Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Removing the 'faith' from faith-based schools

By Terry Harding - posted Monday, 3 July 2023

Modern Australians have always had a choice about what type of education they could set before their children. Parents could choose either a faith-based education or a secular, state-based education.

However, today the state is seeking to remove the faith from faith-based education, thus removing that parental choice.

The recent recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Committee (ALRC) concerning faith-based schools has targeted a destructive attack on those schools. In recommending the removal of faith-based schools’ ability to hire faith-based staff, it will remove the faith from faith-based schools in Australia.


This extraction of faith from faith-based schools will turn those schools into state-based schools. There will be no difference between the sort of education in the faith-depleted, faith-based schools and that of state schools.

Why would the state seek to do this? One wonders whether the state is worried about the growing popularity of the faith-based schooling sector?

The teachers and staff of faith-based schools embody the essence of their schools. They emulate the philosophy, beliefs and practices of their faith in their schools. They live by its teachings, they pass on the treasures of their faith in their words and by their lives. They are the living embodiment of the faith they teach.

It is impossible to have a faith-based school without faith-based teachers.

More than 40% of Australian parents with school-aged children choose a faith-based, value-laden form of pedagogy. They pay for this education with fees, just as they also pay for and supply food and shelter for their own children. These parents want a faith-based, value-laden education for their children. They aspire to an education that will teach right from wrong and why it is right and why it is wrong.

These parents believe that there is a “higher authority” to whom they owe their allegiance and from whom they derive the values of right and wrong. They deem the “higher authority” to be a higher authority than the state. Almighty God is that “higher authority”. He is sovereignly way higher than the individuals who operate the powerful levers of the state. It is this “higher authority” who has given us our life and to whom we all must give account.


Parents who do not want a faith-based education for their children get that option in bucketloads by means of the nation’s plethora of taxpayer-funded state schools.

Whilst all Australians live in accordance with the lawful requirements of the state, we understand that since the days of Magna Carta, that the state has its limits. There are places in our lives where the state should never invade.

The state has its legitimate sphere of influence in the civic arena to uphold the rule of law and to protect society from evil. Similarly, the family also has its legitimate sphere of influence in the private familial arena for the raising and the nurturing of children. The family is the setting for teaching children the spiritual and social virtues, and the difference between good and evil.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

This article was first published in The Educator.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

18 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Terry has taught in Christian schools for 15 years. He has been a principal of 5 Christian schools and has managed both Christian home schooling and distance education.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Terry Harding
Article Tools
Comment 18 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy