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Sunday, December 14, 2008

I feel so Patriotic right now...

The Evil Atheist Conspiracy is apparently making headway in my home country of Australia: in place of the traditional "Religous Education" classes, we get to teach Humanism!

Victorian state primary school students will soon have an alternative -- religious education lessons taught by people who do not believe in God and say there is "no evidence of any supernatural power".

The Humanist Society of Victoria has developed a curriculum, which the State Government accreditation body says it intends to approve, to deliver 30-minute lessons each week of "humanist applied ethics" to primary pupils.

Accredited volunteers will be able to teach their philosophy in the class time designated for religious instruction. As with lessons delivered by faith groups, parents will be able to request that their children do not participate.

The reactions were predictably deranged and incohesive.

~ The fundies are against it because: "What about witchcraft or Satanism? "If you accredit humanism, then those things would have an equal claim to be taught in schools."
~ The "mainstream religous" are also against it because: "humanism is not a religion and so should not be taught in religious education time." -- (Access Ministries)

But the World Conference of Religions for Peace fully supports it, and intends to approve it when it comes up for approval. So who wants to come to visit?

(Entire Post Stolen pretty much verbatim from Pharyngula.)

PS: The final paragraph contains a quote from fundie Jenny Stokes: "Religious instruction in state schools should be Christian because "basically we are a Christian nation", she said."

What the friggin frig on a frigger? No we're not! Australia's constitution is even clearer than the American one!

Chapter V
"116. The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth."

Respectfully, Ms Stokes: Go to Niflheim!


  1. Aussie Aussie Aussie!

    All I need now is time off my day job to volunteer for this in NSW.

  2. Quasar,
    Thanks for reporting this. I had seen it too but didn't want to hog the blog.

    Also, the wording of your Constitution is very similqar, as you saied, to our.

    It looks like our first ammendment and article VI in one paragraph.

    I am painfully ignorant of how the governments of other countries work.
    I should probably take some time to get into that.

    As far as humanism is concerned, I always tried to show my kids the social/ societal reasons for our ethical and moral standards.

    Although we weren't overtly religious in any way, I taught them about religion and the idea of spiritualism.

    I spent a lot of time talking about Christianity and each of them had a bible when they reached the appropriate age.

    I did not encourage them to be religious but I always taught them that they, of course, welcome to explore religion and it was ultimately their choice.

    I think it very important that humanists understand Christianity because most everyone (including future mates) will claim they are a Christian.

    So, here's the tally out of five kids.
    1- Found Christianity when 32 years old. Somewhat of a bible thumper. He married into it. Live quite a way from here so when we talk it doesn't come up. Definitely not a fundy.
    1- Married a mildly devout Luthern. They are bringing up the kids with Christian teachings first but also humanistic background.
    3- Humanist/ Agnostic

    We went into this fully understanding that the kids should be allowed to make their own choice, which they did and there have never been any hard feelings in any way.

    Has it been a bowl of cherries?
    No, My oldest son and I were on the outs for several years because we would not sign for him to go in the marine Corps when he was seventeen. He is my radical. He doesn't like being close to anyone and I often feel bad about it, but he calls his own shots.

    If I am convinced of anything after all this it is that it's important to always show love and compassion and therefore the door is always open.

  3. religious education lessons taught by people who do not believe in God and say there is "no evidence of any supernatural power".

    I don't like this.

    It's not the fact that The Godless are teaching classes about God - it's that Humanism is being associated with a lack of a deity (or Religion in general).

    Humanism, as far as I understand it, has no position on whether God exists or not; the deity is a philosophical non-sequitur. Classes in humanism should not have the word listed anywhere in their curricula.

    The same should be true about Atheism and Morality. Discussions of one often lead to the other, but they are otherwise unrelated.

    Atheism gets conflated with all kinds of stuff, and this is both illogical and ignorant. That being said, I hope that humanists would be a bit more sensitive to this - and avoid creating such associations when it's advantageous.

  4. As can be expected, the "Salt Shakers" people aren't the only religious right characters to hate this.

    Good luck commenting there though. Bill censors like crazy. If you do happen to get a comment in, you'll get jumped on by the xian commentators and Bill will make sure that they get the last word.

    Also, I posted about that on PZ Myers blog where he talks about it.

    Someone who saw that tried posting on Bill's site. He did get posted, but guess what happened?

  5. "Freedom to believe in various religions – or no religion – is one benefit of Christianity"
    (from http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2008/12/14/destroying-the-foundations-of-the-west/)

    I have to say, I'll bet this'd be quite a revelation to some of the fundamentalists who post here at the Raytractors

  6. Why is it that Christianity takes all the credit for western civilization but when you bring up the inquisition and crusades suddenly the Catholics did it? (As if Catholics are not Christian)

    And who's idea was witch burning? Were Puritans not True Christians?


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