THE State Government's religious education advisory panel will fight a pilot program that offers ethics classes to primary school students who opt out of scripture.

Instead, it will continue its support for a policy that prevents students who opt out from having any instruction, and specifically no ethical instruction, during the time set aside for scripture each week.


Link:


The xtians believe that they have some special insight into ethical issues. Essentially, their idea of ethics is to do as their church says. This system assumes that their flocks are too stupid to think for themselves and were born evil. How is that an ethical system?

The SMH letters pages carries the arguments forward.
28th Sept
29th Sept

Church leaders are complaining that they haven't been consulted enough on the ethics course. WTF!? They have had 20 centuries to come up with lessons for people that don't believe in their gods. The only lessons that they've managed to devise are wonderfully instructive things like burning people at the stake or an instructional spell on the rack. These encounters with the church probably all counted as death bed conversions.

Oooo I'm cross.

Anywho, why not wander on over and sign a petition, it might help.

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This follows from the Humanist Course introduced into Victorian public schools.

Link:
I'm in Qld so I'm emailing Julia Gillard.

Link:
Or:
I particularly like this from Reverend Cheng:

A number of letter writers seem to think scripture in schools is all about ethics. I have been helping teach school scripture for five years, and I can confidently say there is almost no ethical instruction involved. What we teach is that when we fail ethically - as we all do - forgiveness and change are possible through the power of the risen Lord Jesus. That is a far more potent message than any ethical instruction can give.

But if the community decides ethical instruction in schools is necessary, there is a problem. If that instruction is given at the same time as scripture, children in scripture classes will miss out on something people seem to think is important. That is hardly fair, as even someone with my limited command of ethics can see.


Talk about an own goal!
Wrote a letter to Julia Gillard thus:

Ms Gillard

I will try to be brief as I understand you time is very valuable.

I read in the SMH today that the NSW education minister, Verity Firth, has been presented with an ethics course by St James Ethics Centre. This course is to be presented for approval by the Inter-Church Commission on Religious Education in Schools.

Reverend Cheng admits himself that ethics aren't taught by religion. (SMH Letters Page 29th Sept). So, religious leaders have no interest or skills in the subject so why should the NSW education minister have any need to consult Religious Leaders regarding the course.

The Federation of Parents and Citizens' Associations of NSW endorsed the course in July. There is much talk of parents not being involved enough in their children's education. Here, parents have taken a keen interest only to be ignored.

The SMH article says that up to 80% of students spend this lesson idle because their parents feel that their children do not require religious instruction.

All too often the churches criticise non-religious people for doing nothing positive. This is a positive step but it is being stymied.

An ethics course could have many benefits:
. schools could see reduced levels of bullying.
. young kids would be better prepared for the pressures of high school.
. the courses will promote critical thinking, something seriously lacking in society.

The Humanist Society of Victoria submitted a course to be taught by volunteers. The Age article (Dec 2008) said that the State Government accreditation body intended to approve the course in 'Humanist applied ethics'. How can a little thing like a state border mean that some kids get the benefit of such education whereas NSW kids are just left bored for a lesson?

As the federal minister for education are you able to assist with the establishment of this course in NSW?

Thank you for you time.

Luke xxxxxxxx


Links:
SMH Article Sept 09: http://tinyurl.com/y8ao8rz
Letters Page SMH 28th Sept 09: http://tinyurl.com/yesy72b
Letters Page SMH 29th Sept 09: http://tinyurl.com/yaxt4nt
The Age Article Dec 08: http://tinyurl.com/6llhex


Her page: http://www.alp.org.au/people/email/gillard_julia.php

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