School Chaplaincy

 

Hello,

As I await a decision in my High Court challenge—many, many thanks for being one of the wonderful people responsible for helping me meet over one-third of my legal expenses to date.

Following are some developments subsequent to my August hearing in Canberra with accompanying links.

Everything in the public domain relating to my case (including the unpredicted, extensive, expensive post-case submission volleys) can be found here:

http://www.hcourt.gov.au/cases/case-s307/2010

You may be aware that on September 7, 2011, Peter Garrett announced a ‘born-again’ National School Chaplaincy Program—the NSCSWP—to include what he termed at the time, ‘secular student welfare workers’, as well as chaplains. Although the wily use of the word ‘secular’ had a soothing effect upon a naïve media at the time, the eventual release of the NSCSWP guidelines revealed a program allowing far more blatant ‘religiosity’ than John Howard’s NSCP model of 2006.

The NSCSWP moved from high farce to even higher tragedy in early November 2011 when Peter Garrett’s department, DEEWR, began releasing the first national lists of ‘potential’ suppliers of student welfare workers (‘secular’ having now disappeared from use) which included ACCESS Ministries, Christians Helping in Schools (CHIPS) and Youth for Christ. ‘Expressions of interest’ to supply chaplains and student welfare workers closed at 5pm on Friday December 16, 2011.

Appalled, I produced a fifteen-minute exposé, ‘Why Julia Gillard’s Born-Again NSCP is a Shameful Sham’, with a view to attracting some media attention to what can only be described as a con job:

http://vimeo.com/32709171

An update to Sham was released on December 1 via SPEL (Secular Public Education Lobby) News:

http://vimeo.com/32901272

Sham is a sequel to ‘Mr 97% Porkie Goes to Parliament’ which I produced in January 2010 prior to the establishment of my High Court proceedings:

http://youtu.be/JzoW_aTO0nk

So far, these disgraceful circumstances have only received coverage in the SMH on December 6:

http://www.smh.com.au/national/christian-group-ready-for-bigger-chaplaincy-role-20111205-1ofji.html

It’s interesting—although predictable if not encouraging—that the parachurch suppliers of chaplains and student welfare workers are seeking a contingency arrangement from DEEWR should my challenge be successful:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/funding-fears-for-school-chaplains-20111201-1o95x.html

I recently attended an address by Mungo MacCallum. While reflecting upon his long career in journalism, Mungo said that he couldn’t remember Australian political circumstances stranger than those of today. I’m certain that Mungo is correct.

Meanwhile, I wait for ‘that’ phone call from my solicitor—while maintaining the calm optimism present across the late afternoon of August 11, 2011.

Thanks Again,

Ron


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This is an update on the challenge to the High Court challenge on School Chaplains.  I thought some might be interested.  The author has given me permission to put the email on site.

4 comments on “School Chaplaincy

  1. When I was growing up in this country I was taught that discussing religion and politics in public was rude, and that NOT discusing them meant the place could continue to function smoothly without people being offended by a casual ignorant remark. Those who insisted on bringing those subjects up in public were obviously troublemakers (before unAustralian, troublemaker was just the worst thing a person could be).

    It seemed sensible and lots of people I loved and admired believed it and told me it was true, but nevertheless, light always gets through the cracks, and having more cracks than most it took me a while but eventually the sunlight filtered through and I realised that far from protecting our sensibilities, a blanket social stricture on discission of politics and religion was a very handy tool to enable those in power to just do whatever they wanted without challenge.

    And what a fine example this whole business of school chaplains is. Of course Parliament seems to attract the religiously inclined in far greater numbers than the general population might suggest, especially the devout kind with a mission. Fair enough, ideals of service and all that. If only it stopped their. Unfortunately, it seems many can’t wait to help he rest of us to appreciate the beauty of the thing they love, even those of us who’ve had a chance and said thanks but no thanks.

    IIntroduced by a devoutly Protestant Howardand supported by a church going Catholic Rudd, with such strong support among their Parliamentary colleagues that even allegedly-atheist-but-nevertheless-appreciative -of-the-sheeple-building-and-fundraising-qualities-of-religious-orthodoxy Gillard has not seen fit to dump it, the chaplaincy programme just continues to suck federal money and attention from real education. The choice of Garrett to lead the charge was inspired really, a fundamentalist christian zealousy organising a counselling and support programme for impressionable children which has areligious-persons-can-be-employed option ~ hard to imagine which way he’ll jump, really.

    Garrett, after his caning over pink batt spending has got a free pass with this one. No matter how much it costs, the god-botherers in the house will simply nod and smile and feel certain chaplains would never try to do the wrong thing. After all, it’s a well known fact people of faith can be trusted with little children. Isn’t it?

    Good luck in getting this poison out of our schools, and our society. And having seen the videos you’ve created and uploaded, and shared them via FB and email, can I please say to Ron ~ keep talking in public, these are messages we NEED to hear.

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