Photo of nun talking with young female studentAbout one week ago I came across an article by Chrys Stevenson regarding parents at three schools on the [NSW] South Coast complaining after their children were forced to listen in on religious lessons, despite having opted out of the classes. It was there I first heard about Illawarra High School and a blog written by the volunteer SRI/CRE person.

I read through the blog, which consisted of a lot of prayers to God to convince the non-believers to attend their CRE class and thanks for the fact that kids whose parents had opted out are now forced to sit in the same room. It also contained  prayers that the non-Christian kids sitting (unlawfully) at the back of the class will hear the word of God and, most disturbing of all, for a march they organised to ‘claim the school for Christ’.

It read like a big bully sitting on the weak kids until they handed over their lunch money, or in this case, their souls.

You can find their blog at http://ucefinc.blogspot.com/ [now deregistered], however don’t expect to read any of this offending material online. It has been removed! But not before the entire site was copied as screen shots. Here is just one screenshot of what has now been removed [screenshots missing].

It seems very telling indeed when self editing takes place, as if they realise they have done wrong and simply had got away with it until a few people finally started questioning this level of authority imposed on our schools.

Just today there is a news report of bullying at Ulladulla High School and how the parents have indeed complained to their school about this disgrace. It appears that children are being bullied because they do not attend the classes. Some have even been sent to detention while the classes are being run. What do you think goes on in the mind of these children. Could they view it as anything other than a punishment? In fact, the plan was that these kids would indeed be forced into the same room to hear the Sunday school lessons whether they wanted to or not. Time and time again we hear about children who are left to feel discriminated against and to suffer the taunts of other children telling them they will ‘go to hell’.

And this is the problem across the country. Particular Christian groups have been given free access to our secular public school children; indeed they are paid in the millions for this opportunity as well as earning large profits from selling merchandise. It beggars belief that one single group is afforded such privilege in our multi-cultural, multi-faith community. Where is the Aussie trait of the ‘fair go’? Where is our all-inclusive secular government schools? Where is the parent’s right to manage and nurture their own child’s spiritual or ethical needs? How is it that our government hands this job over to volunteers with two days training and the freedom to teach what they please?

These are all valid questions, questions that both our major parties refuse to answer for fear of angering a small but very wealthy minority group. It is time that parents start asking these questions. It’s time they demanded that their child’s ethical and spiritual needs be looked after by them thank you very much. It’s time our public schools got on with the job of educating our children and not indoctrinating them into one particular religious group, no matter how upset they become. Give us all a ‘fair go’.

Photo of Stephen Stuart

Copyright © 2011 Stephen Stuart

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