May 8, 2017

Taxpayers should shell out for religious indoctrination in public schools because freedom

School chaplains argue they need millions of dollars in taxpayer funding to push their religion in government schools.

Josh Taylor — Journalist

Josh Taylor


School Chaplaincy

Religious groups are claiming that taxpayer funding for school chaplains in public schools -- a program costing hundreds of millions of dollars -- is necessary to protect freedom of religion. At the same time, those groups are condemning the Safe Schools program as "indoctrination of children into the LGBTI lifestyle".

In the 2014 horror budget, the Abbott government managed to find $245 million to fund the chaplaincy program out to the end of the 2017-18 financial year. Tuesday's budget could result in the Turnnbull government axing the controversial program -- which Abbott had made even more controversial by removing the option for schools to hire secular workers in the place of chaplains.

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12 thoughts on “Taxpayers should shell out for religious indoctrination in public schools because freedom

  1. Lee Tinson

    Why on earth should taxpayer funds be diverted to teaching the fantasies of religious crackpots like, for example, the catholic church. There is no factual basis for any of the nonsense they peddle. If they feel they need to damage children regularly in this way, let them do it on their own time with their own money, extorted from their parishioners, instead of taxpayers’ money obtained by fraud.

    It used to be called Sunday School. Let it remain there.

    That school chaplain programme is just another example of what you get when mentally, morally and ethically challenged politicians are allowed to decide policy in the teeth of established political practice (that would be separation of church and state).

  2. John Newton

    I wouldn’t let a priest or a pastor of any denomination anywhere near any child after reading rape Among the Lamingtons in The Monthly.

  3. Tom Mitchell

    That any religion should be subject to government funding is somewhat bizarre when viewed against the Governments apparent willingness to disregard science and press ahead with policies that cause damage not only to the environment but also hamper investment in emerging technologies.
    So the Government will fund a program that is entirely beyond any scientific proof or rational thought, but withdraw funds from programs are based entirely on scientific proof and logic.
    So I suppose the tooth fairy will be funded ahead of any programs aimed at improving the dental health of indigenous Australians.

  4. Manny

    What is missing from this debate is the concept that no one can be genuinely free to do something unless they are also free not to do it, and vice versa. That is, freedom of religion or belief necessarily and logically also includes the freedom NOT to have or express a religion or belief. It includes the freedom to hold secular or atheistic beliefs. Or no belief at all. What also needs to be considered is that freedom of religion comprises both the right to hold and/or change a belief or lack of belief (which is unlimited, having no impact on others), and the right to manifest or express one’s beliefs (which, because of potential impact upon others, must be balanced against the rights of others). From a human rights point of view, no right takes precedence over others and when anyone calls for a right to be protected (by government through legislation), the degree of protection afforded needs to be balanced against the rights of others (not to be discriminated against, as women are in many religions; not to receive religious education if they don’t want it, as in this case, etc). ‘Religious’ practices often involve breaches of human rights of the group’s adherents and calls to restrict the human rights of persons outside their group. Discriminatory treatment of women, LGBTQI persons and religious and ethnic minorities are obvious examples. There can be no true freedom of religion without respect for the freedoms and human rights of others. Jimmy Carter has recently written about leaving the Southern Baptist Church he has been in for over 60 years because their principles continue to discriminate against women in so many areas.
    It is clear that here neither the federal government, nor those teaching compulsory religious education, have respected childrens’ rights to a non-religious education. The government has protected compulsory expressions of favoured traditional religions within public schools at the expense of the freedom of the students involved. The legislation also privileges the followers of some religions over others, discriminating between ‘religions’ or beliefs. The government has not balanced the competing rights appropriately.

  5. mikeb

    I don’t want funding for chaplains in public schools, but also don’t agree with tarnishing chaplains as somehow (by implication) encouraging anti LGBTI, anti womens reproductive rights etc issues. Somehow I doubt they wander around the schools randomly preaching to those who don’t want to listen. I’d be much more concerned that “religious” schools receiving govt money are teaching according to an approved syllabus. I’m certain my three kids got a balanced education at Catholic Schools. Not so confident about other religious schools however.

  6. Itsarort

    After a child has been given 18 years of secular education, then they can make-up their own mind as to whether they’re prepared to go on and believe in gods, walking on water, witches with poisonous darts flying around on banana leaves etc.

  7. Woopwoop

    Religion is an important part of most cultures. Children should be taught about it – but as part of history or social studies or whatever. No need for special unqualified, partisan spruikers.

  8. CML

    What a lot of hogwash these so-called Christian groups go on with.
    Agree that religion (of all kinds) should be removed from our SECULAR public education facilities and parents should be responsible for arranging tuition in same. Friday, Saturday or Sunday school…which ever particular fantasy the family chooses.
    It should have NOTHING to do with the public school system or taxpayers’ money…end it NOW!!

  9. Lord Muck

    Back in the day, Coca-Cola would get into schools by way of importing the purported world yoyo champion; the “world champion” that came to my school was a Mexican. The whole school would stop to watch the yoyo demonstration.


    In retrospect, at least the Coca-Cola yoyo champs encouraged improved motor skills among the students. I am pretty sure that chaplains have not achieved comparable educational outcomes; IMO the benefit of their visitations would rank equally with those of local pollies – a complete WOFTAM.

  10. klewso

    Let’s face it, it is funny watching conservative ethos at work – a “Transmogrification for Beginners”.

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