Having followed the debate on ethics in schools, and the associated bleating by the religiati that their rightful place in society is being eroded, here’s another example demonstrating how religion is a protected species, and that successive governments are just not willing to stand up to them.
Leslie Cannold’s piece on the battle of one Ron Williams to keep his local state school secular is worth reading. Williams was seeking a secular education for his kids, but, as Leslie puts it:
“Williams sent his brood to the local state school, assuming it would fit the bill. It didn’t. Instead, his children were asked for gold coins to take for Scripture Union on crazy hair day or made to attend assemblies where the chaplain presided and a rap song was played extolling the virtues of chaplains over teachers as adults kids could trust. Williams’s desire is simple – to pull the plug on the program that, through “chaplaincy service providers” such as Scripture Union (“Christ’s ambassadors on the front line of ministry”) and Access Ministries (“transform[ing] this nation for God”), is feverishly trying to spend the $437 million of Commonwealth funds to put a chaplain in all the nation’s schools.”
Yes, that’s right – half a billion dollars to put a chaplain in every school. This is outrageous, especially given recent events in which budget cutbacks are being sought from every quarter to help fund disaster recovery.
As some point, politicians need to realise that non-religious people (i.e. the reality-based segment of their electorate) actually do care about this – they care that this stuff is being rammed down their kids’ throats, and they care that their tax dollars are being spent to prop up the fantasy world of one section of the community. Isn’t it bad enough that those tax dollars are also propping up sci-fi cults such as Scientology, and the bully-boys of the evangelist Hillsong movement?
I wish Ron Williams well in his High Court challenge to the National School Chaplaincy Program, and eagerly await the outcome.
Oh, and in the interests of equity, I call on the Federal Government to fully fund the next Star Trek convention, to enable me to pursue my fantasy world without needing to dip my hands into my pockets.