Australian Education Reviewer and Former Big-Tobacco Shill Wants More Religious Instruction in Oz Public Schools

Kevin Donnelly, director of Australia’s Education Standards Institute, is on a government team that’s currently reviewing the country’s school curriculum. Donnelly has expertly identified the problem with the schools: not enough religion.

Mr Donnelly says religion does not have enough of a presence in Australia’s “very secular curriculum”, and that it needs to be taught “more effectively”.

“I’m not saying we should preach to everyone, but I would argue that the great religions of the world — whether it’s Islam, whether it’s Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism — they should be taught over the compulsory years of school,” he said.

Kevin Donnelly

And if he’d left it at that, we might have been in agreement. The world’s great major religions (Donnelly forgot Judaism) have had an indelible effect on world history; even today, it’s all but necessary to know about each religion’s concepts and characteristics to make sense of what’s happening around the globe.

But Donnelly quickly gave the game away.

“When you look at Parliaments around Australia — they all begin with the Lord’s prayer. If you look at our constitution, the preamble is about God. You can’t airbrush that from history — it has to be recognized.

Somehow, that doesn’t sound very much like a man who is serious about teaching the cultural and political aspects of all religions.

Now let’s take a look at what Donnelly wrote for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation three years ago:

“Multiculturalism is based on the mistaken belief that all cultures are of equal worth.”

In that piece, he also seems to take umbrage at the fact that the Australian Education Union “sees no place for groups like the Christian based Access Ministries.”

So, it’s not much of a puzzler which culture (and more to the point, which religion) he places above all others.

Here‘s another salient fact about Kevin Donnelly:

[He] was previously employed by tobacco firm Phillip Morris to design a school program teaching children about peer pressure and decision making that did not discuss the health dangers of smoking.

Just the guy you want in charge of education standards.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder of Moral Compass, a now dormant site that poked fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He joined Friendly Atheist in 2013.