The Australian Constitution has a church and state separation specification:
Chapter V, Section 116 – Commonwealth not to legislate in respect of religion
The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.
Religious education in Australian public schools unquestionably constitutes an ‘imposition of a religious observance,’ but state governments have regardless long mandated religious education classes.
The NSW Government under former premier Nathan Rees made a baby-step forward in removing this imposition by introducing a trial of secular ethics classes in public schools- and it got the religion industry running scared:
THE Anglican Archbishop of Sydney [Peter Jensen] has privately lobbied the Premier, Kristina Keneally, against the permanent introduction of secular ethics classes in public schools, saying they would jeopardise the future of religious education.
Jensen’s right- but religious education has no place in Australian public schools, at least not beyond curricula which describes the notion that religions are indeed practised by certain people in Australia. Unfortunately, public school RE classes treat religion as factual and Christianity as being the ‘right’ religion.
Archbishop Peter Jensen said Ms Keneally had promised the Anglican Church would have input into the trial, which would be subject to an independent review.
If the self-professed Catholic Keneally indeed made this promise, it is demonstrative of a deep conflict of interest. It would be wholly inappropriate to allow a religion to vet secular ethics classes, just as inappropriate as permitting Sydney Atheists to have input into scripture classes.
It’s time for religion to get out of public schools and for government to stop pouring public money into support of religious schools. There’s a place for religions in Australia- that’s in churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.
Public schools are where children should learn facts. Promotion of superstition should be relegated to the superfaerie fan clubs.
7 Comments so far
Leave a comment
Leave a comment