Letter about the current NSCP battle going on in the high court.
Dear Prime Minister Gillard,
Currently you have taken away parents’ and kids’ choice of a secular education by violating our secular constitution and funding the establishment of Christianity in schools.
Preachers preach, teachers teach.
If Chaplains are not there to preach/proselytise or convert (as they themselves have admitted in the past.. see: here for how they defined it and recent comments by the head of one of the organisations that hire almost all Chaplains in Victoria): then why are they religious?
If they are not there (or qualified) to counsel kids then why are they boasting about saving lives and saving suicidal kids?
Would you hire on the cheap?
If a lack of qualified counsellors is the problem: then I suggest you fund more of them. Would you advocate funding Chaplains with a first aid course to fill a gap in brain surgeon skills? Absolutely not. Would you fund Chaplains that know how to turn on a laptop if you found the NBN’s technical staff hiring was a bit hard to find? No. So why risk it with our children.
Religion less and less relevant to more and more people
At a time when church attendance is as low as it has ever been and dropping, when “No Religion” is the fastest growing category and when protecting secular institutions is of paramount importance for a society based concepts of not only on freedom of religion but freedom of religion: why on Earth are you trying to buy votes from religious fundamentalists like the Australian Christian Lobby.
Vocal religious lobby groups protecting their taxpayer handouts
I’m sure your inbox is under assault from a lobbying effort by Scripture Union Qld Chaplains that you for some strange reason decided to give another $222m to in the last budget.
I’d point out that the money could have been spent on many more useful things, like qualified counsellors or more teachers in public schools for instance. Or just general increase in public education funding (as a large chunk of the money for chaplains is going to fund proselytising in private religious schools for some reason.. making it yet another drain on the public purse to fund private education)..
No ability to opt out
You have given parents no opportunity to opt out and the NSCP Chaplains are proselytising by stealth in a number of documented cases (most recently on the 730 report). If there have not been widespread complaints: it is likely because (as I found) complaints go missing (e.g. the official NSCP complaint inbox lost one of mine and Scripture Union Qld didn’t bother answering a question about a predatory chaplain that they had hired who appeared to be grooming a child).
Ban chaplains from schools
This program needs to stop. You need to listen to the people saying the program is not suitable for our schools and not let their voices be drowned out by religious lobby groups who already send their kids to private religious schools.
Let the schools spend the money on real counsellors and real staff not these missionaries in schools with a promise to spread the word of Jesus as far as possible.
Please restore our schools to their secular former selves
If people want religious education then they have that option. Where does a parent go if they want an education that does not include the risk of religious indoctrination.
You have followed Howard’s lead and taken away secular free public education for many to replace it with on-site proselytising/amateur counsellor filled schools.
It is a horrible thing to have done, particularly given the dire funding situation for public health and I hope you will come to your senses.