FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS;

IT TOLLS FOR THEE!

Questions for the Council for Christian Education in Schools?

      Was the CCES involved in lobbying as individuals or as a body in the incorporation of compulsory religion in the State School curriculum?

      If they lobbied who did they meet with and when?

      When did the CCES know about the compulsory religious education provisions of the Bill?

 

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For further discussion on these matters, listen to 3CR,

855 on the am dial

at

12.30 p.m. next Saturday.

 
 
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Last modified:Wednesday, 22 February 2006