IN Victoria, the Napthine Liberals’ decision to increase funding of ACCESS Ministries to $2 million from $135,000 ignores growing concerns about religious proselytising in government schools, according to Dr Meredith Doig, President of the Rationalist Society of Australia.
She says many parents and schools are deciding not to have their children subjected to what amounts to religious indoctrination via the legally sanctioned Special Religious Instruction. Yet the Coalition has flown in the face of these concerns by sharply increasing funding.
“ACCESS Ministries has been exposed using their privileged position to try to convert the young to their form of evangelical Christianity,” she says. “What they get up to has been criticised by parents, educational experts and principals, and has a number of other religious denominations worried. Yet the Napthine Liberals have caved in to the demands of religious privilege by increasing the funding to absurd levels. They are throwing money at an overtly evangelist group, presumably because they think they will win votes. They should remember the fastest growing section of the population, according to the last census, is the non-religious.
“Meanwhile, the Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools gets just $130,000 to set up a whole system of centres to train teachers in teaching Ethical Understanding. It reveals extraordinary priorities.”
1 November 2014
Media Inquiries: Dr Meredith Doig, President, 0403 246 544