God save me from religion in state schools

Chris Fotinopoulos

Despite constitutional efforts to pro­tect one's freedom from religion, God continues to be imposed on Australi­ans who do not wish to receive Him.

I was instructed to observe God at my state primary school in the early 1970s when all students sang "God Save the Queen" at assembly. <*>d, despite
"Advance Australia Fair" now being our national anthem, His presence still persists in some schools today.

I was surprised to discover recently that my nephew's state school has stu­dents recite a pledge which begins with the words "I love God". Parents who objected to this were dismissed by the principal as "petty" and told: "We are, after all, a Christian society."

This kind of righteous arrogance was on display at the Access Ministries meeting 1 attended two weeks ago.

The peak provider of school religious instruction convened the meeting after a new ministerial directive switched delivery of religious instruc­tion in state primary schools from an "opt-out" to an "opt in" arrangement.

Parents will now have to positively consent to their child receiving SRI, and principals can cancel SRI based on low numbers or if they believe the programs are against school values.

The changes have clearly unsettled Access Ministries, with general man­ager of Christian education and train­ing Linda White imploring the audience to "Embrace the opportunity we still have . . . to enhance our relevance."

Australians are free to worship. They are free to take an oath, attend places of worship, enrol their children in Sunday school and opt their children into Special Religious Instruction.

Australians are also free to reject religion. And this is what religious organisations such as Access Ministries don't get. They do not see their at­tempts to evangelise children as an attack on one's right to freedom from religion. They only see those who choose not to share their narrow moral view of the world as lost.

Chris Fotinopoulos is a secondary school teacher and writer.

From: http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/god-save-me-from-those-who-t...