The Director of the Center for Public Christianity took time away from the center’s usual activity of barracking for the bible to comment on the most recent stench being made by Christianist political characature, Fred Nile. The wonder aloud if Nile has the answer.
There are a lot of good ideas here, it would be especially good if Simon Smart realized just how prevalent the use of intimidation and bullying is to keep SRI running the way the Parachurches want it to run.
Simon, if you want to win respect and have people like you and feel that your ideals match up with your actions, then waiting for Fred Nile to make a fool of himself to decry religious bullying makes you seem more like a spin doctor than a person of actual convictions.
Children and families across Victoria are being bullied by a state funded parachurch EVERY WEEK in here in Victoria … what has your “center” thus far said about this? NOTHING.
Fred Nile may have embarassed you, but if you really believe what you say here:
… Christianity’s viability in the public sphere has to rely on coercion rather than persuasion, manipulation rather than commendation. But it’s an insecure and fearful faith that feels the need to block another’s view from gaining a public airing. Christianity, if it is true, ought to be robust enough to stand up to scrutiny, criticism, and competition, even persecution. It always has. In fact, it’s usually done far better from a position outside the power structures than from within them. The Christian message need not be promoted by bully tactics and coercion. Indeed, it must not be.
You will acknowledge that the entire SRI system in Victoria is built on a coercive, legally backed demand, that requires schools to host you, and demands that the program is run on an OPT OUT basis, which means that I have to declare that I object if I don’t want my child to be instructed in religion by a volunteer with 6 hours training!
This system is so pathetic, that YOU should be leading the charge for reform, after all “public Christianity” is your job, and this is Christianity done, via state legislation by hacks and quacks. If you think Nile is a problem, there are a 130K kids in Victoria who are convinced that Christianity is a deeply un serious cartoon book by year 6. You want to tackle a “public image problem”? Tackle that one.
It would be pathetically easy to switch this around and invite people to join you, rather than gill than gill net our children and invite them to free themselves from the net that ACCESS spun. It would also be easy for ACCESS to tell the government that they want either their legislation or their funding … but that isn’t going to happen … it is?
You are merely protesting out of self interest (Nile is doing damage to your brand) … if you’d like to put your words into action, please email us at email@example.com
We’d be happy to count the “Center for Public Christianity” among those who’ve endorsed our aims.
I won’t hold my breath, apparently it has to be a disaster with a smoking PR disaster, before “Public Christians” jump in to wonder what the best way to go about things is