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Commonwealth funding for the controversial National School Chaplaincy Programme will cease at the close of 2018. Since its introduction by John Howard in 2006, the National School Chaplaincy Programme has cost Australian taxpayers almost 700 million dollars.

John Howard $160M, Kevin Rudd $50M, Julia Gillard $222M, and Tony Abbott: $244M.

The National School Chaplaincy Programme has never demonstrated, or ever been required to demonstrate any measurable outcomes whatsoever.

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This is "National-School-Chaplaincy-Programme" by Secular Public Education on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.
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Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham: No taxpayer funded religious National School Chaplaincy Programme beyond 2018
change.org
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The federal and several state governments have stopped counting complaints against the school chaplains program and no states keep records of the faith of those providing pastoral care.

Since the federal government handed responsibility to the states for administering the program in 2015 after a high court challenge, several states including New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia have not centrally recorded complaints against it.

The Turnbull government is expected...

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Since the federal government handed over control in 2015, no state has kept records of reported grievances
theguardian.com

A group of humanist societies has demanded that the Australian Human Rights Commission review the $60m-a-year school chaplains program, claiming it harms freedom of religion.

The secular and atheist groups wrote to the AHRC president, Rosalind Croucher, requesting a review on the basis that only religious people can be hired for the roles despite the fact that pastoral care is non-religious.

The Rationalist Society of Australia president, Meredith Doig, told Guardian Australi...

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Call comes after push by Luke Howarth and other Coalition MPs to expand the scheme
theguardian.com
The President Australian Human Rights Commission GPO Box 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001 27 March 2018 Request for Human Rights and Discrimination Inquiry into the National School Chaplaincy Program Dear President, We write to request that the Australian Human Rights Commission inquire into the National School...
rationalist.com.au

NOOSA activist Robin Bristow wants the council to cease funding a school chaplaincy free breakfast program after allocating almost $4000 to help provide support services.

Round one of the 2017-18 Noosa Shire Council community project grants approved $3961 towards driver training with the School Breakfast Support Group.

The council's grant report said the group is a division of Scripture Union Queensland which runs the local school chaplaincy program.

...

"Council should not be indirectly funding administered programs by the evangelical organisation Scripture Union Queens- land,” Mr Bristow said.

He said this was a "gross misuse” of ratepayers' money on a program that is religiously motivated.

Mr Bristow is concerned the breakfasts could be used to try and convert students and he supports calls for the use of trained secular counsellors.

"There must be many secular, agenda-free programs in Noosa which would benefit from this level of (council) funding,” he said.

Council community services director Alan 'Fox' Rogers said the beneficiaries of this grant are the local children who receive a free breakfast.

"The School Breakfast Support Program has been providing these breakfasts for a number of years. We think it's a good program,” Mr Rogers said.

"The School Breakfast Support Program approached council seeking to vary their grant to assist with the purchase of a refrigerated ute, which could be driven by people with a normal driving licence.”

Mr Rogers said this was approved.

"Council's grant has not contributed to the hiring of school chaplains by Scripture Union Queensland, and our grants policy specifically excludes council from funding religious organisations where the application is for a project that relates specifically to that organisation's core business.”

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Hitting out at grant funding by council
noosanews.com.au

Bargara mother Jodie Turnbull questioned Mr Stick's remarks, saying the students couldn't get enough nourishment from the one piece of toast a week which they received at the breakfast.

"Breakfast club isn't about food - you do know that Barry?” she said.

"It's a place kids can go to hang out and chat with (the) Chappy and the toast/cup of Milo was just a way to get kids there.''

...

The school breakfast program is run by Scripture Union Queensland.

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A BARGARA man has ruffled the feathers of families after his Facebook post claimed parents sent their children to school hungry.
news-mail.com.au

Dozens of federal Liberal MPs have reportedly signed a petition calling for a 25 per cent funding increase for the controversial National Schools Chaplaincy Program. Whether the budget can afford the funding increase or whether the money would be better spent elsewhere are interesting issues. The bigger legal issue is that the way the chaplains program operates is illegal.

John Howard first introduced the school chaplains program in 2006 as a federal government program. Under...

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Requiring a chaplain to be a member of a particular religion is religious discrimination and completely illegal for public schools.
smh.com.au

To date, the National School Chaplaincy Programme has cost Australian taxpayers almost $700 million without demonstrating, or being required to demonstrate any measurable outcomes whatsoever.

A push is on within the federal government to renew, and significantly boost, the "absolutely essential" school chaplaincy program in this year's budget.

Fairfax Media has learnt dozens of Liberal MPs are lobbying senior ministers to increase funding for the $250 million scheme by 25 per...

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The $250 million program runs out of funding this year, and some Liberal MPs are petitioning for it to be not just maintained but boosted.
smh.com.au

A New South Wales high school principal is under investigation amid claims students are being forced to take scripture classes against their parents' wishes.

The NSW Department of Education is making inquiries into a letter sent to parents at the start of the term, which 'highly recommends' scripture classes.

Students with written permission to attend non-scripture had been repeatedly put into scripture classes at the start of every year, parents told The Sydney Morning Heral...d.

They say they were told to provide new notes, which they claim is in breach of the department's policy on religious education.

'Updated permission is required each year for your child to access this arrangement [non-scripture],' states a form attached to the principal's letter, dated February 1 this year.

'In addition, each student wishing to be exempt from SRE [special religious education] must arrange an interview with a deputy principal to discuss the above arrangements.'

The letter 'highly recommends' the opportunities provided by the program.

'The potential to develop moral and ethical positions within a framework of Christian values should not be underestimated in today's world,' the principal's letter states.

One parent, who did not wish to be named, said there was 'an inequality' in the school's scripture policy.

'The kids who are attending SRE don't have to have an appointment with the deputy,' the parent told the SMH.

'I just feel like my voice isn't being heard and my choices aren't being respected.'

The Education Department's policy on religious education states 'students are to continue in the same arrangement as the previous year, unless a parent/caregiver has requested a change'.

Daily Mail Australia contacted the school on Friday but the principal was unavailable for comment.

The NSW Department of Education is following up with the school in regards to their letter.

'Scripture/religious education classes have been offered in public schools since 1848 and has been supported by all NSW governments since then,' a spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.

'Parents/caregivers have the right to choose any of the special religious education options available or to choose non-special religious education.'

The department's enrolment form was amended in 2015 to allow parents/carers to formally 'opt out' of SRE.

'The procedures for the implementation of SRE in schools have been revised and will be fully implemented as the start of the 2019 school year,' they said.

The new procedures that come into effect at the start of 2019 require all approved providers to place their curriculum on their organisations website.

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A New South Wales high school principal is being investigated amid claims students are being forced to take scripture classes against their parents' wishes.
dailymail.co.uk

Parents at a NSW public school say they have been left "horrified" after students were repeatedly placed in scripture classes against their parents' wishes and told they needed to have an interview with a deputy principal before they could attend non-scripture classes.

The NSW Department of Education is making inquiries into a letter sent to parents by the principal of Maclean High School in northern NSW, which strongly advocates for scripture classes and appears to breach the department's policy on religious education in several instances.

Parents also said students with written permission to attend non-scripture had been repeatedly put into scripture classes at the start of every year and parents were told to provide new notes, in breach of the department's policy.

Non-scripture students at a NSW public school have been repeatedly placed in scripture classes and told they need to have an interview with a deputy principal.
smh.com.au

Here’s Sydney forum organiser Chuck Stetson’s ‘Bible Literacy’ website. Scroll down and click the info on ‘The Bible Down Under’ link.

How the Bible helped to shape Australian culture, history, art and everything else.

Introducing an educational resource tracing the historical significance of the Bible in Australia and how its teachings have influenced legal, political, religious, and social institutions plus the art and music culture. Written in a historical approach, The Bi...

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The Bible and Its Influence is a textbook initially launched in September 2005. It is the only First-Amendment-safe textbook that supports academic study of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The classroom textbook is taught in over 600 high schools in 43 states and has achieved a 10 percent mark...
bibleliteracy.com

Lest you be paywalled, here’s the story according to Murdoch:

Australian students should be ¬required to study the Bible as part of a well-rounded education, ¬regardless of their religious background, according to American investor and Christian activist Chuck Stetson.

Mr Stetson, a founder of the Bible Literacy Project that promotes the academic study of the religious text, said the Bible was the origin of many modern Western values and should form an ¬essential component o...f any young person’s education.

“I argue that if you don’t have knowledge of the Bible you can’t understand the English language, literature, history, art, music or culture fully,” he told The Australian, after speaking at a forum in Sydney yesterday.

“This is not about religion; we don’t get devotional, not in public schools. This is about learning the basics so we have students that can decode words and phrases, so many of which we get from the Bible. If you’re not, you’re not getting a full education. And that’s unacceptable.”

A guest of New Hope Capital, which was established to bring ¬together entrepreneurs and -humanitarians to invest in projects that will benefit society, Mr Stetson has travelled across the world promoting the work of his organisation, whose textbook is used in more than 640 public high schools in 44 US states.

Despite recent calls for religious schools to be stripped of their rights to hire or fire based on their ethos, Mr Stetson said Australian policymakers appeared genuinely interested in the Bible being taught in all schooling ¬sectors.

Australian Catholic Univer¬sity senior research fellow Kevin Donnelly, who also spoke at the event, said while secular critics ¬argued that there was no place for Christianity or the Bible in public school curriculum, the arguments in favour were overwhelming.

The humanities and social ¬sciences curriculum, through the civics and citizenship strand, -allows for the study of Australia’s Christian heritage. But the states and territories set their own curriculums and approach to ¬religious education.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the Bible was a “key text” that has had a “fundamental impact on the Australia we live in”.

“Christianity’s history and place in Australia is already part of the national curriculum, making some study of the Bible ¬entirely consistent with adherence to the expected curriculum,” he said.

“The states and territories, who apply the curriculum in their jurisdictions, need to ensure students develop the expected understanding of Australian ¬values and beliefs, including the historical and modern role of Christianity as well as other faiths of influence.”

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Australian students should be ­required to study the Bible as part of a well-rounded education, ­regardless of their religious background, according to American investor and Christian activist Chuck Stetson.
theaustralian.com.au

“The Bible is a key text that, through the teaching of Christianity, has had a fundamental impact on the Australia we live in,” Senator Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training said in response to a forum on education and the Bible this week.

“Christianity’s history and place in Australia is already part of the National Curriculum, making some study of the Bible entirely consistent with adherence to the expected curriculum.”
There are a number of examples of whe...re the Bible forms a natural part of Australia’s national curriculum.
They include:

• Year 4 – In the Humanities and Social Sciences learning area, the Civics and citizenship sub-strand includes the content: “The different cultural, religious and/or social groups to which they and others in the community belong.”

• Year 7 – Civics and Citizenship contains: “How Australia is a secular nation and a multi-faith society, with a Christian heritage.”

• Year 8 – Civics and Citizenship contains: “The values and beliefs of religions practised in contemporary Australia, including Christianity.”

Then there is each state’s Religious Education (RE) systems. This includes both RE as part of the normal curriculum in some states and the volunteer-taught SRE in NSW and WA, RI (religious instruction) in Queensland, and seminars in SA which occur in school time. SRI in Victoria is a before and after school or lunchtime programme.

Senator Birmingham pointed to the need for the states to keep educating students on religion.
“The states and territories, who apply the curriculum in their jurisdictions, need to ensure students develop the expected understanding of Australian values and beliefs, including the historical and modern role of Christianity as well as other faiths of influence.”

The forum was organised by Chuck Stetson, a US-based entrepreneur with a special interest in “Bible Literacy” – keeping the Bible in school programmes as part of educating a well-informed citizen.

“This is not about religion; we don’t get devotional, not in public schools,” Stetson told The Australian. “This is about learning the basics so we have students that can decode words and phrases, so many of which we get from the Bible. If you’re not, you’re not getting a full education. And that’s unacceptable.”

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Simon Birmingham urges States and schools to use it
eternitynews.com.au

Via Right to Information (RTI), we have received the most recent figures relating to eligibility for religious instruction in Queensland state schools.

A change to the student enrolment application ‘Religion’ question in April 2017 has brought with it certain ambiguities which we will be discussing with Queensland DET.

This evening we will post further information at the Secular Public Education website, but for now, over 70%—an overwhelming majority—of the Queensland state ...school student population remains ineligible for religious instruction according to their provided student enrolment application form information.

Prior to commencement of the 2018 school year, Secular Public Education will be calling for a moratorium on all religious instruction in Queensland state schools pending a state-wide audit and reallocation process.

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AT FIRST glance the partying teens, holding banners aloft on the streets of Surfers Paradise, look just like any of the thousands of Schoolies who descend every year to the Gold Coast.

“Jesus doesn’t dog the boys”, says one such home spun sign.

But there’s something different about these placard bearing adults to be. And it’s not that they’re toolies — although there are plenty of them on the Gold Coast this year.

...

These people are more interested in worship than getting wasted. Enterprising church groups have descended on Schoolies with a mission to turn teens to God. And, seemingly, banners that wouldn’t look out of place at a protest rally are the way to do it.

Other signs seen during Schoolies included, “Ain’t no high than the most High” and the simple but classic “Jesus loves you”.

Youth for Christ Australia (YFC) is one of the organisations behind the signs. An evangelical Anglican religious group, it calls itself a “movement of people unified by a common heart for Jesus and for young people”.

David Ridley, YFC’s National Missions Director, said young people who are part of its church meet for a nightly service in Surfers during Schoolies and then many of them head of with their signs.

It was evangelical, he agreed, “but we’re not bashing people with a bible”.

Mr Ridley said they invited people to “experience the love of Jesus”.

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AT FIRST glance the partying teens, holding banners aloft on the streets of Surfers Paradise, look just like any of the thousands of Schoolies who descend every year to the Gold Coast.
news.com.au

Well said. Since its introduction by John Howard in 2006, the National School Chaplaincy Programme has cost Australian taxpayers $700 million without providing—or being required to provide—any measurable outcomes whatsoever:

“And why have we wasted $300 million over the past half decade on the schools chaplaincy program, under which educationally untrained religious operatives spout uneducational, unscientific twaddle to schoolchildren when we are crying out for money and training to teach science, maths, English and history?”

The legal concessions given to religions in Australia are already too wide without giving them any more.
canberratimes.com.au

THE spirit of giving is strong at Bracken Ridge State High School with more than 70 boxes of gifts collected for children in third world countries.

The collection was organised as part of Operation Christmas Child run by non-profit organisation Samaritan’s Purse.

The aim is to fill each box with six items suitable for a girl or boy aged two to 14 years.

...

School chaplain Trudi Bechard said they had been filling the shoeboxes for more than five years.

“The idea is to get the school community to think of others in the broad community and to teach them about giving and loving others,” she said.

“The staff love it and one of our Year 7 girls filled six boxes.

“It’s lovely to see young people come in with a bag of goodies, and they are excited to be able to help people.

“Such a small gift goes a long way.

“Some students also left a personal message and photos in the box to say who they were, that they had packed the box and were thinking of the recipient.

“The students were also happy to pack the boxes during their lunch time.”

School captain Lauren Chapman said, “Christmas is a season of giving and it’s good to give to people who don’t have the opportunities and the life we do.

“It’s good to imagine their faces when they open the boxes.”

Year 12 student Rebkah Mellors said, “It’s about giving back to people who don’t have enough and making them happy.

“Everyone else is happy at Christmas and why shouldn’t they have something they don’t usually have.”

Mrs Bechard said the school filled 71 boxes this year before delivering them to the Samaritan’s Purse office in Banyo last week.

“We will find out probably in January where they went,” she said.

“Last year we packed 90 boxes which went to Fiji and the year before that we had 100 boxes which went to Cambodia.”

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THE spirit of giving is strong at Bracken Ridge State High School with more than 70 boxes of gifts collected for children in third world countries.
couriermail.com.au