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Tempers flare as religious instruction classes get the axe

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The Educator | 25 Aug 2015, 08:30 AM Agree 0
Removing Special Religious Instruction (SRI) from the curriculum could drive students away from state schools, religious providers warn.
  • Brien | 25 Aug 2015, 10:56 AM Agree 0
    If the religionists want their unproven theories in schools, then they can pay for that special privilege themselves. Or they can prove their theories. They have a choice.
    • Chrispen | 26 Aug 2015, 10:07 AM Agree 0
      Unfortunately Brien theories aren't "proven". They are just the best models currently available and can change if new data shows them to be in error.
  • Tim | 25 Aug 2015, 12:09 PM Agree 0
    The idea that this kind of brainwashing of children not yet old enough to rationally and critically think for themselves is acceptable is just disgusting. Were it any other religion than their own being pushed on students, these religious types would be jumping up and down just as much.

    Religion has not only no place in schools, but being forced on children. That a person could be president of an organisation responsible for the upbringing of children and think that this is okay tells that this organisation should be seen as irrelevant, and have no place being permitted making decisions for what's right around children.
    • Matt | 30 May 2016, 03:17 PM Agree 0
      So it's ok to brainwash them with secularism when they are not yet old enough to rationally and critically think for themselves? Disgusting. As we can see, anything other than an anti-theistic world view and these 'secular' types jump up and down.

    • Tte | 02 Jun 2016, 01:10 PM Agree 0
      Matt, thinking rationally and critically is antithetical to religious education.
  • Fairenough | 25 Aug 2015, 12:10 PM Agree 0
    Im fine with teaching religion. But make sure you teach all religions so as not to be biased. Wouldn't want to brain wash children with just one idea would we.?
  • Graeme Hanigan | 25 Aug 2015, 12:31 PM Agree 0
    "The purpose of education is not to validate ignorance, but to overcome it!" Lawrence Kraus.
    • Matt | 30 May 2016, 03:12 PM Agree 0
      Shame Lawrence Krauss doesn't live up to his own creed-dishonest. His book was atrociously poor.
  • JoeCitizen | 25 Aug 2015, 12:37 PM Agree 0
    The move to have religious instruction classes out of normal school hours was a good idea. It still gives students the option to participate, just not at the expense of academic outcomes.
  • Volsted | 25 Aug 2015, 02:00 PM Agree 0
    It's worrying that the Victorian president of the Australian Principals Federation thinks religious evangelism should have a place inside secular public schools.
  • Denis | 25 Aug 2015, 02:07 PM Agree 0
    We need to decide a simple principle – whether or not we want evidence based education.

    If we decide that we want faith rather than evidence as the basis, then the curriculum will teach the kids about the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Chinese giant egg and Mbombo vomit theories of creation, and how angry gods cause volcanoes etc – and then see what kind of jobs they get.

    Alternatively we could teach subjects like languages, science, sports, music and history, and see how productive they are in society. As a tax payer my money is on the evidence based approach.
    • Brett | 30 May 2016, 03:19 PM Agree 0
      Denis doesn't understand 'faith'. If he did he would know what apologetics was. Out of curiosity, how is 'sport' an evidence based ideal?
  • Matthew J Crofts | 25 Aug 2015, 02:53 PM Agree 0
    I commend the government on their decision to place real education above silly superstitions
  • MarkE | 25 Aug 2015, 03:22 PM Agree 0
    Do the religious realise what seculat means? If you allow christian indoctrination then you allow all such as scientology, islam, mormons, hindus. Imagaine the class of children being split up each week accordingly to their parents superstition. I have not mentioned atheist here as they are the ones being discriminated against again. Seculism is not atheism, it just means the government stays out of the religious business. You just have to look at Northen Ireland and Iraq to know what supporting religion in government does. It angers me that the religious have their churches and mosques or whatever god building(strange how their god only talks in 4 walls) but they want to get in to public education. This is religion after our children, they know before the age of 6 when you indoctrinate you have them for life. Politicians keep these people away from our children or at least give them a fighting chance against these cults.
  • CJ Cadden | 25 Aug 2015, 07:58 PM Agree 0
    This is AD 2015 not 1215. You only have to look at all the conflict in the world today to see that it is a result of religious indoctrination and sectarian hatred. More science and history and less superstition in Australian schools. Who lnows, we might just survive this century as a species.
  • Anna | 25 Aug 2015, 11:24 PM Agree 0
    Tim, how can children grow and mature into discerning adults and make decisions for themselves, if they are not exposed to experiences from which they can later make the decisions best suited for them?
  • Neil A | 26 Aug 2015, 12:57 AM Agree 0
    Julie Podbury at the APF must be talking to different principals than the ones I know. Most would be breathing a great sigh of relief. So will the thousands of teachers forced to sit through creationist drivel, delivered by untrained and hopelessly unskilled christian zealots. And yes Mr Ward, the government's decision does put secularism ahead of faith and that's exactly as it should be in our secular schools. I am surprised however that the Australian Principal's Federation President, Julie Podbury, has been so critical of the decision. You are aware Julie that the principals you represent work in state (secular) schools yes?
  • Neil | 28 Aug 2015, 10:36 AM Agree 0
    Yet daily, left wing, Max Horkheimer styled Marxists do this daily in our schools!

    Hypocrisy is indeed the business card of the left!
  • tchrtk | 29 Aug 2015, 11:15 AM Agree 0
    Oh great, there goes my extra 30 minutes release time...
  • Teacher | 31 Aug 2015, 08:59 AM Agree 0
    Education not indoctrination, public primary schools are not the place for religion of any kind. Those who are up in arms fear that populations as a whole are starting to see the irrelevance of religion in society. In the past religious organisations (still some would do it now) would cry sacrilege and hold an inquisition. All religions should not only not be taught as a subject specific they should be held up to scrutiny as false. Stop trying to indoctrinate, send your kids to church and Sunday school if you want them to learn about your false deities, not in the public education system.
  • balance | 13 Nov 2015, 04:47 AM Agree 0
    Should we not examine what is being shared with the children within the 30 min SRI weekly session. It may be examples of love, compassion, respect and helping others. For many children this session may be an alternate reflection from the self-indulgent & self-centred world they are been raised in.
    • shelly | 28 Feb 2017, 02:14 AM Agree 0
      Totally agree with you. Do the parents know what the children do at these classes ?? It is more like a Christian living class re; kindness to others, sharing with others, respecting others, having compassion for others, sharing love with others & helping others, they also may get a picture to colour in. What is soooooo bad about that ?. Some children do not get this at home.
  • Nick C | 24 Feb 2016, 01:08 PM Agree 0
    If you believe in nothing, you will believe in anything.

    Whether we choose to deny it or not, we are spiritual beings - There is no argument about that, it just is. If that void is not satisfied with something, it will be filled with anything presented in sincerity, whether it is true or not.

    Why do you think so many young ones are flocking to join ISIS and other similar extremist groups that are a present danger to the greater society. It is the wrong message, but it is filling the spiritual void left from being offered nothing else.

    Simply saying that we are secular and should be taught nothing spiritual is possibly one of the most dangerous things that you could do. If we don't do it, somebody else will, and chances are that you really aren't going to like what they say.
    • Truckle the Uncivil | 07 Mar 2017, 03:00 PM Agree 0
      @Nick C
      You conflate a number of issues and assume an unwarranted superiority.
      Your first paragraph means what, precisely ? How is it relevant to the conversation? It is just a posture, an attempt to declare moral superiority. Please understand what you are writing.

      You assert that we are all spiritual beings and that may not be validly denied or discussed. There you state your values. The values of an oppressor. The values of a dictator. This is quite common among religions.

      Mind is the construct of the body and brain awhile spirit is the creation of the mind. Spirit has no existence other that a usefully obscure term for how we feel about things. You disagree so you would deny my very existence, my "validity". How are you not a danger to people who do not think like you?

      Why do I think people are "flocking" to ISIS (they are not but there are some)? Not because they are secular or atheist, that much is certain. Yes, religion is doing this. Not secularism and certainly not atheism. FWIW there are studies out there that show the secular and the atheist (separate things) to be least violent or primal of any other studied group.

      If it were on my dollar I would have Atheism taught. On your dollar Christianity, on others, Hinduism, Jainism etc. ad nauseam. That is why the only fair and legitimate thing is that the public arena be secular. Anything else will always oppress someone.
  • Onthe Rightrack | 16 May 2016, 04:00 PM Agree 0
    Yes, let's get rid of unproven theories and brainwashing. Hmmm.... Oh well I guess EVOLUTION will have to go. That's definitely unproven. Even the apes know that.

    Looks like we will have to tell all the GAY people to snap out of it too. Being gay has not been proven to be in your genes as we were continually told for a few decades. It now seems to be a personal choice. So we can't start teaching kids about that otherwise we would be brain washing them and some of them would start thinking it is normal to be gay. More children than ever would grow up and actually THINK they are gay and then we would end up with a stolen generation in 40 or 50 years because some of those people would turn around and blame society for what they have become and what they have missed out on, like a real family and biological children of their own, etc etc.

    Oh and by the way, stop calling people homophobic and bullying them, just because they have a different opinion to you and your narrow and brainwashed mind.
  • simon@syd | 28 Jul 2016, 01:09 PM Agree 0
    Foley is just afraid of Nile. What rate is church attendance at these days? We ARE a secular society, and a secular education model would be fit for us. BTW: bring on the census in August (despite new privacy concerns); don't put 'jedi knight' as religion - put down 'atheist'. Give the religious few a scare, and our politicians a bit of data to support their weak backbones.
  • Jodi | 18 Sep 2016, 08:05 PM Agree 0
    Can we please remove SRI in Qld too? Tim Mander is a joke.
  • Mark McPherson | 20 Jan 2017, 09:34 AM Agree 0
    I didn't even know they still had ' religion ' classes in school. Anyway, I assume they're only referring to primary schools because in high schools, these sorts of classes went out in the 60s didn't they? With the incredible decline in number of adults attending church of any description on a regular basis, I'm not surprised it's time for these classes to go. Some parents might wish their children to attend such classes but when they don't themselves, it's a little rich if not just plain hypocritical. And given the concerns some people have, somewhat misguided however, that standards of literacy and you must see are declining, then perhaps that time would be better spent on these other topics
    • Sam | 11 Apr 2017, 01:53 PM Agree 0
      It can go all the way up to year 10 before it actually becomes "Religious Studies". Prior to that, it's pushing one agenda over others.
  • LOVE JOY PEACE TOLERANCE | 19 Jun 2017, 12:34 PM Agree 0
    So, I am a person who had RI in school. Nothing was pushed.. We asked questions. We talked at times with our parents who agreed or disagreed with what we were taught but there was balance. We thought, thought, thought! There was no blind acceptance. Yes it was one world view. So we got to choose what we believed. We had something to compare secularism with. No-one got hurt and in fact many had a starting point. It was a different world I guess and I think a lot more respectful.

    What I want to know is where is this hostility coming from? Come on. Is it really about secularism vs faith or an aggressive hatred of Christianity. A blind faith in atheism that allows no other world view perhaps. A brainwashing perhaps by Krause and Hawkings? Can they prove there is no God? No more than a Jew/Christian/Moslem can prove there is one. So...let's just respect and allow hey?

    In teaching right from wrong, to be honest, to work hard, to help people, to love yourself and others - are you kidding - of course we need this kind of programs in schools. Where have you been teaching that these kinds of things are not needed? Teaching RI is a hard, hard gig. The people come in to try to share love, peace and joy and meaning but are faced with sometimes outright aggression. One post mentioned 20% of the children's parents wanting RI, and 30 minutes per week. Really, and you can't deliver that for 20% of the kids? You can't schedule 30 minutes? And BTW this nation has a Christian heritage right? That's historically why RI has been present in school. If we had been Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic it might have been different.

    I truly don't understand the anger. There are hypocrites in every belief system and hell, I think I'm one - just trying to live up to a standard and failing makes me human.

  • DE | 28 Aug 2017, 02:41 PM Agree 0
    South Australian public schools have not had compulsory RE in a long, long time. Nobody has suffered as a result. However, study in an area is worthwhile if it brings understanding in that area. So, why not study ALL forms of religion? Limiting yourself to one point of view has never been at the foundation of a good education.
  • Dr MICHAEL FURTADO | 03 Nov 2017, 03:30 AM Agree 0
    The axing of Special RE in Victoria's state schools will drive some state school parents to enrol their children in denominational schools. This, in turn, will pressurise state and Commonwealth authorities to increase the proportion of their funding to religious non-government schools, and conversely to decrease their funding of state schools as their numbers plummet, thereby reinforcing the logic that children should be equally funded regardless of the schools in which their parents enrol them. Such an overarching principle underpins the 'equal' funding of secular and religious schools in most developed, pluralistic OECD polities, such as the UK, all of Western Europe and New Zealand. In this instance, the extreme Victorian secularists have not only kicked an own goal but inadvertently triggered an impetus for Australians to align our school-funding policies with those of most of the OECD, in which it is private schooling, rather than religious schooling, that isn't publicly funded.
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