In a way it is sad that we have to celebrate every time thoughtful religious leaders openly agree that the system of SRI in Victoria is broken, it should be too common to even mention, but for now at least it is gratifying to see the latest public comment from this quarter. Remember, we are still being told by ACCESS Ministry and others who run confessional religious instruction in state schools, such as Jude Hennessy, Director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for the Diocese of Wollongong that, “It would appear once again, that some elements in the media and amongst the secular atheist- humanist brigade are eager to have everyone accept that the words “secular” and “atheistic” mean the same thing.
Which is to say that they think if they just accuse anyone who is against the system of being anti religion that they can win this argument … they can’t and they won’t.
So here is a link to a blog by Peter Sherlock is the Dean of the United Faculty of Theology in the Melbourne College of Divinity. Which makes an informed and religious argument for change.
For the first time since the rancorous debates of the 1860s and 1870s over the very introduction of compulsory education, in fact, for the first time in the history of this state, there is a growing community consensus for the provision of non-sectarian, multi-faith religious education in Victorian schools. I am broad-minded enough to hope such a curriculum might actually include the study of secularism, athiesm and the rejection of religious belief as a significant part of our history and society.
We are either going to get change because of the arguments that Peter makes that times have changed that the existing model isn’t working and we SHOULD do better, or we are going to get change because FIRIS parents continue to make life a living hell for the DEECD and essential prove that what we’ve been saying since the campaign launch that we are not going to back down and we are not going to go away until this wretched system is changed.
Frankly FIRIS doesn’t care what reasons are given for the changes – as long as what occurs is in line with the principles that we’ve articulated in our aims.
So it is great to see another very respected theologian stand up for change … welcome to FIRIS Peter, we agree:
But let us not hang on to the past and the ways which have become ingrained, and in so doing, fail to grasp the extraordinary opportunity we now have.
Now, if only the small faction who are threatening the politicians would listen to you we’d get somewhere.