18 MAY 2009




Australian Experience Supports Exclusion of Honesty



Is Honesty no Longer a Christian Value?

Honesty is not included amongst the fifteen Christian values listed for the United Kingdom Church of England schools. Furthermore, DOGS note that religious liberty is also excluded.

The exclusion of honesty from the list of Christian values is particularly relevant to the experience of the DOGS before, during and after the DOGS High Court Australian case.www.adogs.info/dogs_high_court_case1.htm

In the DOGS case we watched with considerable interest the value of 'honesty' - or lack of it - intersecting with the performance of the Church School faction.

What happened to Honesty in the Christian Ethos?

The Church of England website in the UK and statements by the chief executive education officer, Rev. Jan Ainsworth, reveal that the C of E have identified fifteen core values for the development of a Christian ethos in their schools. But honesty misses out. The following is the list:

Reverence; wisdom; thankfulness; humility; endurance; service; compassion; trust; peace; forgiveness; friendship; justice; hope; creation; koinonia.

DOGS are surprised that a religious organisation based on the Holy Bible like the C of E would leave out the value of honesty. DOGS were under the understanding that honesty was central to the ten commandments. Honesty is directly reflected in:

  • "thou shalt not steal''; and

  • "thou shalt not bear false witness'', and indirectly reflected in

  • "thou shalt not commit adultery'' and

  • "thou shalt not covet".

It appears to the DOGS that "honesty" is relevant to at least four of the Ten Commandments, yet, for the C of E schools in the UK, it could not even make it to fifteenth place.

Honesty, The Church School Faction and the Australian Situation

DOGS thank the C of E in the UK for their admission that honesty is not  important enough to be on a fifteen point short list for  Christian schools. The Australian experience indicates that honesty should not be put on the list of values espoused by the church school faction in this country, and be honest like the UK Church of England. 

DOGS would suggest that Church school faction put out the following as their list of actual values:

  • Power

  • Pence with

  • Principles, whatever moral principles they may be,  falling off the edge.

Religious Liberty Missing from the UK List

For DOGS and those interested in a liberal democratic society, religious liberty should have been high on the list of Christian values.  Yet again, the C of E in the UK may have delivered a back-handed, honest, admission. The C of E church schools within the United Kingdom owe their very existence to the breaching of religious liberty. Old dissenters, but not the C of E in England would understand that the funding of religious schools is a violation of the principle of religious liberty. This underlying principle is far more prevalent in the New World: the USA, Australia and Canada. It was hammered out by religious persecution in the Old World as well as parts of the fifteen colonies in the eastern seaboard of the USA and acknowledged by the major Founding Fathers in Australia.

Tax funding of religious schools is a violation of the principle of separation of Church and State and religious liberty for the following reasons:

1.    Violation of the Principle of Separation of Church and State.

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.

We 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 of 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 no province at all.'

2.    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 conscience.

That all persons should agree that they should have the right and freedom to disagree in the realm of faith and theology is self-evident. The concomitant of this universal and absolute right and freedom to disagree about religion is that no man or government can legitimately force another man or group to support religion, its apparatus, activities, or institution.

Citizens in the USA have long realised that if a government can assist a religion, it has every right to hinder it. Help and hindering are merely the two sides of the Church/State separation coin. In the end he who pays the piper calls the tune.

The C of E in the UK has for a long time grabbed money from the public Treasury. The Church School Faction in Australia has followed suit.

It is time that citizens looked hard and long at the meaning of freedom of conscience.

DOGS Australian High Court Case Relevant to the Exclusion of Honesty as a Core Christian Value

The experience of the DOGS in their High Court case in particular, and their experience of the church school faction in the Body politic, justifies the exclusion of honesty as a core value guiding certain sections of the Church school faction in Australia.

DOGS relate the question of honesty in Australia to four episodes which occurred before, during, and after the DOGS High Court case.

  1. Catholic schools in Australia are not conducted for religious or confessional purposes:

  2. Catholic schools do not encourage Catholic vocations

  3. Catholic schools do not have as any part of their purpose the inculcation of religious values

  4. The Roman Catholic church recognised the right of citizens to go to the High Court.

The first three points listed above are extracted from one of the High Court documents, The Facts Proved in Evidence: Statement on behalf of Defendants, National Council of Independent Schools and the Reverend Father F.M. Martin.

Readers should note that DOGS are not attributing any wrong or illegal Act to the Church school faction. The defendants in this case acted within the law and within the rules of the Australian High Court. They simply worked the system and the High Court did not object. If anybody wishes to read further about this land mark case in English speaking legal history please go to www.adogs.info/dogs_high_court_case1.htm

 1. Do you believe this proposition put forward by the Church School faction in the High Court of Australia?

Catholic schools in Australia are not conducted for religious or confessional purposes:

After a Trial of Facts which lasted for 26 days, the Church School faction, in a written Submission said -

'The fact is that Catholic Schools in Australia are not conducted for religious or confessional purposes.'

They also said that the aims of State and Church schools were the same; at least 90% of the content in both systems was secular and 'fundamentally identical'; of the remaining 10% 1% was specifically Catholic; and the 'atmosphere' of Catholic Schools - that of 'care and concern' was, as Justice Murphy pointed out, common to the agnostic and atheist. Consistent with this evidence it was also asserted that classroom teachers were selected on professional and not religious grounds.

This of course, is quite contrary to the aims and statements about Catholic Education proclaimed outside the High Court for over a century and since delivered to the faithful in Church papers. and other documents.

What do you make of the following Statements Contradicting the above but made outside the High Court of Australia?

' Catholic education is above all a question of communicating Christ, of helping to form Christ in the lives of others.' Pope John Paul 11, The Catholic Weekly, 13 May 1979,p.2.


'The survival of Catholic Schools is tied to the survival of the Church. The School is an essential instrument for the spreading and deepening of faith, for the expansion of Christianity and the Reign of God.' Pope John Paul 11, Southern Cross Newspaper, 9 February, 1984, p. 7.

'The special character fo the catholic School, the underlying reason for it, the reason for it, the reason why Catholic parents should prefer it, is precisely the quality of the religious instruction integrated into the education of the pupils.' Cardinal Agostino Casaroli - Papal Secretary of State 1980, quoting Pope John Paul 11, Catechesi Tradendee 69.

2.  Do you believe this proposition put forward by the Church School faction in the High Court of Australia?

Catholic schools do not encourage Catholic vocations

In their submission to the High Court of Australia, the witness most clearly associated with questions relating to vocations to religious or priestly life, disclaimed any attempt by Catholic schools to 'encourage people to take up such a life.'

What do you make of the following Statements Contradicting the above but made outside the High Court of Australia?

Emmaus College, Forest Hill: Nearly 50 members of twenty six religious orders attended the college vocations day. It was reported that Pope John Paul's World Day of Prayer for Vocations Message was used in which he said that a Catholic school is mandated by the Church to contribute to the integral education of the person and the Christian. A school is charged with encouraging the seeds of vocations planted by the Holy Spirit in the souls of the young. Advocate 12 October, 1989, p. 7

Pope John Paul's statement outlined above was repeated at a Religious Vocations promotion 19 May 1999 at Xavier College, Kew. There were twenty five members of religious orders that attended this vocation day. Kairos, 13-20 June 1999.

3.  Do you believe this proposition put forward by the Church School faction in the High Court of Australia?

    ' Catholic schools do not have as any part of their purpose the inculcation of religious values ''in evidence submitted to the High Court of Australia the church school faction wrote:

'Catholic schools do not have, as any part of their purpose, the inculcation of religious values'.

What do you make of the following Statements Contradicting the above but made outside the High Court of Australia?

Ķur large system of Catholic schools is a wonderful asset', he said, but 'by themselves schools are often unable to inculcate or strengthen the faith when it is very weak in a family'  Archbishop Pell, Catholic Leader, 24 March 2002, p. 3.

'Mother Catherine McCauley believed that education inculcated with the Christian values would provide.....' from 'Catholic Education in the Nineties', Education Supplement, p. 28, Catholic Leader 26 July 1998.

4. Do you believe this proposition put forward by the Church School faction after they won the case in the  High Court of Australia?

The Roman Catholic church recognised the right of citizens to go to the High Court.

Once the decision came out in their favour, the spokesmen for the Church School faction claimed that the Church recognised the right of citizens to go to the Court to have their claims heard. ( Media Statement of Father J. Williams and Father T. Doyle, Advocate February, 1981).

What do you make of the following? Actions speak louder than words!

From 1956 to 1978 the Roman Catholic school church faction did everything in their power to prevent Attorneys-General around Australia giving fiat and during 1973 to 1978 they tried by various means to have the Victorian Attorney-General's fiat withdrawn. In court, in 1980, they used every argument they could muster to claim that the no-State-Aiders should not have Standing through the fiat or as taxpayers in the court.

Why Opposites inside and outside the Court?

Wouldn't the honest position be the same inside and outside the High Court, particularly for religious institutions. Or does Honesty for Christians have a price?

DOGS Suggest an explanation for the lack of Consistency/Honesty on the part of the Church School Faction.

The uninitiated fail to realise that for many religious institutions power and pence comes well before principles or moral values. If the Church school faction lost the DOGS case In the Australian High Court it could have meant a loss to their coffers of millions, now billions of taxpayer dollars. To be successful, DOGS believed that to win the case, they had to win both parts of the case: the constitutional ( separation of church and state in Section 116 of the Australian Constitution), and religious schools are religious institutions which are vastly different from secular State schools. Although the Church schools have told whoever listened that the DOGS had no chance of winning the Section 116 part of the case, the truth was, they were very concerned. They were never certain of the political finding which they received. However, if the Church Schools lost on the Section 116, they could have still won the case if they proved to the court that religious schools were very similar to State schools. This required a reduction of the religiosity of church schools to a level commensurate with that in State schools. So, to save the High Court case, DOGS contend that there was a difference between the statements made by the church school faction in the High Court and those statements made outside the court before and after the case.

  Behind the Scenes Management of the DOGS High Court case

As evidence of behind the scenes management of the DOGS  High Court case by the Church School faction or their operatives, or their hired servants, consider the following:

...our confounded High Court writ of course, causes our lawyers to make NCIS ( National Council of Independent Schools) and perhaps the VCEO ( Victorian Catholic Education Office) soft-pedal in the religious nature of our schools 'Excerpt from a letter sent by an executive officer of NCIS to a Roman Catholic activist in Canberra April 1979. ( The DOGS case commenced in March 1979.)

'' Because of the High Court challenge to funding for Independent Schools mounted by the organisation known as DOGS, critical discussion of education matters in the Catholic press was unavoidably restricted for some time". Ronald Conway, The Advocate, 28 August, 1980.

"While the case was before the High Court, as it has been now for some years, it was almost impossible to discuss some important aspects of it...it will clear the air by enabling discussion of what the school system is about."Niall Brennan, The Advocate 19 February 1981.

Management by Church School Faction Described by Neill McPhee, QC for DOGS.

The following Statement was made in the Trial of Facts and is contained in the Transcript of the High Court, on  June 5, 1979 at page 2128.

Now, I do not want to derogate in any way from my learned friend's skill as a cross examiner, your Honour, but to put it at its lowest, his cross examination has lacked the excitement and danger that the cross examiner is normally in when all that Mr. Shaw has to do is to ask a series of leading questions and derive answers that have no doubt been discussed in Conference.

The defendants declined to call their own witnesses from church schools, presumably for fear that they might be subjected to cross examination. Only four witnesses were called by the defendants and these were connected to State Schools system.

The defendants, namely the Church school faction, obtained information as to religious, moral content in State school curricula. This approach muddied further the difference between religious and State schools.

What price honesty? What price morality?




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Last modified:Tuesday, 19 May 2009