An AFA Committee member, who has been concerned by the access granted to Christian Options in the Area School in his district, alerted us to the attempt by the Schools Ministry Group (SMG) to appoint a chaplain in this school.

Our approach to the Principal has not resulted in the hoped-for response so we must try other avenues.

In an article sent to the local weekly newspaper for the area, we have presented our arguments against chaplaincy and also written to the State Minister of Education.

In the absence of legal advice it appears that the State Government could well be in breach of the laws in regard to discrimination and human rights.

Children in State schools should not be exploited by religious groups and organisations. A secular education system should aim to impart factual information to encourage children to think, to question, to examine differing viewpoints and, if need be, to reject the primitive concepts of their ignorant parents and forebears.

Religious belief in the supernatural, of a universe existing for only 7000 years, of Adam, Eve, Noah and the slavery of the Hebrews in Egypt, has no part in preparing a child for life in this century.

We can no longer stand aside While children are brainwashed into believing in virgin birth, restoration of life to dead and decaying humans and into belief in demons, ghosts, angels, cherubims, unicorns or persons rising visibly to ‘heaven’.

Nor can we be blameless if we allow children to be taught that believing in a Jesus of the gospels guarantees eternal bliss in a never-ending ‘heaven’ of the imagination.

Our children need to be told that they are responsible for their own actions and that guilt and punishment for immoral behaviour cannot be offloaded to an innocent scapegoat. They should be told that ethics are determined by society, not by ancient writings of ignorant men or undemocratic organisations sponging on society for their own benefit.

With religious wars and confrontation so obvious today children should be made aware of the terrible history of religion and accept that the Age of Reason has dawned and belief systems have no valid place in the world now or in the future. Men and women are equal in rights. Women are not men’s chattels.

The only way to solve the problems that our earth is now facing is for people to have factual information and to apply the necessary solution to meet the criteria of scientific research.

To this end the Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc has submitted an appraisal of the Draft Education and Children’s Services Bill, whereby we hope that religious indoctrination of children in State schools will no longer be permitted and that that time will be given to the basic aims of the education of children in the secular schools.

By Keith S Cornish