Warding off Christianity
Yesterday Access Ministries attracted a lot of heat and attention after their portrayal of Australian teachers as harsh, uncaring, authoritarians with a perversion for torturing kids. In the wake of this tsunami of criticism two things occurred:
- Access Ministries removed the offending material for their online store, and
- Rob Ward, Victorian Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, emerged from the shadows with all guns-a-blazing.
In a two page piece Mr. Ward lambastes “militant secularists and atheists” accusing we want to “expunge Christianity from the classroom” and view Christianity as a “dangerous toxin from which children must be protected”. Even Anglican Priests are not immune from Mr. Ward’s mouth foaming venom if they dare to call the curriculum developed by Access Ministries “crap”. So in the interests of education I feel obliged to correct Mr. Ward’s on a number of matters.
According to Access Ministries 2009 annual review regarding “Christian Religious Education and School Chaplaincy for Victoria” they received $5,500,000 of Government funds to deliver “Christian Religious Education” to 319,305 school children with 282 staff and 3,477 volunteers to 68% of all State Primary schools in Victoria. The same report states Access Ministries Mission is to:
“… reach students and school communities in Victoria and beyond with the transforming love of God and His Son Jesus Christ.” – Access Ministries
They achieve their goals by:
- Provide quality, dynamic and relevant Christian religious education, chaplaincy and other appropriate activities
- Equip CRE teachers, chaplains and others to teach and nurture students
- Are student-focused, educationally sound, biblically faithful, theologically clear and contextually appropriate
- Model Christ’s love, authentically, without discrimination
On the surface this leans far more toward religious instruction than the impartial religious education Mr. Ward promotes when he asks:
“What’s wrong with accredited volunteers teaching kids a few Bible stories and telling them about Jesus?” – Rob Ward
“If you don’t think there isn’t a difference between education and instruction, ask yourself if you want children to receive sexual instruction instead of sexual education.”
The student literature pulled from sale yesterday by Access Ministries makes it clear they are not teaching what Christians believe, rather what to believe; and undermining decent hard working teachers in the process – many of them almost certainly Christians themselves.
The central point Rob Ward, Tim Mander (CEO Scripture Union QLD), Jim Wallace (Twitter incompetent), those at Access Ministries, and other vocal Christians do not understand is very simple: Not everyone believes what they believe.
Sure children can opt out of religious
indoctrination education instruction, but they are banned by the Education Department from learning anything while these classes are being conducted (although some might argue you don’t learn anything even if you do attend). Parents who do not wish their child to be spoon fed Christianity must make the conscious decision their child will learn nothing instead. This is absurd.
Yes, others faiths are able to present their beliefs, but how many have resources approaching those of Access Ministries, or Scripture Union? Next to none I would hazard a guess, especially in light of Access Ministries 68% coverage in Victoria alone.
Should the Government be awarding one religion the lion’s share of funding simply because it’s popular? Since when has popularity ever been a guide to supernatural truths (if such a thing exists)? There was a time when entire countries believed in the pantheon of Greek Gods, but this does not make them any more real. Sure Jesus may have been “a good man whose teachings offer us much”, but this long way from demonstrating the “transforming love of God and His Son Jesus Christ”.
Shouldn’t a secular and non-discriminatory Government provide equal funding and access to children to all faiths? How should the Government decide which religions, denominations, and sects will receive funding without appearing to favour one over another? Will Rob Ward stand up and defend the rights Muslims to ensure they receive the same access to primary school children Access Ministries enjoys?
No, I suspect not.
For all their pompous posturing, Government funded evangelical Christian agencies do not “do unto others as they would do unto you”. Once again the “militant secularists and atheists” find themselves standing up for the rights of all religious views and requests our Government stops trying to play God with our children.