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

"Atheism and Humanism is not secularism - the architects of secularism were religious""Who can, should and does support a secular state? Fair minded Australians of all ages, that's who"Dr Leslie Cannold articulates beautifully here why "inclusive secularism" does not always work in our society today.That is because individuals such as Lyle Shelton from the ACL will always feel threatened by this form of social morality and work to undermine it.Ethical secularism is not discriminatory, nor is it trying to jostle for a position on the religious landscape. It is really just a commonsense way of living one's life and does not seek to impose on the freedoms of those with faith. However, where is it at odds is on issues such as abortion and gay marriage - where religion tries to supercede autonomy.And similarly, that is where the chaplaincy and SRI programs are at odds with the public interest.These programs make a joke of what "inclusive secularism" is supposed to be about.Dr Leslie Cannold's speech 2011 (part 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3OTjjb2QAM(Part 2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzsrL313uro ... See MoreSee Less

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/bigideas/stories/2011/3214059.htm

8 hours ago

Hilton TravisI have a lot of respect for Leslie's perspective.1 hour ago

Kay ClarkeI would not agree that all the architects of secularism were religious. Where on earth does that staement come from? Many of those who fought for a secular education in Australia were religious but many were non religious!!37 minutes ago

Anne Ogilvieany true fans of democracy realise that secularity is integral to its function & that its success demands that personal belief systems must remain subservient. the magna carta was the first step to democracy & was strongly opposed by the church of the time. this is often the case today, where opposition to secularity really equates to an opposition to democracy. every religious hierarchy aims for political power & seems to believe that secularity undermines its power base, which is its religious followers.29 minutes ago

Fairness In Religions In School

FIRIS has discovered that the infamous Biblezine, which was distributed to Grade 6 students at Torquay College by ACCESS volunteers, has been in schools before - via the Chaplains.As featured here in this ABC 7.30 report by Hagar Cohen back in 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-hgadxhfXw (at 8.55sec)The Biblezine contains advice to students about dating, friendship and sexuality - including this about homosexuality: "God doesn't call it an alternative lifestyle; he calls it a sin."Although the chaplain in this case was not from ACCESS, but Scripture Union - it highlights a systemic flaw in the chaplain program, when delivered into schools via these evangelical parachurch organisations who employ, train and oversee these chaplains.The chaplain provider has said that they are "broadly aware" of the Biblezine publication.Former Education Minister Peter Garrett has recently spoken out against the chaplaincy program and said while the School Chaplaincy program was extremely popular, particularly in Queensland after the floods, “the umbilical cord between churches with their mission to evangelise and chaplain providers who shared this same commitment, required significant guideline changes to ensure chaplains did not overstep the mark”. http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/former-education-minister-peter-garrett-says-state-schools-not-capable-of-delivering-comparatively-thorough-education/story-fngqim8m-1226937782076Correct Mr Garrett - when you allow organisations who exist solely to bring children to faith using our school system, to be responsible for chaplains - it is not enough to draft some guidelines and hope for the best! ... See MoreSee Less

15 hours ago

Narelle FriarOh and i didn't look through that when the son brough it home a couple of yeears ago.15 hours ago

Duchess Phillipa ToiaOkay WOW13 hours ago

Fairness In Religions In School

Dawn Penney has ushered in a new era of glasnost at ACCESS Ministries. That’s right – the acting CEO is no longer on the back foot when it comes to dealing with criticism. Recently she made a statement about how they handled the Biblezine scandal.“After an internal investigation, ACCESS ministries undertook disciplinary action in this instance and the individual’s volunteer status has been revoked” http://www.accessministries.org.au/news/id/35You have to feel a bit sorry for the volunteer who got hung out to dry. Especially when you consider that the Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC) report into the same incident found evidence of systemic problems in the delivery of SRI at Torquay College.As a direct consequence of the findings, PWC made three separate recommendations to strengthen the funding agreement between the private SRI provider and the state government.It’s mighty convenient for Dawn Penney to ignore the problems identified by the PWC report and blame the volunteer. We’re all for accountability but, if the problem is actually a systemic failure in the regulation of SRI, how culpable was that volunteer?And there is a twist in this tale. Dawn Penney has seen fit to boot out the volunteer for handing out a Biblezine called ‘Refuel 2’. That volunteer was only authorized to distribute ‘The SURFERS BIBLE’.However FIRIS considers ‘The SURFERS BIBLE’ to be just as inappropriate, if not more, for distribution to Grade 6 students. The reason for this is because it has the same strong missionary focus as Biblezine and it comes complete with an entire ministry. * We wrote to Dawn Penney on 15th & 23rd June about the SURFERS BIBLE - no answer was ever received. (see our letter below containing full details of the SURFERS BIBLE)So the upshot is, Dawn Penney’s actions are calculated to deflect attention from the PWC report. She got rid of the volunteer but did offer any reflection on whether it is appropriate for an SRI provider to be in the business of handing out bibles provided by third parties.Talk about lamb to the slaughter.LETTER FROM FIRIS TO ACCESS ABOUT SURFERS BIBLE No response received.Dear Ms Penney,I would like to bring your attention to the email below, sent on 15th June, of which we have not received a reply.We feel that this matter is very serious and requires a response from your organisation.The matter is serious because of the nature of the content contained in the Surfers Bible. Not only does it violate your code of conduct and volunteer agreement, but it sets out to groom and recruit children to become disciples for Jesus Christ.It also clearly tells the reader to become a Christian.Some of the content in the Surfers Bible is as follows: It is not enough to know about these principles, you need to act on them. The bridge is there, it's free but it's not cheap. It's the only one, no making up your own way. (John 14:6). You have a choice of two ways, no in-betweens. Your choices are:- Accept Jesus, allow him to pay your penalty, be forgiven, follow him as the leader of your life and he will stick with you forever. Jesus promises you will escape his judgement and make it to heaven.Reject Jesus, pay your own penalty, remain unforgiven, follow your own way and the ways of the world. Jesus promises you will have to stand before God and will suffer his judgement and hell itself.SO NOW WHAT? If you are serious about turning to God and living his way you have to take some big steps.1 Admit to God that you've blown it, regardless of how ‘good' you think you've been compared to others.2 Trust. Jesus died so that you could live, believe him for that. He came back to life to prove it! Go all out and ask for his forgiveness.3 Change. It is a big surrender to let God be GOD of your life. Stop doing things he doesn't want, and start doing things he does want. This is true repentance.4 Follow Jesus. This involves all aspects of life and for the rest of your life. It is a life long adventure with God shaping you his way.You can start by talking to God about all this. Maybe a prayer like this expresses the way you feel:“... Jesus, I'm sorry for running my own life and rebelling against you. I'm sorry for the hurt I've brought to myself, others and you. I need the forgiveness that you paid for on the cross. Jesus save me. I give you my life, messed up as it is. I commit myself to follow you. But I can't go it alone. Come into my life and help me to become the person you want me to be. Thank you for your promise to hear all who call on you.”BECOMING A CHRISTIAN IS JUST THE BIRTH NOW COMES A LIFETIME OF GROWTH!Under QUIT FIGHTING! There is nothing we can offer in exchange for it...except to stop our rebellion and give our lives back to God. To do this you need to become a Christian.Under HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN We are Sinful Sin has a penalty Just as criminals must pay the penalty for their crimes, sinners must pay the penalty for their sins. If you continue to sin, you will pay the penalty of spiritual death. You will not only die physically, you will also be separated from our holy God for all eternity. The Bible teaches that those who choose to remain separated from God will spend eternity in a place called Hell.Under FOUR STEPS TO RECEIVING JESUS There is a plaque for kids to fill out with the date and place of when they gave their lives to Jesus. Admit Believe Commit FollowIf the Price Waterhouse Coopers report into the Biblezine incident was incorrect, and the Surfers Bible has never been given out to students at Torquay College, please advise.Otherwise, we would appreciate a response to our email of 15th June.Yours Sincerely,Lara Wood Campaign Coordinator ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

Jayel WalunoGood grief, that's not a 'carrot and stick' approach, it's more like a 'saccharine and sledgehammer' method - that would probably terrify some kids!3 days ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolThese SURFERS BIBLES have been handed out to Grade 6 students at Torquay College for the past few years. Last Xmas, when they ran out of SURFERS BIBLES, "someone" made up the shortfall with Biblezines - which is when the shit hit the fan.3 days ago

Kay Clarke'God's presence in schools" no thank you. State schools are secular schools - or should be!!3 days ago

Lynette JoyI'm more baffled by her statement that they do not discriminate on the grounds of sexuality? Does this mean they could have LGBTQI chaplains as well? I somehow doubt this very much.3 days ago

Alison CourticeSo who would normally be given the Refuel 2 biblezine? High school kids I presume.3 days ago

Tom RottllerI would love to obtain the name of this volunteer and get their side of the story. Remember it is only their word we have if there was a volunteer sacked.3 days ago

Naja CarrollTom Rottlier, I wish the volunteer would come forward too. We had hoped that the PWC report would clarify the events but unfortunately the lawyers - presumably ACCESS lawyers - decided that it was not in the public interest for details to be made public.3 days ago

Naja CarrollLynette Joy the problem about the Minister approving a provider like ACCESS Ministries is that any time any kind of controversy erupts they take cover behind 'privacy concerns'. Without doubt ACCESS Ministries is the most secretive organisation that operates with ministerial approval. For example, when FIRIS first tried to establish the identity of the SRI provider at Torquay College they were told 'if the volunteer standing in the classroom is wearing an ACCESS Ministries name tag then they are an ACCESS Ministries approved volunteer'.3 days ago

Christine WorthingtonI didn't know about the Surfers Bible - there should have been an inquiry about these as well.3 days ago

Ross ClennettThe whole PWC enquiry was a waste of time and money. Why didn't senior staff at the DEECD conduct this enquiry? It's a joke.3 days ago

Naja CarrollMy opinion, for what's it's worth Ross Clennett, is that it was about outcomes. Not unlike the advice to trial lawyers that one 'never asks a question to which one does not know the answer' the driving criteria in the Biblezine case was not what is best, nor what was just - but that which would deliver an outcome most consistent with current Liberal policy.The crucial context here is that on 24th February 2014 Minister Dixon had stood shoulder to shoulder with Elida Brereton and Evonne Paddison at the opening of the government funded ACCESS Ministries training institute. There was no way Minister Dixon was going to rock the boat by allowing Departmental staff any where near the fiasco - they might actually do a decent job.You see, when you task a private company to conduct an inquiry you get to control the parameters of the investigation. In this case the PWC disclaimer scores 11 out of 10 on the ridiculous meter - the disclaimer on their Torquay College Incident Investigation report states "We did not seek to verify the accuracy or completeness of the information made available to us, nor did we conduct any procedures in the nature of an audit of the information".I for one do not think so little of our Department of Education that they would have put forward such a sub-standard report. But the minister clearly knows that you can get what you pay for. http://www.accessministries.org.au/about/amti-news/access-ministries-training-institute-is-open-for-business3 days ago

Ross ClennettI'm sure you are right, Naja. This leaves us with the rather bizarre situation of the Minister having too much faith in his own department to do a thorough job. He then hires outside consultants to deliver an enquiry with the 'right' amount of rigour which ensures the non-outcome he and AM wanted, was delivered.2 days ago

Lynette JoyYes Minister!2 days ago

Harry GordonI think it most likely that the volunteer who got the boot is a zealot who is happy to "take one for the team". Probably not to the extent of putting on an explosive vest but happy to be an expendable frontline soldier in the crusade for domination of the impressionable mind. We won't see them come forward in the spirit of openness and truth. But I'd love to be proven wrong…2 days ago

Christine WorthingtonIt's political enquiries rule 1: never conduct an enquiry unless you know what the outcome will be. Rule 2 is: adjust the parameters of the enquiry in accordance with rule 1.2 days ago

Tom RottllerIt sounds like the so called public enquiry was nothing but a farce, "window dressing" to standard plebs stating that they (the government) are there for them and in reality they simply pandered to the right wing religious people.After much disappointment with the two major parties, I will vote for the Sex party. Maybe they won't get a seat, maybe they will however we have seen stranger people get into parliament such as Ricky Muir from the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party.Remember what is important in voting is who you vote last as much as those whom you vote first.2 days ago

 

PLEASE NOTIFY US OF ANY RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES IN YOUR SCHOOL (LUNCHTIME GROUPS, BREAKFAST CLUBS, ETC)

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