The Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA) has rejected claims by Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, that secular ethics classes in schools are an attack on religion. The Archbishop urged NSW Premier Kristina Keneally to scrap the program following the conclusion of a preliminary trial.
AFA President David Nicholls said Mr Jensen was missing the point.
“Secular ethics are about including everybody and asking how we can make the world a better place. They are not an attack on religion – far from it,” Nicholls said.
“Secular values – such as honesty, integrity, respect for humanity and the environment – can be appreciated regardless of one’s religion or lack thereof. That’s the beauty of them.”
“You don’t need ‘God’ to be good, and no religion has a monopoly on morals.”
Nicholls said Peter Jensen’s own religio-moral views provided a “questionable” basis for public ethics education.
“Archbishop Jensen, throughout his career, has demonstrated peculiar attitudes towards woman and gays. It would be a shame if schools only taught values which reflect his own narrow religious views,” Nicholls said.
Nicholls said that Australia, as a secular multicultural democracy, must respect the separation of church and state.
Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc
Phone (08) 8835 2269
Email: [email protected]