The debate in Victoria between the Labor government of Premier Daniel Andrews and the Liberal/National opposition led by Matthew Guy concerning the place of religious instruction in the school curriculum constitutes a significant election issue, especially in a number of marginal seats where many voters have a strong commitment to their faith.
ALP and Greens policies to end the right religious schools currently have over who they enrol and employ is also an important election issue. Should the Andrews government be re-elected don’t be surprised if faith-based schools are forced to implement radical gender policies and programs like the Marxist inspired Safe Schools.
Taken to its logical conclusion, and as advocated by material associated with the Safe Schools program, positive discrimination policies for LGBTQI people will not only force religious schools to deny critical aspects of their faith. Even worse, transgender students will be allowed to use the toilets and changing rooms of those students they self-identify as. Transboys will be able to use girls’ toilets and changing rooms.
By abolishing religious instruction from the formal school day and mandating the gender fluidity Safe Schools program for state schools, where students are told gender is a social construct and that they can self-identify, the ALP government’s agenda is clear. Not surprisingly, given its secular roots and the power of the Socialist-Left faction, the intention is to erase Christianity from the curriculum and to enforce radical gender theory based on the belief that there is nothing normal or preferable about being a woman or a man.
The Opposition, on the other hand, argues that religious instruction while voluntary should be included in a school’s curriculum, as parents have every right to expect their child’s education will include learning about what constitutes their moral and spiritual beliefs. Parents, and not the state, are their children’s primary carers and educators and it should not surprise that a number of international covenants and agreements argue that governments must respect and abide by what is an inherent right to religious freedom.
The debate in Victoria illustrates a much larger battle between Neo-Marxist inspired secular critics and those committed to Judeo-Christianity and the importance of religious inspiration and faith.
Proven by last year’s debate about same-sex marriage there are those who argue religious beliefs must be ignored. In the Fairfax Press, Aubrey Perry argued, “This survey offers us a conscious opportunity to make a firm stand in support of a secular government and to reject discrimination or favouritism based on religion. It’s our opportunity to say that religion has no part in the shaping of our laws”.
In response to leaked details of the Ruddock review of religious freedom, groups like the Australian Education Union(AEU) and the Greens argue the right currently held by faith-based schools over enrolments and staffing must be abolished. The AEU’s acting president Meredith Pearce argues that no school, either faith based or state controlled, has the right to discriminate in relation to who they enrol or who they employ. In particular, the cultural-left teacher union argues “No school should have the right to turn away or discriminate against LGBTIQ students or teachers”.
The Greens also argues that the current exceptions granted to religious schools should be repealed and that such schools no longer be allowed to discriminate “on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, lawful sexual activity, marital status, parental status or gender identity”.
Another example of the secular push to deny the significance and importance of Christianity in the nation’s institutions and way of life relates to the Australian national curriculum, which is secular in nature. Subjects such as history, literature, music, art and civics rarely, if ever, mention Christianity. There is no recognition of the significant part religious bodies and institutions play in areas like education, health, social welfare and aged care.
In history there is no recognition of the central importance of the New Testament’s commitment to the inherent dignity of the person, the right each individual has to liberty and freedom, and the commandment to love thy neighbour as thyself.
It beggars belief that while the national curriculum includes literally hundreds of references to indigenous culture, history and spirituality there are no more than a handful of references to Christianity and its contribution and on-going significance to our culture and way of life.
The reality is secularism, which has become the new religion of the 21st century, has no right to consider itself preeminent and no right to deny religious freedom to those individuals and faith based institutions that seek to remain true to their conscience and faith. To do otherwise puts Australia on the same road as Stalin’s Russia, Pol Pot’s Cambodia and communist China.
Kevin Donnelly is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of How Political Correctness is Destroying Australia (Wilkinson Publishing)