Public schools in secular Australia have religious education, or scripture, classes. NB: That would be Christian scripture. Children of godless atheists, children of Jewish people, children of Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus get to kick their heels doing nothing, or may get a supervised class elsewhere, if they’re lucky. So the St James Ethics Centre has developed a set of secular ethics lessons which could be offered as a viable alternative to scripture classes for children who parents do not want them to attend classes in Christian scripture. The classes will be trialled in New South Wales this year, but predictably, some Christians think the sky will fall. Apparently, you can’t teach ethics without referring to Christianity. Mindy has written about that nonsensical claim at Hoyden about Town: Values are not exclusively Christian.
But some Christians can’t help meddling. The Anglican Archbishop of New South Wales has inserted himself into the trial, even though he refused to meet with representatives from the St James Ethics Centre. Apparently even just teaching secular ethics in schools will put scripture classes in grave danger of being canceled, and that amounts to being mean to Christians.
”Be warned: if the government allows this course to continue after the trial, it will jeopardise religious education in public schools,” Dr Jensen wrote in the Anglican newspaper Southern Cross. ”Without such a religious component, public schools will cease to be inclusive of all children.”
So it’s okay to run scripture classes that exclude atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and other non-Christian faiths, but it’s not okay to offer an alternative alongside Christian scripture, because that would exclude Christians.
Can anyone explain that thinking to me?