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The Forum > Article Comments > Cash and chaplains: the continuing seduction of the church > Comments

Cash and chaplains: the continuing seduction of the church : Comments

By Alan Matheson, published 3/11/2006

National Schools Chaplaincy Program: a further step in the corruption of churches in their struggle to survive.

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Dear Alan Matheson, thanks very much for this article. I find it really interesting. There should be much more media attention on this issue. Hope your article helps.
Posted by KeesB, Friday, 3 November 2006 9:54:29 AM
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I wonder if the proposed chaplaincy program is a form of surrogate parenting. Was it wise to make parents impuissant? Once again we are forced to correct the mistakes of the enlightened period where high school students were informed that CentreLink was cashed up and ready to help out any adolescent who didnít like the 10pm curfew.
Posted by Sage, Friday, 3 November 2006 10:17:10 AM
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Yes, I find it extremely scary to see that our governments from both sides of the fence are pandering to their personal viewpoints at the expense of the majority of Australians.

With the intention of bringing into State Schools, Chaplains of a Christian faith.

Baha,Buddhism,Branches of Christianity which includes Roman Catholicism, Easterb Orthodoxy, Anglican, Baptist, Christian Science, Church of God, Congregational, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Quaker, Seventh Day Adventist and Uniting Church to name a few. Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism and Zoroastrianism, also create differing standards of faith.

What of the divisions created in the homes of all of the above named religions where parents hold differing viewpoints to those preached to their children at in school?.

As an extremely cancelled Catholic educated in all things religious but unable to spell or multiply by the time I left school. I say keep religion out of schools.

Oh I almost forgot to name my own belief system, that of Humanist!

Mary Walsh
www.yourchoiceindying.com
Posted by yourchoiceindying.com, Friday, 3 November 2006 11:57:46 AM
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Hmm,

Yes. Let's be cautious about the motivation of the government. Just why are they so interested in promoting Chaplains in schools, but let's not lose sight of the issue here.

Schools are dramatically under-resourced. Some years ago I was considering applying to work for country Secondary school as a chaplain. This particular school had seen five suicides over a period of twelve months. This school had a welfare team, and teachers who cared about their students, and a local church community who wanted to see things improve at the school. Were these students unworthy of pastoral care?

The arguments of the dissenters are rather patronizing as they don't afford the students a level of reason which would allow them to make a discerning judgement of what services they choose to use, and to whose words they will listen.

I was a Christian in a state school, which had a Christian lunchtime group. I didn't value their contribution so I didn't attend their program. Likewise, when I was at university, I found the Christian groups to be high on judgemental and conservative rhetoric, so i boycotted these groups, nay even vandalized their chalk ads.

Of the thousands of young people I have met over the years in my work as a youth worker, not too many are unable to activate their bulls**t detectors.

So bring it on. Put a microphone in front of an idiot and he will make an idiot of himself.

These chaplains will have to win the support of the school communities and the students, or they will be dismissed out of hand. If they are successful, perhaps their presence might even do some good if they are able to work as part of the system.

Let's question our rampant secularism for a minute. Who is presuming to be superior, the Christians or the atheists or the Jedi proponents. Rather we are all on a path, so let's try to make sense of this thing together.
Posted by Nahum, Friday, 3 November 2006 12:39:38 PM
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The religous right have taken over the Liberal party and the liberal party is the poorer for it.
Posted by Kenny, Friday, 3 November 2006 1:12:14 PM
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Alan Matheson,

Thank you for fleshing out the detail and extent of the implications of this program. Did I read you correctly to say that a (government endorsed) Reference Group will ultimately get to decide who becomes a (publicly funded) chaplain, and who does not? The end-game of such a situation is that the state in conjunction with the dominant denominational entity will effectively in the end get to decide the composition of the totality of the clergy of the nation. In the circumstance of, for example, the Roman Catholic faith claiming the largest proportion of adherents (be some of them ever so nominal) one could expect to see, ultimately, the complete fusion of the Roman Catholic Church and the Commonwealth government, indistinguishably determining what constitutes all Christian teaching and belief throughout Australia.

There has already been some discussion on the topic "Does John Howard's $90M for School Chaplaincy amount to Establishment of Religion?" started two days ago in the General Discussion area of the forum. http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=199

There may be an obstacle to this National Schools Chaplaincy Program. The Constitution.

Section 116 of the Constitution states, amongst other things, that "The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, .....". One of the characteristics of a religion being 'established' is that it is financially supported with the aid of the power of taxation. There can be no more direct form of financial support for a religion than funding its clergy. It would appear that at some stage the National Schools Chaplaincy Program would have to be the subject of a law appropriating funds from the general revenues of the Commonwealth, and thus run foul of the Constitutional prohibition.

And of course the prospect of public funds going to support radical Islamic clerics in Islamic schools has not even been considered, has it?
Posted by Forrest Gumpp, Friday, 3 November 2006 1:45:24 PM
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