No one believes that it is OK for a parachurch to conduct Ministry in our state schools. Yet, if anyone in the media or government, or for that matter the Department of Education care to look, it is plain to see that this is what is happening.
It is kind of like you go on holiday, come back and in your house is a family who you don’t know, just living there as if everything is normal and instead of calling the police, you just shrugged and asked if they were able to find everything OK?
How did the “Council for Christian Education in State Schools” (The C.C.E.S.S) become a full blown ministry led by the leaders of Australia’s major evangelical organizations? I’d like to know.
It is undeniably clear that the story involves the Howard administration and the installation of the current CEO, Evonne Paddison. What isn’t so clear however is why the DEECD didn’t question the whole re-branding and expansion of the organization. The DEECD and the C.C.E.S.S. are organizations which operate under contract with each other, but what no one has been willing to explain to us is just what the contract contains and what it is for. This is a job for an investigative journalist. No one that we’ve spoken with has been willing to explain what the government pays ACCESS Ministry to do.
One of the key points of this discussion is that ACCESS Ministry is exactly what it says it is: “A Christian Ministry”. As the AGE editorial wrote on Good Friday:
This newspaper agrees that the present system must be scrapped: it is not the role of a secular education system in a pluralist democracy to proselytise for any particular faith, or to facilitate proselytising by others. Yet that is effectively what now happens. It is partly a consequence of the Education Department’s bizarre reading of the Education Act, which construes ”may provide special religious instruction” to mean ”must provide …”, and partly because pupils are not required to opt in to such instruction but rather are permitted to opt out. But mostly it is because the chief provider of special religious instruction, Access Ministries, regards its task as the imparting of faith, and in order to do so relies on teaching of untrained volunteers who consciously set out to proselytise.
These are amazing claims! Here you have the editorial board of a major paper in Melbourne stating plainly that the DEECD not only has a law set up to force schools to conduct a church ministry, but it also FUNDS THEM!
Think about this for a minute! How in the hell did we get here? How does anyone at the “Child Wellbeing” division sleep at night?
If anyone can help me understand how a “Council for Education” transforms itself into a Parachurch Ministry, declares its open intention to use the schools as sources of “ministry”, and begins churning out cartoon books and “graphic novels” that are clearly “propaganda” and have nothing to do with “Christian Education” … and no one says a peep about this … we’d really like to hear from you.
Currently the man directly responsible for the defense of this indefensible nonsense is:
03 9637 2000
33 St Andrews Place