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Old 08-01-2010, 06:51 PM   #1
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Religion in Public Schools

I think that lying to children and sometimes slipping in threats of fire and brimstone can tip into the realm of child abuse. This is what Australia gets for giving the Christian lobby a place in public classrooms
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Creationists hijack lessons and teach schoolkids man and dinosaurs walked together

PRIMARY school students are being taught that man and dinosaurs walked the Earth together and that there is fossil evidence to prove it. Fundamentalist Christians are hijacking Religious Instruction (RI) classes in Queensland despite education experts saying Creationism and attempts to convert children to Christianity have no place in state schools. Students have been told Noah collected dinosaur eggs to bring on the Ark, and Adam and Eve were not eaten by dinosaurs because they were under a protective spell.

Critics are calling for the RI program to be scrapped after claims emerged Christian lay people are feeding children misinformation. About 80 per cent of children at state primary schools attend one half-hour instruction a week, open to any interested lay person to conduct. Many of the instructors are from Pentecostal churches. Education Queensland is aware that Creationism is being taught by some religious instructors, but said parents could opt out.

Australian Secular Lobby president Hugh Wilson said children were ostracised and discriminated against if they were pulled out of the class.

In many cases, the RI lay people were not supervised by teachers.

Kings Christian Church youth worker Dustin Bell said he taught "about creation" in Sunshine Coast schools.

Set Free Christian Church's Tim McKenzie said when students questioned him why dinosaur fossils carbon dated as earlier than man, he replied that the great flood must have skewed the data.

Queensland Teachers Union president Steve Ryan said teachers were sometimes compelled to supervise the instructors "because of all the fire and brimstone stuff".

Mr Ryan said Education Queensland had deemed RI a must-have, though teachers would prefer to spend the time on curriculum.

Buddhist Council of Queensland president Jim Ferguson said he was so disturbed that Creationism was being aired in state school classrooms that he would bring it up at the next meeting of the Religious Education Advisory Committee, part of Education Queensland.

He said RI was supposed to be a forum for multi-faith discussion.

Education Queensland assistant director-general Patrea Walton said Creationism was part of some faiths, and therefore was part of some teaching.

New research shows three in 10 Australians believe dinosaurs and man did exist at the same time. The survey, by the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, shows a "worrying" lack of basic scientific principles.

"The results underscore the need for students to be exposed to science and mathematics through a well resourced education system, rather than learning about science through Jurassic Park," FASTS president Dr Cathy Foley said.

PhD researcher Cathy Byrne found in a NSW-based survey that scripture teachers tended to discourage questioning, emphasised submission to authority and excluded different beliefs. She said 70 per cent of scripture teachers thought children should be taught the Bible as historical fact.

A parent of a Year 5 student on the Sunshine Coast said his daughter was ostracised to the library after arguing with her scripture teacher about DNA.

"The scripture teacher told the class that all people were descended from Adam and Eve," he said.

"My daughter rightly pointed out, as I had been teaching her about DNA and science, that 'wouldn't they all be inbred'?

"But the teacher replied that DNA wasn't invented then."

After the parent complained, the girl spent the rest of the year's classes in the library.
Creationists hijack lessons and teach schoolkids man and dinosaurs walked together | News.com.au

Lying for Jesus seems to be quite frequent when it comes to that religion.
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:09 PM   #2
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Fundamentalist Christians
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:58 PM   #3
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They step foot inside the schools because of more moderate lobbying.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:37 PM   #4
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i was wondering if you were going to put this up! I received it in an email a few days ago. The first thing to get me riled up was the mention 'in many cases the RI lay person isn't supervised by a teacher' CRAP. Unless Queensland is different to any other state no 'lay' person is allowed unsupervised with children. I have supervised many RI lessons sitting at the back of the room marking and usually behaviour managing!

Secondly, this type of misinformation needs to be addressed. We always have a discussion in class about religion and how there are many different types and they have different beliefs. I teach tolerance and acceptance but urge my students to make their own minds up and read read read! However if an RI teacher told this to my students, i would wait till the end, speak to the RI teacher outside and explain that i an not impressed with the misinformation and then go back inside and explain to my students that actual issue. In fact we've talked about this before in class. MY students are 10,11 and 12 and already very perceptive. That being said about 1/2 the class opt out of RI mostly on the basis of how bloody boring and stupid it is! (colouring in pictures made for 5 year old and reading from the bible for an hour does not make a good RI lesson!)

I would also talk to my principal about it and explain the issue i had. Hopefully if they are a sensible principal, the RI person wouldn't be back again!
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:51 PM   #5
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I find it strange that you have to have RI in your public schools. What is the thinking behind that?
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by maycocksean View Post
I find it strange that you have to have RI in your public schools. What is the thinking behind that?
I'd guess that the US is relatively unusual in not having RI in public schools. Most countries even in the West do not have such strong safeguards to protect the separation of church and state.

Even in Europe, seen as the font of devout secularism by US liberals, whilst the Scandinavian countries are very secular, this is by no means the norm.

For example, the Church of England is still officially recognised as the state religion, in spite of most British people being essentially atheist/agnostic and paying no attention whatever to religion. In Germany, I understand part of your taxes still goes to fund churches, and you have to opt out of this if you disapprove. As for Spain and Portugal, they are still very much institutionally Catholic. And in Poland, it's practically illegal to be a non-believer.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:47 AM   #7
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I think we are in the same vein as the UK here in Australia. Christianity is recognised as our official religion even though i'd say more than half of Australians are other religions or none at all. RI i think is an outdated institution, being around from 'the olden days' where the church wanted a bit of time in a public school. We are still very secular, no praying, or anything like that, RI is more about talking about religion and the bible stories, very basic, almost entertainment (with the right RI teacher!) and a lot of RI lessons have been about other religions as well, not just christianity. I'm not sure why we still have it, but every year it comes around for a term or so, and thats that. I don't have any problem with it being in schools as i see it more as another lesson on something in the world, just as long as its teaching not preaching...i'm happy!
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Creationists hijack lessons and teach schoolkids man and dinosaurs walked together
YouTube - Bill Hicks - Dinosaurs
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:59 PM   #9
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This election has brought out the worst
Quote:
More chaplains under Labor


Up to 1000 additional schools, including those in remote or disadvantaged areas, will get a chaplain service under a re-elected Labor government.

The National School Chaplaincy Program already provides the service to 2700 schools.

If Labor wins the August 21 election, the program would get $222 million to reach more schools, and secure existing chaplains for a further three years.


Labor last year committed funding to run the program for the full school year in 2011.

A national consultation process will consider the scheme's effectiveness and how it fits with other student support activities, with a discussion paper to be released by October.

In a statement, the Labor party said it recognised that some schools in rural, remote and disadvantaged locations had so far missed out.

They would be better considered in the new round, and in rural areas, funding could be pooled so chaplains could service a number of schools.

Labor says funding for the policy would be offset over the forward estimates.
More chaplains under Labor

And Gillard does a good job at being a faitheist
Quote:
Gillard announces $1.5m for MacKillop


Prime Minister Julia Gillard has pledged $1.5 million for the celebrations of Mary MacKillop, who will be canonised as Australia's first saint this year.

Not to be outdone, the opposition's treasury spokesman Joe Hockey immediately matched the amount at a fundraising event in Sydney.

Ms Gillard, who made the commitment at the Mary MacKillop Celebration dinner at Sydney Town Hall on Thursday, paid tribute to Australia's first saint.


"For all Australians, who share a country in which we put freedom of religion into action every day by respecting each others beliefs, it is a time of celebration," she told the gathering.

"The government, if re-elected, will also support the celebration of this unique, historic event with a total $1.5 million contribution."

About $550,000 will support a youth contingent and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, who will attend the canonisation ceremony in Rome in October.

The money will also go towards the production of educational materials and public events taking place at Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney.

An additional $700,000 contribution will be made to the Mary MacKillop Foundation.

Mr Hockey then regaled the audience with his own experiences with Josephite nuns as a student, in particular Sister Vincent who called him only recently.

"She said I am very proud of you but please when you're sitting on those couches in parliament, sit up straight...

"I live in fear of Sister Vincent, so I want to say to you that we are going to match the prime minister's commitment of $1.5 million.

"It is not Tony Abbott I have a fear of."

Earlier, Ms Gillard also announced the government had extended deductible gift recipient status to the Mary MacKillop Place Trust.

"I acknowledge the opposition's support in facilitating this decision," she told the gathering of leaders across politics, religion and the arts, including Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell and NSW Premier Kristina Keneally.

Questions of faith are expected to take a more prominent role in the election campaign with Ms Gillard to address the influential Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) on Friday.

The issue of religion has shadowed the nation's top political leaders throughout the campaign because of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's staunch Catholicism and Ms Gillard's atheism.
Gillard announces $1.5m for MacKillop
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:29 PM   #10
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When the Australian property market crashes, they will be looking for their $222 million back.

That aside, weak kow-towing combined with cynical demographic-oriented manouevring on the part of Gillard.
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Old 08-11-2010, 06:45 AM   #11
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i think it is insane that we have to opt if we do not want our kids to do RE in public schools . every year for the past 6 years i have had to write a letter to the school and remind the teachers that under no circumstances do my kids attend RE / church services, thankfully we arent the only heathens!
if i wanted my kids to be force fed this crap i would have paid the 5 grand a year and sent them to the catholic school round the corner.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:23 AM   #12
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When i was at school in London, we did RE up until the age of 14. We studied all major world relgions not just Christianity, in fact Christinaity was given about as much time as Judaism of Islam for example. Given the role that religion has played in world history, positively or negatively I don't see the fuss about it. In case you're thinking that RE classes are glorified Christian services i can tell you from my experience that they are anything but that, my RE teacher at high school was agnostic.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:02 PM   #13
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I had to go to RE in primary school and it was purely Christian instruction run by religious volunteers.
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by financeguy View Post
I'd guess that the US is relatively unusual in not having RI in public schools. Most countries even in the West do not have such strong safeguards to protect the separation of church and state.

Even in Europe, seen as the font of devout secularism by US liberals, whilst the Scandinavian countries are very secular, this is by no means the norm.

For example, the Church of England is still officially recognised as the state religion, in spite of most British people being essentially atheist/agnostic and paying no attention whatever to religion. In Germany, I understand part of your taxes still goes to fund churches, and you have to opt out of this if you disapprove. As for Spain and Portugal, they are still very much institutionally Catholic. And in Poland, it's practically illegal to be a non-believer.
8 or 9 percent (depending on where you live) of your gross income is deducted as church tax together with what you pay for social insurance. You can opt out of it by leaving the church only.

On top of it, the states pay the salaries for priests, bishops etc. and every year the 16 states pay a combined €459 million to the Protestant and Catholic church for stuff that happened a hundred to five hundred years ago, with no end in sight.

I've had RI in school, but never by a church person. I think that's being done in the state of Niedersachsen, though. Everywhere else, students can now choose between RI and Philosophy.
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:16 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by An Cat Gav View Post
When i was at school in London, we did RE up until the age of 14. We studied all major world relgions not just Christianity, in fact Christinaity was given about as much time as Judaism of Islam for example. Given the role that religion has played in world history, positively or negatively I don't see the fuss about it.
I have no problem with teaching how religion played a role in world history. Obviously it was strongly instrumental in all sorts of matters, and needs to be mentioned to explain why something else happened. For instance, you can say, "People fled England and founded the U.S. because they wanted to get away from the religious persecution", and go on to explain how and why they were being persecuted and why they felt the need to change that. By doing that you're not specifically targeting any one faith or making those who aren't of that faith uncomfortable or whatever, and you have evidence to back up that that's why things happened the way they did by way of writings and maps and whatnot, you have facts to explain the history. That's how we discussed religion in school.

What I do have a problem with is being taught the specific belief systems of any one religion to a class as though they were proven facts, especially when you have ignorant comments such as this being uttered:

Quote:
Adam and Eve were not eaten by dinosaurs because they were under a protective spell.
Quote:
Set Free Christian Church's Tim McKenzie said when students questioned him why dinosaur fossils carbon dated as earlier than man, he replied that the great flood must have skewed the data.
I've always wanted to ask creationists how they reconcile the fact that man and dinosaurs lived side by side because it seems logical that if they did, many humans would have been eaten or stomped on by the dinosaurs, 'cause those things weren't exactly, you know, tiny... But seriously? A "protective spell"? That's the best reasoning you can come up with to explain that little problem?

If I want to learn about Christianity's specific beliefs, I will go to a Christian church or private Christian school, or learn it at home. Same goes with Islam or Judaism (and I always find it interesting that Christianity seems to be the religion that keeps popping up in these stories. I wonder how the same people that want religion in public schools would feel if Muslims demanded their faith be taught in public schools?). I really don't understand why it's so hard to keep specific religious teaching outside public schools. Why do you have to have it as part of the curriculum? Why aren't your respective faiths' places of worship good enough means to spread your beliefs? And if you're going to allow one religion in public schools, you'd better allow all of them. But that's the problem. Many people never want that. They just want their faith and their faith alone taught. Which is fine for you, but others...not so much.

Angela
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