While the folks at Primary Ethics mean well, they have agreed to a set of terms which put ethics on the same level as religion, and require the extension and enlargement of an absurd and totally unworkable and divisive system – a situation like this can and only will lead to more conflict – as the Saturday SMH ably showed:
Here we see that the “Scripture” program is a political football that is being used as a proxy fight in a culture kampf being waged on society by Evangelical Activists.
It is interesting to note also the schism between the Evangelical “NSW Council of Churches” and ICCORIES –
ICCORIES, who were actively campaigning AGAINST “Ethics Classes” are now working to insure that Ethics Classes are conducted exactly as they currently have been constructed, as an alternative to be taught strictly by volunteers on identical terms to “Scripture”. Nile and his Culture Kampf allies on the Evangelical Right are no longer going to try to destroy “ethics” they will just harass, review and hobble it.
The fact is that the idea that you can run a shadow curriculum like this, with volunteers and actually deliver the program to children is absurd.
What übermench, Simon Longstaff, arrived at after 10 years of being über polite and über conciliatory working toward is a “Bell the Cat” solution. Though it is a great idea to put a bell on the cat, mice can not put a bell on a cat – so it is a solution that just won’t work. It is great in “theory”, but we don’t live in theory.
The ICCORIES group now realizes that they can use their support for Ethics Classes to prevent anyone from applying a stink test to the use of schools for the advancement of religion in a Secular Democratic society (like ours).
ICCORIES are not content to have freedom of religion, what they want is “state support for religion” … as we see now with their effort to establish an annual ”celebration of special religious education”. (and you can bet there will be a bill for the party!!)
Most of all though because of the terms that the ICCORIES negotiated before they were for Ethics Classes, they can avoid ever having to explain why teaching religion on confessional grounds in a pluralistic democratic society should be done at all.
This system was a bad compromise in the 1880’s when there were Protestants and Catholics, it is an even worse compromise today, when Australia is a nation made up of every religion and race.
We can not segregate 5 year old children by creed and we can’t possibly drum up 10,000 people to teach “ethics” … nor should we. This is a core function of our schools, and should be at the heart of the educational mission itself.
What we are doing now is teaching kids how to be “unethical” by our example.