AIMS OF FIRIS

  • Maintain an inclusive school curriculum that does not require any student to withdraw from class on account of different religious beliefs.
  • Formally cease the practice of volunteer-run special religious instruction (SRI) during school hours.
  • Follow an objective, fair and balanced comparative syllabus for education about religions and beliefs.
  • Treat all religious organisations who wish to use the school facilities outside of the school day with transparent and equitable policies.

FIRIS is a parent-driven grassroots effort.  More, you say?

 

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Fairness In Religions In School

WILD BIBLE: Lesson 9 - NEW LIFE In the 1880's the people of Australia set up public schools because the existing church run system of schooling was heading society to a place that the Australian colonists didn't want to go. Specifically, this meant ending the old system of schools run by priests and nuns - and embracing a new system where education was limited to "secular" instruction (ie talking about things which existed, and avoiding instruction in religious dogma). In what can only be understood as an exception to this, the NSW legislature, reserved time set aside for priests to give dogmatic instruction - it was seen then as a small compromise that facilitated a huge change. Today, this colonial era policy is being exploited by evangelistic youth ministry groups like "The Bible Society" as a way to use schools to target and recruit children to their idea of religious belief. This predatory, dogmatic, evangelical, missionary purpose is displayed for all to see in the Wild Bible Lesson 9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbzP_f8cxzI&feature=youtu.be Now just set aside the horror that most parents would feel seeing a 40+ man with a bible and a cheap foam mattress near their children. Because while truly horrific, the mattress is only there because the instructor wants it to be cut up into foam blocks - which can then be used to make a tomb, that you can put children in to show them that Jesus was able to come back from the dead. While in parliament and in the press, we hear elaborate justification for how our culture was founded on something called "Judeo-Christianity" - when you focus specifically on what evangelicals get up to with children - the high minded cultural justifications that can pass for reasonable arguments melt away, and what is left is simply naked, full on, literal belief system that contains no metaphor, no poetry and no subtlety. This is why you see in this lesson, a man waving blocks of foam rubber that say "LIFE" & "DEATH" - and telling children that "JESUS IS ALIVE"! In this video, you see that the point of SRE/SRI is to URGENTLY tell other people's children that JESUS DIED FOR THEM and that HE IS REAL! The Department of Education in NSW and Queensland - are absolutely negligent to allow this to go on in our schools. For teachers, who have been trained for years in education, to have to hand over the classroom to this kind of shallow rubbish, is no different from allowing the most zealous street preacher you've ever seen have an hour of your class time EVERY WEEK - it is insulting madness. How does this exist? Denial. It is all down to denial. Everyone knows that if you try to close the door on this nuttery, that the rump faction led by Fred Nile will rise in indignation from their day jobs disparaging homosexuals and drone on about how our society is based on "Christian Principles". They get away with this because no one in the media rolls this tape. Should we allow people like this to build foam block tombs and present the bible as if it were literally true - and use public schools as venues to "bring children to Christ"? No. Absolutely not, no one who is serious about education would look at this video and think it is a great idea to open up Australian schools so random people can walk in off the street and "witness" about how Jesus has defeated the devil and can save them too - if they only believe. That is what is happening here - and it should not be difficult or even debatable that any education system that lets this happen - under the premise that it is providing "education" should be struck off for incompetence. The sell-by date on a colonial era compromise has long since passed ... and the policy has devolved into just what you see here - people with extreme religious fervour using the schools to do what would be frowned upon if it were done on the street ... these are our schools, not "mission fields". Hopefully someone will ask Kevin Donnelly, Adrian Piccoli & Christopher Pyne ... is this lesson what they have in mind when they argue that we need to make sure our schools are not too secular! ... See MoreSee Less

This predatory, dogmatic, evangelical, missionary purpose is displayed for all to see in the Wild Bible Lesson 9, produced by The Bible Society of Australia....

5 hours ago

Fairness In Religions In School5 hours ago

Bat MelThat was 4 disgusting minutes of my life I'll never get back. I particularly loved the bit about how the kids can "do this in their own time" so they don't feel "pressured" because it has to be "their decision". After they've been frightened to bits by stories of zombies and sin and death and here, make a tomb. It'll be FUN!!!!5 hours ago

Kay ClarkeIf someone put mu child in a foam tomb I would be so angry I don't know what I would do. This is child abuse and they should be charged with such. Is there any way these cruel and hideous people can be stopped from doing this to children? Perhaps the Royal Commission into child abuse?? Otherwise the steps of Parliament with banners and a crowd of people?? Seriously this has to be stopped but how??4 hours ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolSure, anyone can complain to whoever they like. We are pursuing our own line of inquiry with various groups. Please be assured, something is being done about this.4 hours ago

Kay Clarkethank you FIRIS. I know you are doing all that you can. Sorry I just see something like that and I am aghast. Time was when we put dunces hats on children and stood them in corners. This is like this horrid history repeating itself only worse. It just seems unbelievable that these people could be so cruel.4 hours ago

Catherine WalshWhen the DEC suspends its own policies to permit SRE to happen, there is a problem.4 hours ago

Kay ClarkeI might just add if this was "a fun lesson" I'd hate to see a sad one!!4 hours ago

Lynette Joy"put a kid inside it" ???3 hours ago

Fairness In Religions In School

FIRIS celebrates our 4th anniversary this year and we have achieved a lot in that short time. Firstly with the move from opt-out to opt-in in VIC, which meant a massive decline in SRI participation rates. Then the MD141, which included a new consent form that made it clear to parents that it was "instruction", not "education" their children were receiving. This again led to another massive drop in SRI numbers. And to make the DET in VIC now become accountable for the SRI program and to allow principals to decide for themselves whether or not they will deliver it. These are just the major achievements, and there have been many many more along the journey. And now we are excitedly just beginning our journey in NSW, but promise to make sure the job gets finished in VIC. People have come and gone along the way, ordinary people who have been personally hurt by this program from all walks of life. But also others, who are the best and brightest in the country (and beyond) want to help us - because they can see this policy is wrong. One person who provides us with great inspiration, and who stood up for fairness and against segregation was Martin Luther King Jr. During an NBC News debate in 1960, he was asked about the "sit ins" being conducted by his followers to protest against segregation of blacks and whites in the USA. His response was - "I think on this point you would have to agree with me, that all people should obey just laws, but I would also say that an unjust law is no law at all, and when we find an unjust law, I think we have a moral obligation to take a stand against it." That is exactly how we at FIRIS feel about the SRI/SRE policy which is currently law in the Education Act, and we feel a moral obligation to take a stand against it. ... See MoreSee Less

23 hours ago

OurChildrenOurSchoolsThank you!23 hours ago

Steven PamThank you.23 hours ago

Kay ClarkeHappy anniversary FIRIS.23 hours ago

Alison CourticeWell done.22 hours ago

Gordon Church of The Flying Spaghetti MonsterKeep stirrin'22 hours ago

Heather SmythThank you.21 hours ago

Nicole BurnardThank you for being in this for the long haul. You have made great progress and will prevail!19 hours ago

Robert McLeanWow! Reason's prevailing.5 hours ago

Fairness In Religions In School

Adrian Piccoli clearly has a huge mess on his hands with the SRE program. This is what happens when you look the other way while allowing others to abuse your goodwill and trust. And the GFSM Church doesn't look like it is going away without a fight. ... See MoreSee Less

We received another letter (without purpose) from the NSW DEC yesterday. They unsurprisingly failed to provide a transparent decision and failed to address any of our reasonable questions. While we dearly hope that it does not have to come to it...we sent the below correspondence to make it explicitly clear (in any future administrative court proceeding) our objections to Minister Piccoli's involvement in the assessment of our application. What a farce the DEC process has shown itself to be! Pastafarians are not requesting any special privileges. Just give us our equal rights already! Rev. Dan ************************************************************************** Dear Dr. Cullen, In regards to your e-mail with the attached letter from Peter Lorking both dated 22 April 2015, I wish to put on record: 1) GCFSM objection to the length of time it has taken to receive a decision in this matter. The NSW Ombudsman has confirmed to the GCFSM on 10 April that no other application in recent time frames have exceeded 251 days. Our application has now exceeded 270 days. 2) GCFSM demand that a DEC decision regarding our application is provided to us in a timely, fair and transparent manner. 3) GCFSM objection to our application being subjected to the influence of the NSW SRE Consultative Committee. This committee has a direct conflict of interest in this matter and it cannot be relied upon to fairly and impartially administer Section 32 of the Education Act 1990 on behalf of the NSW public. 3) GCFSM demand that Minister Piccoli recuse his self from participating in the approval process of our application. Minister Piccoli's quote in the 25 March 2015 Newcastle Herald referring to the GCFSM "As long as I am Minister for Education, this group will never be approved to teach SRE in NSW public schools" has made it explicitly and blatantly clear that the Minister is biased with regards to our application. 4) GCFSM demand that Minister Piccoli recuse his self from participating in the approval process of any FUTURE application that the GCFSM might lodge. Minister Piccoli has made it explicitly clear that our group will NEVER be approved irrespective of the merits of any future application that we may wish to submit. Minister Piccoli has clearly demonstrated to the NSW public that he is acting in a biased, partial and prejudicial manner. 5) GCFSM demand that Minister Piccoli recuse his self from participating in the approval process of any future application from a Pastafarian faith as we perceive his bias to extend to our entire religious persuasion. 6) GCFSM demand that Minister Piccoli recuse his self from participating in the approval process of any future application from a faith that worships a non-Abrahamic deity as we perceive his bias to extend to any faith that does not worship his personal deity. NSW law requires that our application must be assessed by persons who have no other interest than fairly and impartially administering Section 32 of the Education Act 1990 on behalf of the NSW public which specifies that time should be set aside in every government school for the religious education of children of ANY religious persuasion. Sincerely, Rev Dan Guenther GCFSM

2 days ago

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Fairness In Religions In School

The NSW DEC has advised us that parents give their consent for SRE on the enrolment forms. Any extra consent forms, brochures,etc are optional at the discretion of the individual schools. We have attached the NSW enrolment form below - which really does make a mockery of "informed consent". How is any parent, who is busy and has a million other things to do, and who generally places a great deal of trust in the education system, even to suspect anything other than what is written on this form - that it is religious "education". And how in the hell is the average parent supposed to know that SRE includes such things such as sexuality instruction? And as you can see, the NSW Gov't has not even established if the child is of a particular "religious persuasion". The question about what the child's religion is is totally OPTIONAL. Therefore, in any given SRE class, how does the DEC or anyone know how many Christians or members of other faiths (or none) are present? ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

Kim UptonIf that's the case then why was I still required to "opt-out" even though we had already specified "No" to SRE and "Yes" to SEE on this same enrolment form?3 days ago

Natasha NagyIn VIC it's opt in, I thought NSW was the same?...Good days and bad days, today may feel like a crappy one I guess. And by crappy I mean futile. Tomorrow is another day, remember, we only have opt in because of people like you, we have more constructive lessons for those not doing RE, because of your good fight, we have less people accepting their dose of forced religious medicine-or their children- because of you peeps. It is a winning story, but frustratingly slow. Once again, THANK YOU for all you do.3 days ago

Tracey AsteroidWell obviously everyone is opted into christian scripture....3 days ago

Jim LittleI would think the enrollment form would be a good place to put this, though it seems unnecessary that some schools would then have additional consent forms. There are two places to specify religion, if one opted to; one associated with SRE preference; the other more generally about religion or none.3 days ago

Conrad Henley-CalvertThis is a step up from where I thought it was. I was under the impression that ethics wasn't mentioned except to those who had already opted out of SRE (the result of some Fred Nile negotiations, I believe). To see it referenced at all is something. But the form falls far short of the Victorian one.3 days ago

Fairness In Religions In School

NSW UPDATE We have a media source contacting the NSW DEC Director about this scandal today for comment. Stay tuned. ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

Gordon Church of The Flying Spaghetti MonsterGetting a transparent response out of the DEC is not easy....Well done if you can get them to own up to something!3 days ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolPru Goward has also been contacted.3 days ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolThe fact is, and we are sorry to hold back from our supporters, but we have had to abstain from releasing the most controversial content for behind the scenes, but all will be revealed. It is indeed a mess. Stay with us please.3 days ago

Tracey AsteroidExcuse person who was up most of the night with ill husband, and only just rejoined the world. What scandal?3 days ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolSee a couple of posts below Tracey Asteroid3 days ago

Natasha NagyGood luck, keep them honest and accountable and don't back down to the giants. And most of all, THANK YOU.3 days ago

Gavin ParsonsI see?3 days ago

Kay ClarkeIs there a reason that the DET site is not available?? I Are they hiding something perhaps??3 days ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolKay Clarke - What?3 days ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolYes, you are right. That SRE information is not available3 days ago