A birth certificate without gender. A confirmation certificate without religion. A competency certificate for sexual consent. All will be revealed in episode 172.
Bible Lessons are back on the agenda in Victoria
Religious instruction classes will be reintroduced into the Victorian state school curriculum if the Coalition wins next month’s election.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy made the announcement at an Australian Christian Lobby pre-election forum on the weekend.
“A government I lead will bring back religious instruction in schools because it’s very important,” Mr Guy told the crowd at Crossway Baptist Church in Burwood East.
He also reiterated his party’s promise to abolish the contentious Safe Schools program and said he was not ashamed to say he was a Christian.
Here is a great article in The Age from Nicola Philp:
I’m all for religious education, just not Matthew Guy’s version.
Firstly, when RE classes run, a teacher has to be in the room to supervise the volunteers who provide the instruction. This is an unreasonable time and cost impost on the school. Secondly, the rules also state that the rest of the students who are opting out are not allowed to be learning anything new, because the children in the RE classes might miss out. Meanwhile, the government then lambasts teachers for falling numeracy/literacy/science standards at the same time. And finally, and probably most importantly, many government schools feel uncomfortable with the singling out of one religion over another and giving it precedence.
On Twitter, Milly Majich made a very astute observation: “Why is it that the people who calmly misrepresent ‘Religious Instruction’ as being ‘Religious Education’ are the same ones who hysterically misrepresent ‘Sex Education’ as being ‘Sex Instruction’?” This observation says much about the way the religious think, about how disingenuous they are, and also about their obsession with sex.
Secular Confirmation Ceremonies
The Icelandic civil confirmation program consists of an 11-week educational program and ceremony for teenagers aged 13-14.
Civil confirmation is a secular alternative to religious confirmation. The Icelandic civil confirmation program consists of an 11-week educational program and ceremony for teenagers aged 13-14.
At the end of the course, there is a festive cultural and musical ceremony where some of the kids perform by giving speeches, reading poetry, playing instruments, singing, dancing, doing stand-up or a sketch. In addition, a prominent member of Icelandic society gives a speech about what makes life meaningful, the importance of being honest and true to one’s values, and the right to be different. At the end of the one-hour ceremony, each teenager receives a diploma rolled up like a scroll and tied with a colourful ribbon. The English translation of the text on the diplomas is:
Civil confirmation (year)
It is hereby confirmed that (name of individual)
has completed the Sidmennt civil confirmation course.
It is our hope that you will use the instruction and guidance that you have received to be a broad-minded person of great integrity. Welcome into the society of adulthood with all the responsibilities that go with it.
Some of the topics covered during the 11-week course are:
- critical thinking
- human relations
- human rights
- media literacy
- what it means to be an adult and take responsibility for your opinions and behavior
- being a teenager in a consumer society
- relations with parents
- prejudice and multiculturalism
- substance abuse
- the meaning of life
- respecting the environment
University refuses to release exam results until students complete a sexual ‘consent’ training course.
13:15 A University in Sydney is forcing students to undergo a sexual consent training course in order to view their exam results.
The University of Technology Sydney reportedly issued students a notice that said, “Want your results? Complete Consent Matters training in order to see your session results.”
The University website says:
Consent Matters is an online training consisting of four modules and a quiz that every single staff and student will complete once during their time at UTS.
Some people find it difficult to talk about sex openly, and not everyone feels comfortable being direct, assertive or explicit. Consent Matters ensures that all members of our community have a shared understanding of consent and can help if they see unacceptable behaviour.
This training is one part of our program to reduce unwanted sexual behaviour and encourage healthy relationships
Do We Need Gender on Birth Certificates?
Freedom For Faith In Brisbane
You are invited to this critical Freedom for Faith briefing.
A Night for Briefing, Questions and Prayer.
This is a free event where Michael Kellehanfrom Freedom for Faith will brief you on the latest developments following the Ruddock review.
Queensland Theological College
369 Boundary Street
Spring Hill, QLD 4000
An Austrian woman was convicted for calling Mohammed a paedophile.
27:39 The European Court of Human Rights says an Austrian woman’s conviction for calling the prophet of Islam a paedophile didn’t breach her freedom of speech.
The Strasbourg-based ECHR ruled Thursday that Austrian courts had “carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected.”
The woman in her late 40s, identified only as E.S., claimed during two public seminars in 2009 that the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to a young girl was akin to “pedophilia.” A Vienna court convicted her in 2011 of disparaging religious doctrines, ordering her to pay a 480-euro ($547) fine, plus costs. The ruling was later upheld by an Austrian appeals court.
The ECHR said the Austrian court’s decision “served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace.”
From Kenan Malik –
We live in sorry times if hurt feelings have now become a matter for the lawmakers … In criminalising the giving of offence, religious belief itself may face the censor’s cut. Muslims, in particular, should beware … Once hurt feelings become a matter for the law, religious rights themselves become precarious. In 2006, after the publication of the Danish cartoons, the Muslim Council of Britain’s Iqbal Sacranie made derogatory comments about homosexuality on Radio 4’s Today programme. Some gays were offended; the police investigated.
The day after the ECHR ruling, Ireland held a referendum on its blasphemy law. Exit polls suggest overwhelming support for scrapping the constitutional ban. This is in keeping with European trends – Britain abolished its blasphemy law in 2008 – but while blasphemy laws are disappearing, the idea of “the blasphemous” is not.
In 1977, in Britain’s last blasphemy trial, Mary Whitehouse brought a private prosecution against Gay News for publishing James Kirkup’s poem The Love That Dares to Speak its Name, which describes a centurion’s love for, and sex with, Jesus. Whitehouse won the case. When Gay News appealed, the law lords upheld the verdict. In his judgment, Lord Scarman wrote that blasphemy laws “safeguard the internal tranquillity of the kingdom”, adding that one needed “not only to respect the differing religious beliefs, feelings and practices of all but also to protect them from scurrility, ridicule and contempt”.
Old-style blasphemy laws have given way to new legislation against hate speech and constraints on the giving of offence. Ireland’s repudiation of blasphemy and the ECHR’s opposition to the disparagement of religion may be two sides of the same shift.
Malik got a warning from Twitter Legal for retweeting an innocuous “Jesus and Mo” cartoon.
A New Human Rights Act for Qld
35:05 Legal abortion in Qld – surprisingly little media. I guess the counselling from Archbishop Coleridge didn’t help. Maybe a new Human Rights Act will slip through. It will probably be similar to Victoria’s.
It Could be Worse. Check out What Brazil Has Done.
Jews for Jesus
At a campaign stop in Michigan this week, Vice President Mike Pence condemned anti-Semitism and the deadly massacre at Pittsburgh synagogue and asked “a leader in the Jewish community
” to offer a prayer for the victims and the country.
As he began his prayer, it became immediately clear that the rabbi, Loren Jacobs of Congregation Shema Yisrael in suburban Detroit, would not be considered a Jew by any of the four major denominations of Judaism. In his prayer, he mentioned the “saving power” of the Lord and concluded, “In the name of Jesus, amen.”
Rabbi Jacobs believes that Jesus is the Messiah, a conviction that is theologically incompatible with Judaism. Some Jews believe that the movement the rabbi represents, Messianic Judaism, is not only antithetical to Judaism but also hostile to their religion because its goal is to persuade Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah and by doing so convert Jewish people to Christianity.
Sinead O’Connor has converted to Islam, changed her name
The Irish performer, known for her song Nothing Compares 2U, released the news via Twitter and revealed she is now called Shuhada’ Davitt.
The 51-year-old said: “This is to announce that I am proud to have become a Muslim. This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey.
“All scripture study leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant. I will be given (another) new name. It will be Shuhada’.”
The Grattan Institute on School Performance
Well, if your decision is centred around academic results, it really doesn’t matter, according to the Grattan Institute.
“There’s actually very little difference amongst different school sectors; government, independent, or Catholic,” Mr Goss said.
“In our analysis, when you look at achievement levels, the socioeconomic background of the students is about twice as important as anything associated with the school.”
47:56 Deep Throat describes the homeschooling experience.
Anglicans Behaving Badly
The Sydney Anglican Synod on Monday night (22nd October) voted in favour of a policy that will prevent same-sex marriages, parties or events that might advocate “expressions of human sexuality contrary to our doctrine of marriage” on about a thousand church-owned properties.
The policy will apply to all future leases to tenants on church property, all parishes, church halls, Anglican schools, counselling services nursing homes and Anglican corporations, and all members of the boards of those bodies will be expected to uphold a “Christian ethos” that hews to a traditional view of marriage and sexuality.
In the face of strong opposition to the proposed policy over the weekend, several amendments were made and the mover of the bill, Bishop Michael Stead, apologised to Indigenous Australians for failing to properly consult with them on smoking ceremonies, to LGBTQI people for failing to spell out that different points of view could still be aired, and to transgender people who “heard they were not welcome in our churches”.
Cathy Sherry, an associate professor at the University of New South Wales and an expert on strata and community title, said the diocese’s new policy raised a series of difficult questions.
She said all property owners — including churches — should be able to refuse to lease their property to people who are promoting views with which they strongly disagree, but that it was “hard to know where to draw the line”.
“Anti-discrimination legislation generally draws that line well,” Dr Sherry told ABC News.
“For example, it says that no matter how strongly you believe that people should not have inter-faith, inter-racial or same-sex marriages, you are not entitled to refuse them goods and services, including wedding cakes or hall hire.
“Churches, mosques and synagogues should have some exemptions, but whether that includes all their properties is not clear.”
It was crucial, Dr Sherry added, to remember land is both finite and essential.
“If there is only one hall in a country town, and people are excluded from holding a yoga class or celebrating a same-sex marriage in it because of church rules, they will struggle to live their lives as they want to,” she said.
“It’s a cliche, but we need to be aware of the slippery slope. If all property owners only leased land to people whose views accorded with their own, social and economic activity would be seriously curtailed.
“If religious institutions have large land holdings — and they are large in sectors like retirement villages — these rules could have a real and detrimental impact.”
The principal of Barker College, Phillip Heath, said he was relieved to hear the proposal had been shelved on Sunday. His independent Anglican school holds several smoking ceremonies every year.
The ban had come “out of the blue”, he said, and he had been “shocked, distressed and mystified” by it.
“I was not aware there was anything pagan about them, quite the opposite. It’s becoming a common practice in Anglican schools,” Mr Heath said of smoking ceremonies.
“The ban would have been an “unloving gesture from us, particularly when a number of us are trying very hard to reach out to Aboriginal folk and learn from their vivid spirituality about the land, creation and who we are.
“God was not asleep before Captain Cook and Arthur Phillip, or before Christian theology, that’s absurd. So I for one listen intently to the way of seeing the world that Aboriginal people bring to my consciousness and that sits comfortably in where I sit as a Christian.”