Source: Why Evolution is True
Author: Jerry Coyne
This morning we have some good news and some bad news about religion. First the good news: reader John sent me a photo and this link to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald. Apparently, at least in the state of New South Wales, “Special Religious Education” (SRE) is offered to students in many public schools, and it’s an education in Christianity (“General Religious Education”, GRE, is also offered). I thought that parents can opt out of either, but the report below suggests this isn’t the case. I’m a bit confused, and perhaps readers from Australia can enlighten us. Here’s part of the report:
Parents concerned about religious evangelism in public schools will launch a campaign urging families to opt out of scripture classes as a high profile minister calls for a “quality general religious education program” to replace instruction in specific denominations.
The parent-run lobby group, Fairness in Religions in Schools, has paid for a billboard attacking Special Religious Eduction classes in public schools, to be erected at a busy intersection in Liverpool on Monday.
Fairness in Religions in Schools chief executive Lara Wood said the billboard was in response to what the group sees as evangelism in public schools which they claim is poorly regulated by the NSW government.
“Scripture classes push messages about sin, death, suicide, sexuality and female submission onto children without the knowledge of their parents,” she said.
“The Department of Education has no control over the program and it is time these classes were removed or at least regulated by the government.”
A spokesman for the Department of Education said it works with scripture class providers to ensure the material is “sensitive, age appropriate and of a high standard.”
Screw that; this stuff doesn’t belong in public schools, whether or not it’s optional. What’s the educational point of teaching Christianity in such schools? Leave the proselytizing in the churches where it belongs.
Meanwhile, here’s the billboard designed by the parents, and it’s a good one.