FIRIS CLAIMS VICTORY!
August 21, 2015

Victorian Minister for Education James Merlino has announced that Special Religious Instruction (SRI) will be removed from school hours in 2016. SRI will be taken out of class-time and treated as an elective.

Instead, children in Victorian public schools will be taught about the major religions which make up our multicultural community, together with secular humanism and ethics – by class teachers as part of the official curriculum.

This is the prize we have been working for since FIRIS formed in 2011. And today the dream is a reality! FIRIS is grateful to the thousands of parent supporters. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!

AIMS OF FIRIS

  • Maintain an inclusive school curriculum that does not require any student to withdraw from class on account of different religious beliefs, or none.
  • Formally cease the practice of volunteer-run Religious Instruction (SRI/SRE) 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.  

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The main discussion between supporters is on our Facebook Page. Read the recent discussions and remember to LIKE us!

Fairness In Religions In School

Fairness In Religions In School shared Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools's post. ... See MoreSee Less

Apologists for religious instruction in state schools often like to claim that, whether you are a believer or not, these classes teach about values and provide a moral foundation. We’ve been looking through the lesson content of the Connect program for a while now and have to say that we have come across very little that could arguably fall into that category. So, what is it for, if not to impart values? Well, you be the judge. If they are following the suggestions of the publishers of the Connect program, RI providers will be using Cycle C of the program this year. Here’s one lesson that can be expected in semester 2 for 7-9 year olds. Lesson 2 is just one of a number of lessons that presents miracles performed by Jesus as fact, in this case turning water into wine. “This first miracle revealed that the Messianic Age had arrived. Jesus is the Christ who came to bring peace to his people. Yet the wine, created in ceremonial cleansing jars, gives us a hint as to how this peace would be accomplished – Jesus...would shed his blood in order to cleanse his people of their sin. And as a result of seeing the sign, his disciples would put their faith in him.” The instructor has children come up and chant some magic words such as ‘A la peanut butter sandwiches’ or ‘Abracadabra’ to try and change some water into whatever beverage the children have decided. This segues into how Jesus did change water into wine at a wedding, “without using any silly, pretend ‘magic’ words either!” The lesson ties in the big water jars used in the religious cleansing rituals of the Israelites and then comes to this: “By doing this miracle, Jesus was pointing ahead to the better way he would wash us clean from our sins – by dying on the cross. A big jar of water wouldn’t make us clean from our sins. When we trust and follow Jesus...we can live in heaven with God forever. In other words, *it is only through Jesus that we can be clean before God and be friends with him forever*.” Now for the hard sell: “What did the disciples do? (Accept responses: They put their faith in Jesus.) “I want you to consider what you think about Jesus’ miracle." "DO YOU WANT TO PUT YOUR FAITH IN JESUS?” (our emphasis) So, 7-9 year olds are being told in no uncertain terms that miracles are real and, yet again, that they are not clean unless they trust and follow Jesus. Throw in a little fear factor of what might or might not happen when they die and then ask them flat out what they want to do about that. What do you think? Is this about values? Does it provide a moral foundation? And, don't forget - all this comes at the expense of the curriculum time of *every* child, at a time when EQ is pushing the Every Day Counts campaign so precious learning time is not wasted...How's them values?

2 weeks ago

Kay ClarkeThe Messianic Age - 7-9 year olds??2 weeks ago

Jim Little"Jesus was pointing ahead to the better way he would wash us clean from our sins – by dying on the cross" = confusing.1 week ago

Heather Smyth'Teacher's Manual'? Since when were these people teachers? Instructors a better term? Certainly less insulting to real teachers.1 week ago

Dave RobboSo, your objection is that Christian teaching materials are teaching Christian beliefs? Do you feel your own beliefs should over-ride that of others, who CHOSE to be part of that program?2 days ago

Fairness In Religions In School

FIRIS has been contacted by a teachers aid in a NSW public primary school, who sits in during the SRE classes. We are working with this contact (and others) on a continuing basis to have the problems addressed at some schools. We are sorry that we cannot disclose the name of some schools or the sources - as we always promise anonymity to parents/teachers/ethics volunteers who contact us for help and with information. Here is one recent account from a school contact in NSW concerning the SRE classes. "SRE session On Tuesday the students were 'taught' (note taught. as FACT [not that it is a Christian belief]) ...that when we die, we either go to hell, or we go to be with Jesus... this was repeated, chanted and then repeated in a song. The word 'hell' was used repeatedly as if it was a real place for people who don't 'follow Jesus'. I had to leave the room half way through as I think my frustrations were starting to show. Just wanted to update you guys. This was the lesson this week - the Easter lesson was just as gobsmacking...making students stand up with their arms outstretched as if Jesus on the cross, holding that posed until their arms ached so they could 'feel the pain that Jesus went through'. The more I witness from these classes the more I cringe. This half hour a week should really be used to either educate students about different religions and the cultures within -- OR be dedicated to literacy, numeracy etc etc." ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago

Hesh DieselDisgusting- but keep up the great work..3 weeks ago

Sharyn GuppyIs the class teacher present during the brainwashing sessions? And if so, do they have any say or input during the session?3 weeks ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolA review of the primary school CEP Connect curriculum is currently being conducted.3 weeks ago

Brooke NobleMeanwhile, it's not acceptable to 'imagine what it might be like if you were attracted to the same sex'.3 weeks ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolAnd fundamentalists complain of 'bible ignorance' yet when in a position to 'correct' this ignorance this is an example of what they do instead. What hypocrites.3 weeks ago

Brendon EisholdWhat is the point of having a teacher in the class if they are not able to step in and voice their concerns right there and then?3 weeks ago

Bec MarrHow is this ok?3 weeks ago

Miranda RandaGrrrrrrrrrrr!!!! :(3 weeks ago

Anita Evans HellevikSkye Mescall Sam Pethen Lauren Smith3 weeks ago

Alison CourticeThis is the modus operandi of Connect program, though I haven't found any mention of the word 'hell' but certainly that if you become a Christian you will have eternal life with God but no explanation of what that means or what the alternative is. Perhaps referring to hell is the instructor going off script?3 weeks ago

Travis ToddieRyan Teare3 weeks ago

Jodie HarknessGod almighty. How is this still allowed to go on?!3 weeks ago

Shanna Davis PriestlyAnne Hughes-Melhuish3 weeks ago

La BronKentandRuth Hodge3 weeks ago

Dan RossiPUBLIC FUNDED CHILD ABUSE. Christian lobby imposing their fascist ideologies.3 weeks ago

La BronThe system is set up so people are free to say whatever they like until exposed. There is no regulation. No one overseeringing. Script or no script it's cringeworthy stuff.3 weeks ago

Narelle Friarkeep up the awesome work. Can I donate??3 weeks ago

Kathleen LamarqueThought of everyone on this page when this afternoon I passed a local Christian school which had the following written on its noticeboard: "NAPLAN tests this week. Prayers welcome." I was happy that my kids suggested that perhaps study would be of better use.3 weeks ago

Kathleen LamarqueI pulled my kids out of SRE a few years ago when someone in my daughter's class asked what happens if you don't believe in God. The 'teacher' replied, "You go to hell, but we will talk about that later."3 weeks ago

Pixell McLeodMy daughter's friend told us, after my girl had said 'we don't believe in god', that she was going to believe in god because she didn't want to go to hell. And that, folks, is what evangelists want.3 weeks ago

Ann GolubI'd like to copy this post into my child's school page - is this allowed? Many parents at our school seem to pick SRE by default without having a clue of what their kid will be told there... and when I tell them, they seem shocked... I want to make them all aware that this is the kind of crap their kids are told... thanks3 weeks ago

Todd LloydMy sons go to an Anglican college, so religious studies is part of the syllabus, but even they spend a big part of it learning about other faiths, with the general consensus being that none of them are wrong etc. I think faith is a personal thing and I think it is important to learn about it and make up your own mind. I am not religious3 weeks ago

Katrina Sweetapple2 weeks ago

David AshtonYou need to realize that parents and teachers have a far greater influence on what children believe than any SRE teacher. Classes are not presented as dogma and the kids aren't told you must believe this or else. I suspect that FIRIS isn't about fairness of religion in school but the total abolition of religion in school.2 weeks ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolDavid Ashton FIRIS want SRE out of public schools and comparative religion taught by professional Department employed teachers in. We also want children to be regularly engaged in the act of philosophising, similar to the current ethics classes in NSW.2 weeks ago