Here is a fascinating insight into what is really taught in Scripture (SRE / RI classes) in Australian state schools. Joel Pittman, a former evangelical youth pastor explains how evangelicals have colonised this area, how they frighten your children into giving their lives to Christ and then encourage them to attend youth camps where they can be further indoctrinated.
We have known this is going on for years, but it’s absolutely fascinating to hear Joel talk about it so casually. Joel insists that the way he conducted Scripture classes is typical. This is borne out by an account from a friend of mine. She told me recently that her son – opted out of Scripture but made to sit outside the classroom – heard a friend ask the Scripture teacher if his parents would go to hell because they were divorced. The teacher answered bluntly, “Yes, they would,” and proceeded with a lecture about how ‘these people’ make a covenant under God and then are too lazy to make their marriage work. The child was in tears and my friends son was so horrified he came home and told her what he’d heard.
The video was taken at Skepticamp Sydney.
It’s interesting that someone notes that Scripture classes when WE were young were pretty benign. Joel notes that most of the money comes from the evangelical churches which are ‘cashed up’.
“You’ve got, like, churches groups like Hillsong that are taking $80-$90 million a year and are sending thousands of these people out …” says Joel.
The curriculum, says Joel is decided by the Scripture Board. But, while other moderate churches were involved, “They didn’t have the money – and whoever has the money, makes the rules,” he says.
Watch it and weep.
If this is of concern to you, please consider contacting or supporting the Australian Secular Lobby – email@example.com or, in Victoria, Fairness in Religion in Schools (FIRIS) – firstname.lastname@example.org .
You may also like to consider donating towards the legal fees for a second High Court Challenge against federal funding for the National School Chaplaincy program. An explanation of why another challenge is necessary, and some opinions from constitutional experts are linked to on the High Court Challenge website at http://www.highcourtchallenge.com . The chaplaincy challenge is being undertaken, once again, by Ron Williams who is risking his family’s financial future by taking this on. It’s estimated that the cost of this second challenge will approach $400,000. It’s a staggering sum, but even small contributions are useful if enough people chip in. Details of how to donate are in the right hand side bar at the High Court Challenge website.