Ok, so I know someone who has a horse. The horse is about two metres tall. That my friends, is a high horse, and I am about to get on it!!
Recently, Tony Abbott stated that all public schools should have a religion class because without the teachings of Christianity, they were not getting a complete education.
Julia Gillard has recently announced that she is an Athiest and does not believe in God, however, the Labor Government will provide a chaplain service for all public schools. Julia has been slaughtered via the media by the Anglican Church for stating her views, she has been told it will lose her votes and may cost her the election.
I sincerely hope that the general public do not vote according to people's personal belief systems and are a lot more open minded than that.
I have a pretty strong opinion on this one. I truly believe that without education, people become ignorant, cruel, intolerant and close-minded. All schools should teach religion as part of the curriculum so that children have a wider view of their world. This class should not be a stand alone topic, it should be part of social studies. It should include ALL religions and give students a view of their fellow pupils that we did not have as kids. Understanding other religions and where they originated, their main focus, the book they derive their beliefs from, the language they use and the rituals involved would give kids a much larger capacity to engage their peers in discussions, create empathy and stop the questions regarding celebrations (or lack thereof).
It should include Catholic, Anglican, Adventist, Buddism, Hinduism, Islam, Scientology, Mormons etc...and the sub religions should also be covered. In later years they should be taught the religious beliefs that may affect them directly. Which religion is tolerant of gay couples? Which believes abortion is the womans right to choose? Which believes that there is no place called hell, it is merely a lack of God? Which believes that there are many Gods? All of these questions should be answered in school. These should be taught in a purely educational way, without bias or passion.
Tolerance is not something we are born with, it is learned. The best way to learn is to be given all of the information regarding the topic, not just the Christian views. We live in a society filled with people from all different religions and right now, intolerance has never been higher. In my own family there are 7 Day Adventists, Catholics and Agnostics (or Darwinists). It took me a long time to get my head around the fact that I can't plan anything between sunset Friday and Sunset Saturday (Sabbath) if I wanted my Grandparents or cousins to come. They do not eat meat, so dinner parties have to provide for that, and we can't go to many of the pubs for a meal as they are mostly steak houses and that is useless to them. They can't be baptised until they are older, it must be a personal choice and cannot be made by your parents for you. The Bible is the same. The teachings are very similar to Catholic teachings but in so many areas, they differ.
Buddism is another religion we have had a lot to do with. As a child I was a flower girl at a same sex wedding with the celebrant being a monk. The wedding was not legal (more's the pity) but the ceremony was a beautiful one filled with ritual, song and a joy I can't really describe.
I would have loved to find out more about these religions. More about why some come to my front door with pamphlets, why some adorn themselves with robes, veils, henna, dots, why some are bald, why some don't celebrate birthdays. What they eat, drink, say, do, and believe. I want to know all about my neighbours customs and I would love for my children to learn about them too.
My daughter attends a Catholic School. This was more out of necessity than want. We argued long and hard about this decision as both my husband and I are Agnostic, but in the end it was an easy choice. The more she learns, the more tolerant, loving and open-minded she will be. This is what we would choose for our children and provided the information is given in a dispassionate and educational way, there is surely no harm in it.