AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
PRESS RELEASE 434
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROBLEMS IN VICTORIAN SCHOOLS
PREDICTED BY DOGS IN 2006
8 July 2011
A group entitled FAIRNESS IN RELIGIONS IN SCHOOL who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org are concerned about discrimination against their children and their religious belief or non-belief in Victorian State schools. They are confronted with the problems caused by the change of legislation in this (and other) areas under the Bracks Government.
The current problems confronting Victorian parents in public schools in this state were predicted by the DOGS in Press Release 134 – 137, and Press Releases 141, 141 and 144 placed on this website during 2006.
In Press Release 134 at http://www.adogs.info/images/pr134.htm we pointed to a fundamental change in religious education in Victorian public schools under the Education and Training Reform Bill.
We warned citizens of the undermining of the free, secular and universal underpinnings of our public education system in the Bill before the Parliament and placed a full page advertisement in the paper.
This is what we said:
The Proposed Scheme:
Ř Is contrary to the Australian Constitutional Position as espoused by its major architect, Inglis Clark, and the Founding Fathers. It is also contrary to a understanding of separation of Church and State hammered out after hundreds of years of religious persecution.
Ř Is contrary to the position that religious belief and activity is voluntary, and should not be imposed by the State .
Ř Proposes “general” State sponsored, State controlled religion financed by State taxes (compulsory contributions .
The Scheme promises to undermine the basic secular provisions of public education. Public education should provide an education for all children while giving offence to none.
Children and Teachers in Danger:
Under the current Act religious teachers have right of entry once a week to teach children particular religious beliefs. Parents and/or children have the right to opt out.
Under the Proposed Bill General Religious Education is to be a Subject in State Schools. Teachers trained in religious education ( who may have particular beliefs of their own and be trained in religious tertiary institutions offering such courses) may teach the subject. Parents and children do not have the right to opt out.
v There is no opting out provision in the proposed Bill.
Do you want your children or grandchildren in State Schools to be taught General Religious Education as a subject by a person with a different belief system who may use it to indoctrinate as they please?
Do you want your children or grandchildren ostracized on the basis of religion in State Schools if they insist on opting out?
If you are a teacher do you want to be forced to teach religious education when it is contrary to your own personal beliefs?
If you are a teacher, do you want to be discriminated against on the basis of your religious beliefs, or lack of them ?
As a teacher/ educator would you prefer to teach the historical relevance of differing religious beliefs as part of a recognised history or sociology course rather than as a "religious" subject which permits indoctrination by deceit?
v Religious Test for Teachers in State Schools.
For the first time ever, there will be religious tests for permanent State School teachers if this legislation is passed.
This is unacceptable in a school system accessible to all children and teachers.
v Prevent an Equal Opportunity case
Do you, as a parent, grandparent, or citizen want to be dragged into the Equal Opportunity Commission like the "Catch the Fire" folk if you object to a person committed to a different religious belief indoctrinating your children through “general religious education”?
COMPARISON OF OLD ACT AND PROPOSED BILL
Can the State School Teacher Teach Religion
No - See Section 23(3)
Yes - See Section 2.2.10
(3) and (4)
General Religious Education
Not in the Act
Yes – Section 2.2.10 (2),(3),(4)
Provision for opting out.
Right to Opt Out (Specific) Religious Instruction
Section 23 (2) (c)
Section 2.2.11 (c)
STATE SPONSORED RELIGION:
WHAT IS THE SECULARIST'S POSITION?
This Bill is not in harmony with a secular view of the proper relationship between Church and State. For those with minority beliefs or no religious belief at all, there should be no compulsion upon them or their children to contribute to or be involved with the propagation of beliefs to which they do not subscribe
WHAT IS THE PROPER CHRISTIAN POSITION?
Christ said “Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22.21.
At no time did Christ call upon the State’s powers of Compulsion. The combination of religion and the civil power is not in harmony with either the Christian way of life or the historical lessons provided by the Christian martyrs.
WHAT MUST BE DONE?
Religious freedom was only obtained by action of our forebears and will only be retained by action in the current generation.
The proposed Education and Training Reform Bill is contrary to religious liberty and Separation of Church and State.
This legislation must be changed . It should not have even got as far as the Parliamentary Notice Paper.
For further discussion on these matters, listen to 3CR,
Listen to the DOGS program
3CR, 855 on the A.M. dial
12 Noon Saturdays