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The Forum > General Discussion > separation of religion and state

separation of religion and state

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Very few people in Australia would like to see Australia either become a theocracy or give no consideration to religious belief. I would like to see the Australian government neither promote nor suppress religion. Government should provide chaplains for those in the armed forces, in prisons or in other places where they do not have access to the services of their religion due to government action. Chaplains in parliament or public schools are unnecessary as politicians and students have access to religious services. I am against any religious teachings in public schools except for studies in comparative religion or a study of a religion that is not the studentís religion. I am against government funding of religious schools or exempting profit-making religious owned facilities from taxation. I favour recognizing the confidentiality of communications to clergy. Conscientious objection to military service should be granted to those judged sincere in their beliefs whether or not the belief is religiously based.

Where would you draw the line between religion and state?
Posted by david f, Friday, 14 November 2008 10:08:42 AM
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Dear David,

In 1981 The High Court determined that there is in
fact no constitutional separation of church and state
in Australia.

We have a queen, who's the Head of the Church of England,
Our Governor-General swore allegiance to Her. Prior to the
current Governor-General we had one who was an ordained
minister.

We have government funding for religious schools. There are
religious references in statutory oaths and pledges.
We have parliamentary prayers. We have State support for religious
institutions and personel. There are tax advantages for
religious institutions. So, the separation of church and
state in this country is largely a myth.

Perhaps it would be wise for us to first become a Republic,
and then discuss the separation of church and state?

Because at the moment, constitutionally, separation does not exist.
And never will, for as long as the Queen (and Head of the
Church of England) remains as our country's Head of State.
Church and State will continue to be entwined.
Posted by Foxy, Friday, 14 November 2008 2:15:58 PM
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davidf

'I am against any religious teachings in public schools except for studies in comparative religion or a study of a religion that is not the studentís religion.'

I am against money going into secular schools because they have produced heaps of bad fruit. It just so happens that numerous secular people agree with me or at least vote with their feet in sending their kids to religous schools.

Secularism is not neutral and holds as many dogmas if not more than most religions. Your suggestion that the Private schools not be funded when parents of these private schools heavily subsidies the dogmas of State schools is discriminatory.

You show how bigoted secular people can be in trying to deny children a decent education.
Posted by runner, Friday, 14 November 2008 3:19:27 PM
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Runner wrote:

"You show how bigoted secular people can be in trying to deny children a decent education."

Dear Runner,

I want very much for children to have a decent education. The money spent funding the religious schools can go into the public system. If parents want their children to have a religious education they should not be able to use tax payer funds to do it.

In the United States racial segregation in the public schools was outlawed. Religious segregation is no better. Children mixing with children of different religious and cultural backgrounds will be likely to grow up less prejudiced. In 1952 the US desegegrated the schools. In 2008 a black president was elected in a mostly white country. The events are related.

To continue segregation private religious schools were set up in the US which were not tax funded. Christians were racial bigots in that case. The heaviest vote against Obama was in the US Bible belt. Christianity and bigotry have been partners in the US.
Posted by david f, Friday, 14 November 2008 4:49:51 PM
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davidf

You fail to acknowledge that parents of private school students pay taxes as well as school fees. They in fact save Governments a lot of money. You also fail to acknowledge the failure of the secular system that has led multitudes of tax payers to exit their children due to the rotten fruit. Your accusation of Christians being racist bigots is incredibly naive. You obviously don't know what you are talking about or you have redefined the meaning. The vast majority of churches are filled with people from all nations who get along better than most. It is in your secular schools you are far more likely to find bigotry. You are either blind or dishonest.
Posted by runner, Friday, 14 November 2008 7:14:36 PM
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Dear Runner,

I am neither blind nor dishonest. When the civil rights movement in the US got underway Martin Luther King Jr. noted that the most segregated hour in the United States was Sunday morning when white and black went to their separate churches. The African Methodist Episcopal church was founded for blacks because blacks were not allowed in white churches. The largest Protestant denomination in the US is the Southern Baptists. They split from the other Baptists before the Civil War because they were in favour of slavery. It is a fact that Christian religious school were set up to avoid mixing their children with black children after the US Supreme Court desegregated the schools. Although Christians have supported civil rights in the United States some at the cost of their lives more Christians have supported racial bigotry. It is also a fact that fundamentalist Christianity has supported racism. Runner, calling me names will not change the fact of massive Christian bigotry in the United States. I certainly wish it were not that way.
Posted by david f, Friday, 14 November 2008 7:36:03 PM
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