Australian News Program Looks Into Christian Indoctrination Taking Place in Public Schools

Australian public schools offer “special religious instruction” (SRI) which is something of a joke when you realize how badly that privilege is abused. In theory, it’s great because kids can learn about the beliefs of all different faiths. But in many schools, the religious education is primarily Christian and the education veers into heavy indoctrination. Volunteers — and they’re always Christian, it seems — often use the time with students to make converts instead of merely educating them about what they believe.

The last time I mentioned this problem, the group called Fairness In Religions In School (FIRIS) was raising awareness of the abuses within the SRI program in part because they said parents don’t really know what’s going on in their kids’ schools. To that end, they put up a billboard in Melbourne to show parents what their kids may be learning:

Beautiful.

The leader of ACCESS Ministries — a Christian group that provides about 96% of SRI in the state, in 850 of the 1300 primary schools — was quick to denounce the billboard, not because it wrongly depicted humans and dinosaurs living at the same time, but because it was mocking Jesus. Which it wasn’t.

Yesterday, an Australian show called A Current Affair looked into ACCESS Ministries and exposed how the organization works:

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Law Society of British Columbia Votes to Reverse Accreditation of Anti-Gay Christian School

Back in December, I posted about a proposed new law school in British Columbia affiliated with (Christian) Trinity Western University where gay students who acted on their sexual orientation would not be allowed through the doors:

At the time, I defended the school’s right to exist. My thinking was that, like private Christian schools in the United States, they could discriminate however they’d like — and it won’t ultimately matter since the students would still have to learn and defend Canadian law as written and pass the Canadian version of the bar exam. In other words, their Christian anti-gay bigotry wouldn’t work in the real world. (A few commenters attempted to refute my thinking here.)

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Hawaii Nixes Sex Ed Program After Politician Complains It Will “Normalize” Homosexuality

Sex education in Hawaii middle schools will only be available on an opt-in basis, thanks to a scathing campaign by one of the state’s most notoriously homophobic politicians.

For months now, Rep. Bob McDermott (below) has railed against any and all pro-LGBT measures in his state. He filed a lawsuit to try to halt marriage equality in Hawaii — and failed — and whined about the Southern Poverty Law Center lending a “Teaching Tolerance” curriculum about diversity and acceptance to Hawaii schools.

Now, for his latest feat, he’s targeted the federally-funded sex education program Pono Choices, which is geared toward middle-school students. The program was developed to help reduce teen pregnancies and prevent STDs, but McDermott takes serious issue with its definition of sex — or, more specifically, the fact that it offers a definition of sex at all.

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It’s Not Religious Discrimination to Say That College Groups, Even Christian Ones, Must Be Open to All Students

Most official college organizations have to adhere to a few rules, one of which is that they must not be discriminatory. They can’t reject homosexuals or black people or Republicans or atheists from their groups even if it seems antithetical to the groups’ missions. So, for example, the Young Republicans can’t exclude an open Democrat who wants to become a member.

For the most part, that makes a lot of sense. Public schools have non-discrimination policies, and those rules apply to campus groups as well.

But what about the leadership of the organizations?

For years now, Christian groups have been fighting a battle on some campuses to make sure that their officer positions are reserved only for other Christians (the proper kind, of course). They want the right to ban LGBT-affirming members of their group from becoming leaders — without losing the benefits that come with being a registered campus group.

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After ACLU’s Warning to School Officials, Virginia Students Lead Crowd in Christian Prayer at Graduation

If you’re not Christian, the Lee County Public Schools in Virginia would like you to know that officials there don’t give a damn about you.

It’s not just that Thomas Walker High School has a display of the Ten Commandments in the hallways. It’s not just that the faculty adviser of First Priority (a Christian club) conducts club activities in his classroom. It’s not just that certain faculty events begin and end with a Christian prayer.

It’s that the school’s graduation director “requires seniors to sing a Christian hymn, ‘Till We Meet Against At Jesus’ Feet,’ at graduation.”



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