If you haven’t been following this thread, and in particular the comments on the previous post, I just wanted to say a few more words to emphasise that the whole religion is schools thing is not just an academic exercise, but actually has a personal dimension.
In the previous post, a commenter pointed out that they felt the Age’s article on which I based the post was unbalanced, implying that I should have challenged it. Just for the record, I didn’t want to challenge it; on the contrary I agree with its sentiments. It’s actually not my desire in this blog to present anything resembling balanced reporting. One reason for this is that I am presenting opinions, and they are unbalanced by definition. The second reason is that many of the topics I cover do not deserve balance. That is, not all topics are capable of being discussed in a balanced way. For example, how can one discuss homeopathy with any balance – I can’t on one hand think it’s nonsense with no prospect of any effect, and on the other allow for the opposite to be true.
So it is with religion in schools. I can’t be opposed to the manner in which religion is taught in schools, and yet somehow agree with it, just in the name of balance. That would be hypocritical.
At least I am telling it like it is, unlike the tactics of the Access Ministries. If I didn’t make it clear in the previous post, I think their spokesman is being intellectually dishonest when he dodges explaining the real mission of his organisation in schools. It is not to teach kids to have an opinion. It is to teach kids to have their (i.e. the opinion of Access Ministries) opinion.
I have seen this in action with both my children and my grandchildren. In primary school while the RE kids were learning their terrifying tales concerning the punishments on offer should you not take the lord into your heart, my daughter was plonked in front of a replay of her televised Italian lesson, which is meaningless without a teacher present to interact. Did she or parents have the ability to change this as my correspondent argued? Of course not. In a similar, but more worrying incident, my grand-daughter P. was taken to the local church hall for after-school music lessons – and that’s how they were advertised. They certainly were music lessons – as a front for indoctrination of children with religion, with all the usual heavy-handed bible stories. The lessons came to an end after the second lesson, when P came home asking some heavy questions about religion, such as ‘who is god’ and ‘why do I need to love him?’.
I’m sure that most people trying to push their beliefs onto others are not intentionally setting out to deceive – rather, they are so committed to their beliefs that they lose sight of the big picture, and the rights of others not to be harangued, and also find it inconceivable that anyone could object.
But then, I’m a charitable person.