Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Faith-based schools

Rikk Watts has a fine letter in today's Age, answering a complaint about faith-based schools referred to yesterday.

THE Federal Government is deeply concerned about faith-based schools ("Faith school boom creates division", The Age, 25/2). And why? Because they do not believe in evolution.

Dear me, how could their students ever become good citizens, responsible parents, capable doctors and helpful shop assistants, or design homes, plan their budgets, get their children to school and write computer programs?

The very idea that life might have a purpose and humans are not merely accidents wandering towards extinction is obviously a profound threat to our collective social cohesion and self-image.

It gets worse: they actually believe (as have, and do, large sections of humanity for millenniums) that in the long run it's healthier for a marriage not to engage in premarital sex.

One could add to this frightful list that these schools often have lower levels of violence, better classroom control, more parent input, and also teach such patently divisive attitudes as showing respect for those with whom you disagree, and loving your neighbour and even your enemy.

Normally, as an expatriate teaching overseas, I'm proud to be Australian. But this is a deeply embarrassing throwback to the Big Brother, Orwellian mentality of the old dyed-in-the-wool, lock-step leftists.

Welcome to the new, improved, non-faith-based Inquisition.

Rikk Watts, Vancouver, Canada

It was the lead letter. Rikk's an interesting man, a lecturer in New Testament at Regent College, Vancouver. I heard him speak for the charismatic Christian group at Melbourne Uni in the '90s, and it was good to hear a man from a different theological perspective working hard at the detail of the text of Acts.

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