Why must we stop the National School Chaplaincy Scheme?
Education is all about teaching children how to think, how to make decisions based on the information they are presented based on the evidence and facts presented to them. While this is true of all areas of education, this is particularly important in areas of learning where a critical assessment is necessary to make a decisions. Philosophies and religions are two areas of human culture that, while important for teaching a holistic worldview, are very easily taught in such a way that children can be led to believe there is only one opinion about them. The National School Chaplaincy Scheme (NSCP) threatens to do just this.
While in theory (and if presented correctly) the scheme could offer a way for children to be introduced to many new ideas, across many religions, the scheme has been hijacked by groups like the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) for their own means. (The ACL web-site’s “About” page reads: “The vision of the Australian Christian Lobby is to see Christian principles and ethics accepted and influencing the way we are governed, do business and relate to each other as a community.”) For some inexplicable reason, the ACL holds a lot of sway in the government. They are not a big group, but because they are so vocal they seem to be a lot larger than they are.
As I mentioned in a previous article the chaplains have to deal with “with students presenting with issues associated with mental health and depression, 50 per cent with alcohol and drug use and 44 per cent with self harm and suicide”, so forgive me if I don’t trust an untrained person who is bent on proselytising children with the well-being of the children of Australia.
The program has been doomed from the start, with the school councillors being dubbed “Chaplains”, which it is claimed to be a term which hearkens to the good old days, when the village chaplain served as a social worker, but in this day we have trained social workers to do this. So why the label? Because it’s the ACL (among others fundamentalist Christian groups) that are the people that the government has entrusted with the children’s well-being. There is no definition of the word “chaplain” that I can find that says anything apart from this kind of thing:
n. Abbr. Ch.
I’ll let you make a decision as to whether that’s a sign that things are a bit askew from the get-go.
We are supposed to be a secular nation, and while I fully understand that in 2006 that 64% of people identified themselves as Christian our nation is founded on secular principles. To ensure that we continue to grow as a nation of ingenuity, and to be able to hold up our heads as an example to other nations, we need to ensure that our education system is not hijacked any further by those with religion-based interests.
If you support quality education without the fear of people recruiting your children into a religion, then please support the “Stop The NSCP” campaign.