Quick Hit – on Ethics classes.

Parents with kids in NSW State Primary Schools will know by now that Fred Nile and Premier Barry O’Farrell are discussing doing away with hard won Ethics classes. This fantastic article is from an 11 year old talking about why he wants the classes to stay.

The facts show that only 33 per cent of the world is Christian, and in NSW a quarter of children choose not to attend lessons on theological scripture. I think it is possible to be non-religious and a good person.

By all means, Mr Nile, you go out and be as Christian as you want; I respect that entirely. But that does not give you and your supporters the right to attempt to shape a future generation of adults in your mould – that is a religious conservative.

Parenting – your doin it rite. [yes grammar pedants that was deliberate]

Categories: education, ethics & philosophy, media, parenting, parties and factions, religion, social justice, work and family

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9 replies

  1. Thanks for the link, Mindy. That column is totally made of win.

  2. I see Fred Nile has dropped the “so valuable it should be in the mainstream curriculum” version of the anti-ethics class argument and reverted to “intellectually bankrupt” with a dash of “actively evil”: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/godless-ethics-led-to-nazism–nile-20110805-1iepq.html

  3. Oh, what a vile, vile man.
    I will maintain my policy of not voting for the NSW libs/nats as long as they pander to him. I doubt they care about me – but I do wonder how many other people feel the same (and who might sometimes vote for the NSW Lib/Nat coalition otherwise).

  4. The bit that makes me giggle about Nile claiming to be like Socrates – quite aside from situating himself, rather than those who proposed the ethics classes, as “question[ing] the majority world view; to question what youth were being taught” – is that Socrates’ official crime came down to ”not believing in the gods of the state”. Of course I giggle and then curse and stomp my foot and wonder why people are so easily misled, but still. There’s a giggle in there I thought worth sharing….!

  5. Good catch, WildlyP – I hadn’t picked up on that one at all.

  6. So now I’m in a fix – 8yr old thinks he might believe in God and his scripture classes are only 45 mins once a term. So he’s not losing 1/2 an hour a week, and he likes going to the classes. Do I pull him out to be lonely in the library or let him go and make up his own mind?

  7. @Mindy – I would let him make up his own mind, but I think it could be a really nice opportunity to open a discussion about different belief systems and the cultural reasons why his school teaches Christian stuff rather than Hindu or atheist or whatever. It’s likely talking to you about it would change his mind anyway (without you pushing him to).
    Pull him out if it makes you really uncomfortable though, or if you think it’s developmentally inappropriate for him at this stage.

    • I’m with Alien Tea, re letting him make up his own mind, but having discussions about the social reasons why he’s only learning about one religion.
      In the end everybody has to make up their own mind, and giving kids the space to explore these ideas with some guided dialogue but without disparagement/recriminations is probably setting the best example that you can.

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