Dear Prime Minister. Against the strongly expressed concerns of mental health professionals, teacher unions and secular organisations, why do you allow the outrageous situation to continue where largely unqualified, religious evangelists have access to young children in public schools, in the form of the National School Chaplaincy Program?

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Because Christians who want to teach about morality and "doing the right thing" want to access children to shape there ideas... :S Can be a good or a bad thing. Depends if violence is used to enforce ideas. Do you HAVE to go to the religion class? If a child does not want to be there he will resent it and just try and destroy it under the sometimes supposed "kindness" of religion.
Eamonn Collins · 2 years ago
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I hate to rain on anyone's dearly held pet theories, but does anyone in here actually have kids who go to a school where one of these chaplains works? I know it's only anecdote but my sons tell me about kids feeling creeped out by the chaplain. They call him the creeping Jesus and said he's always sneaking up on them trying to make conversation. I asked them if they felt they could talk to him if something went wrong at home and they said "No way!". You'd have to ask them but I got the impression a lot of that reluctance had to do with his strict affiliation. Disclaimer: My children and I are not muslim and I'm not an atheist. My only experience with the chaplaincy program (outside of my children's) is with 2 people who were referred to a Christian youth group, only to be banished later for fornication.
Chani J.R · 2 years ago
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What a pointless and prejudiced question. You are perfectly free to go to schools that let you take your children out of such classes, if you object so much. With that fact alone, this question is pointless. You are equally free to send your kids to a religious school. I do not attend any church, and neither do my kids. We nevertheless appreciated learning obout religions in those classes, there is nothing wrong with learning about humanities. Quite the opposite - the prejudice and arrogance at the heart of this question just shows you up as frightened of free thought, and the very process of thinking. We've had some lively and heated debates at our dinner table arising from our kids "studies of religion" as it was titled in high school. Both myself, and I am proud to say, my children, learnt much from those classes. Including the inerrant fallacies as well as profound philosophies. In my experience, and talking to other parents, it does no harm at all. Quite the opposite. That you wish to impose your religion of athiesm on all shows you up as merely another batch of totaliatians.
Wayne Shaw · 2 years ago
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And your comment just highlights your inability to read. Nobody is argueing agains classes ABOUT religion. The topic isn't even the contents of any lesson, but the chaplaincy service. Derp.
Peter P. · 2 years ago
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With respect, Peter, I read and gave my opinion on the question precisley! Just what do you imagine chaplains "having access to young children in our public schools" means?? In my opinion this is a total beat-up, it is pointless. Free thought = free speech. It did you no harm, and it did me no harm. Look at the comment just after mine.... How silly, how gutless. I had a "creepy" maths teacher who tried to strike up conversations, I'm certain you had some too, we all did. Are you crippled by that, or did you learn? People in this thread seem to confuse criminality with ideas.
Wayne Shaw · 2 years ago
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With respect, Peter, I read and gave my opinion on the question precisley! Just what do you imagine chaplains "having access to young children in our public schools" means?? In my opinion this is a total beat-up, it is pointless. Free thought = free speech. It did you no harm, and it did me no harm. Look at the comment just after mine.... How silly, how gutless. I had a "creepy" maths teacher who tried to strike up conversations, I'm certain you had some too, we all did. Are you crippled by that, or did you learn? People in this thread seem to confuse criminality with ideas.
Wayne Shaw · 2 years ago
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Wayne, please read up on the "National School Chaplaincy Program" and what it entails. I believe you might be referring to scripture classes which are not the subject of this question. The chaplaincy service does not run any classes on any subject, they are providing 'pastoral care', whatever that may mean. So comments like "You are perfectly free to go to schools that let you take your children out of such classes" just don't match with the topic at hand.
Peter P. · 2 years ago
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Lidia why should our children not just have access to all of that support without the religious overtones ?
wayne williams · 2 years ago
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Because no one else is willing to do it for that pay. And no one wants to pay more. And the vast majority of people dont care that much that they have religous connections, as a vast number of teachers do. Atheists are only 18% of the population, and only a proportion of them share your view. You are part of a minority special interest pressure group. That's why.
Dr Brian Scott · 2 years ago
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Well, according to the 2011 census the "no religion" category made up 22.3%, and was the the second largest single group after the Catholic with 25.3. It was also the only group (among the large groups) that had any growth since the 2006 census. So it is kind of funny to see what is considered a minority these days.
Peter P. · 2 years ago
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Peter P. So ~78% religous. Well if enough people cared about the question the athiest foundation put forward, the athiest foundation would not have had to hijack the voting by calling on overseas organisation to vote. What a shameful act! I have little doubt Julias minders and speech writers were reading these comments so Julia would have known the voting was hijacked. Would explain her short-shift answer to the question. In the circumstances I think the athiests got what they deserved.
David Teal · 2 years ago
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Complain to Oursay:- [email protected] The voting for the Gillard session was hijacked by the Athiest Floundation when the President engaged overseas affiliated organizations to vote. Refer this link. http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/07/17/not-so-pointless-poll-on-australian-chaplains/ It resulted in a very large jump in votes, changing the top 3. The people from overseas who voted are not affected by any of Gillards decisions and voted for improper purposes. The voting was hijacked. In fairness to all who legitimately voted, and to not trash the Oursay brand, the ranking should be taken prior to the the athiest foundation engaging the overseas organizations, or the athiest foundation question should be excluded. it's only fair! I for one have lost interest in Gillard answering the questions and I would not be alone. Please right this wrong.
David Teal · 2 years ago
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The Oursay rules should address this.
Ray Gibson · 2 years ago
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Lots of accusations of what could happen. Accusations that chaplains will try and covert people. But what is the EVIDENCE? Any evidence that chaplains try to convert MORE than teachers??
David Teal · 2 years ago
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I agree with lydia c...there should be more Charley's in schools.
Olaf Weismann · 2 years ago
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:-)
Peter P. · 2 years ago
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I love school Chaplins. I believe that the sole role of a Chaplin isn't to convert people to being religious but to be there for the students if they are feeling down, lonely, depressed, stressed etc. I don't believe we should get rid of them.
lydia c · 2 years ago
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While I'm sure chaplains are motivated by a desire to help, their employing authorities, such as Access Ministries and Scripture Union will only employ people who endorse the evangelical aims of these organisations (and in the case of Access this is even in cases when they provide a welfare worker, which was supposed to be the secular alternative under the amended NSCSWP). This means that a person who has higher qualifications and greater experience but is unwilling to endorse said aims will always be passed over for someone who will even if the latter is less qualified/experienced. If these organisations really had the best interests of the children at heart and were not seeking opportunities to promote their own set of beliefs they would not limit the pool of potential applicants down to not just Christians but the Christian sub-group of biblical literalists. If these organisations still want to insist on claiming that they are not looking to 'make disciples', then their preferencing of believers in their particular brand of faith is nothing but arrogance.
Julia Mizuno · 2 years ago
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I don't think that is a bad point Julia, even if it is well stewed with a dose of venom. ACCESS and SU in many ways create a rod for their own backs. On one hand as a Christian organization they are well within their rights to seek affirmation that an employee is in line with the core values of the employer. I don't agree with your assertion that this immediately equates to proof that they want to push their own beliefs. As it stands any Chaplain foolish enough to 'push' their beliefs will be fired immediately. But it obviously opens the door to suspicion and criticism by those who want to believe the worst. What it does mean though is that the criteria Chaplains have to meet are clear and transparent, they can be held accountable to things like moral character which other organisations would be sued if they tried and they can be as certain as it is possible that they know what they are getting when they hire someone.
Sammy Von D · 2 years ago
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Sammy, please don't start arguing that the bible is a paragon of morals - a cursory glance at the old testament in particular will attest to that. Yet apparently it is all 'god-breathed' and, therefore, inerrant. The behaviour of some clergy in the Catholic, Anglican and Mormon churches. to name a few, also confirms that belief in a deity is no guarantee of moral character. And before you blow a gasket, I'm not saying the same things don't happen in secular organisations; there are good and bad people in all areas of society and that is exactly why endorsing a certain set of beliefs is no better criteria than anything else. For an example of one chaplain who crossed the line see the following link: http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2009/07/28/chaplain-suggestive-msn-chats/ Also, note the namby-pamby way SU dealt with the situation, also. This echos the response of other religious organisations to unacceptable behaviour within their ranks and doesn't exactly inspire confidence. I also have a copy of SU's Code of Conduct for Chaplains - it has a section titled 'Evangelical Appeals' and goes on to give examples of inappropriate conduct and appropriate conduct. The example given for *appropriate conduct* is to get a Christian band in to perform at the school, have them talk about their own beliefs, 'explain that he believes there is a need to respond to the message he's presented' (direct quote), and to see the chaplain if they want to talk more about it. Obviously it's up to the individual chaplain whether they choose to follow that path, and it also depends on how accommodating of such behaviour the school administration is. Gympie High School allowed the chaplain to arrange a 'science' presentation by creationist John Mackay. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/row-over-creationists-class-lecture/story-fn59niix-1226114839237 Even if a school ditched a chaplain for evangelising/proselytizing, the employing authority would probably give them points for effort and assign them somewhere else - after all, they were only following their employer's code of conduct. In short, the opportunities to abuse the system are rife and the government needs to do better.
Julia Mizuno · 2 years ago
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I couldn't agree more Julia. Most Christians need to do some very deep and forceful rethinking of how to integrate faith with a post-Christendom society and most fail at it dismally. There is no place for pushing of beliefs in public schools (indeed pushing of faith as many Christians would deem appropriate, and therefore as it is understood by general society, is a total distortion of well thought out Christian ethic anyway) and I personally think any Chaplain doing so should be dismissed. But I don't think that should equate to a complete disregard of faith expression as a valuable contribution to culture and nor should it tarnish the entire NSCP which does an enormous amount of good regardless of the well documented breaches of trust by some minorities. I am not suggesting for a second that religious people have a monopoly on morals because I am not an idiot. I am suggesting that by making being Christian a pre-requisite it can allow organisations to hold Chaplains accountable to a code of ethic/morals that it would be discriminatory to do in the general workplace. That many Christians fail that test is to be expected but should be dealt with better by both organisations and Government (in regards to NSCP). Organisations like SU and ACCESS are operating in many ways as if we still have a church centric culture which clearly we do not and most likely never will again. They need to get far better at how they operate as a Christian organisation in the modern work environment. I will be the first to agree that some of things they have said and done deserve enormous criticism. But I think they will improve/learn/adapt and if they don't they will die and a more sophisticated and intelligent integration of faith and work and culture and life and science will take their place.
Sammy Von D · 2 years ago
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There are over 2000 chaplains in schools across Australia. So 2000 thousand Chaplains meeting with children every single day. You could safely say there have been a handful of serious incidents that should be dealt with severely. If things were even remotely as bad as you have either been led to believe or choose to believe then the reports of abuse of the program would be rife. The fact is they are not.
Sammy Von D · 2 years ago
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Children should be protected from brainwashing. Allow them to form their own opinions when they reach the right stage of psychological development to consider issues without being exposed to dogma
Valerie McMahon · 2 years ago
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So who brain washed you by telling you of the all the brain washing Chaplains are doing? Lame argument.
Sammy Von D · 2 years ago
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hey Sammy god is not real
wayne williams · 2 years ago