On Sunday night, FIRIS parents were invited, via FACEBOOK, to join a radio broadcast out of Frankston by host Jerome Brown.
The show can be heard here:
The show also claims to host the Liberal Member for Frankston, Geoff Shaw, and claims to be a conduit for reaching him with questions. Shaw was not present on this broadcast.
Before you click on the show link, a warning, only the very dedicated listener is going to be able to make it though the whole hour. Brown uses his hour as a prelude to an announcement at 46:50 that he does not think there should be SRI in Schools – that families should not only be trusted to attend to the religious formation of their children – but speaking as a Christian it is wrong to go after young children and try to trick them into being Christians. To which we say, BAM! and advise Jerome, you will be hearing from ACCESS Ministries very, very soon.
Brown says that the only way to be Christian is to understand and profess, knowingly, the Christian faith. He says that trying to get little children who can’t understand the profession of faith, to believe in a watered down, child contextualised bible, is harmful (I’m paraphrasing here).
Brown is not alone in making this case against what ACCESS Ministries are doing, nor is it even modestly anti Christian to argue for secular teaching “about religion” and personal engagement with a Church, that exists outside of the authority of the Minister of Education. Brown touches on why this is, and why, from a Christian perspective, the Gospel requires Christians to do what ACCESS swears they don’t do – namely proselytise. He says it is wrong NOT TO. The vicar at St. Mary’s Anglican Parish (inner urban) – Craig D’Alton, said the same thing.
Recall however, that ACCESS says opposition to SRI is from a small group of people they call “Secularists” – news flash – “secularism” is not “anti-Christian” the separation of church from state – is and remains a project endorsed by Jesus. The so called “foundations” of our society – are “secularist” – Australia rejected a “state church” and made religion not only a free choice, but one which was intentionally pluralist and put into the hands of its citizens. The idea that you can go on the radio, state your religious opinions (as Jerome Brown does) – is because religion is not subject to “ministerial authority” – in the way ACCESS Ministries insists it must be.
The truth is that opposition to SRI is from a big and diverse group – but the big group is not effectively organized and is therefore frozen out of the cozy self dealing that ACCESS enjoys with its exclusive ACCESS.
Brown’s call for the removal of SRI is emphatic, and unequivocal, he clearly says, SRI should be removed from the schools, and that religion should be taught in a more generic fashion. He says that religion should be taught within the context of “history and understanding the world around us”.
So, while I can’t give Brown high marks for taking up 45min of my morning to hear him get to the point … in the segment which starts at 46:50 – Brown says that after thinking about this subject for months, he has come to a conclusion that more or less is a paraphrase of the FIRIS statement of aims.
So, Jerome, welcome to FIRIS!
Our question to you to pass onto the Liberal Member for Frankston, will the Liberal Party also endorse the aims of FIRIS?
FIRIS has parents from Mulsim, Hindu, Sikh, and Jewish families … and now we can proudly report – is also supported by a vocal Evangelical Christian who lives in Frankston, there are also non religious families who support FIRIS.
If anyone can determine for us if ACCESS Ministries considers Frankston, “inner-urban” Melbourne, please indicate its status in the ACCESS hierarchy of people who matter.
Jerome, if you could email us your address we’ll get your FIRIS bumpersticker in the mail – Tout de suite.
Thanks for your endorsement …