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SRI opponents denying kids their cultural heritage

By Rob Ward - posted Wednesday, 4 May 2011

It is unclear what damage to children 100 years of voluntary Special Religious Instruction in Victoria’s schools has caused.

But an action by three parents in that bastion of political correctness, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, has sparked a flurry of articles in The Age by militant secularists and atheists seeking to expunge Christianity from the classroom.

Many of the critics of SRI seem to assume Christianity to be a dangerous toxin from which children must be protected.


One of the parents, Sophie Aitkin, appeared on ABC 7:30 recently criticising SRI without declaring her association with the Humanist Society of Victoria’s efforts to produce its own curriculum for schools.

But even Prime Minister Julia Gillard, an atheist from the left of the ALP, acknowledges the truth that one cannot understand Western literature without understanding the Bible.

Despite her religious upbringing requiring her to memorise vast swathes of Christian Scripture, she was still able to think for herself, form a view that there is no God and yet still appreciate Australia’s and Western Civilisation’s cultural heritage.

Not content with their choice to remove their kids from SRI, militant atheists seem hell-bent on ensuring everyone else’s kids are blocked from exposure to Christianity in the fear that they may not come to the same conclusion Gillard did.

With Christianity all but written out of the new national curriculum, what’s wrong with accredited volunteers teaching kids a few Bible stories and telling them about Jesus?

Only the most churlish deny that Jesus was a good man whose teachings offer us much. No credible historian doubts his historicity.


Despite some notable blemishes, Christianity has been an overwhelming force for good.

Other nations’ religions have given them a very different cultural heritage to that of Australia and Australian kids should at least have an understanding of the dominant religious narrative that underpins theirs’.

It is a simple fact that culture derives from who or what a society values most. The militant atheists want their historical amnesia about the formation of Western values to be passed to the next generation and the best way to do this is to deny kids understanding of our religious roots.

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About the Author

Rob Ward is ACL’s Victorian Director. He was one of several speakers at March for the Babies.

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