Opting out of religion only way in to ethics class

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PARENTS will not be told of the availability of ethics classes in their school until after they have opted out of special religious education, or scripture, under changes to be adopted by the state government.


A government-initiated parliamentary inquiry into ethics classes advocated the approach in April, angering supporters who claimed it was designed to impede their take-up in schools.

The Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, confirmed on Tuesday that ethics classes will be retained in NSW schools but said the government would introduce the new system. This means parents will be first offered a place in scripture classes and only told about ethics in a follow-up letter if they opt out.

The Greens MP John Kaye described the change as ”a massive road block” to parents being informed of ethics classes.

”The government will now force schools to hide the existence of ethics classes,” he said.

Dr Kaye accused the government of agreeing to the recommendation to keep its ”deal” with the Christian Democrat MP Reverend Fred Nile, whose party shares the balance of power in the upper house.

”Nothing in the Education Act requires this level of discrimination against the ethics classes and their providers,” he said.

”This is simply the O’Farrell government delivering on a deal with the Christian Democrats for their vote in the upper house.”

Written By: Sean Nicholls
continue to source article at smh.com.au

24 COMMENTS

  1. I’m an American (aka “Citizen of the United States of America” for those that get persnickety about that useful vernacular). I am amazed to see something this ridiculous in a “First World” country that is not the good ol’ USA. They say that misery loves company, but I assure you I wish we were alone in this nonsense.

  2. I wonder if the publicity in Oz will make more parents aware of the existence of these ethics classes, and to have their kids attend, all they have to do is opt out.    I guess a simple call to your school, asking if they have ethics classes for those who opt out, should reveal all.  There is no such thing as bad publicity, they say…..

  3. Mr Nile welcomed Mr Piccoli’s announcement. ”It’s appropriate that the main policy emphasis is on scripture classes,” he said. ”Ethics is an alternative. We don’t want to confuse people.”

    Why is scripture appropriate and ethics not? Would not telling parents that ethics is an alternative remove confusion? What is the argument against ethics? This is pure thuggery and thugs need thugging.

  4. How do they plan to enforce the secrecy of ethics club. I wonder if the first rule of ethics club is “you do not talk about ethics clubs?” But seriously  are they going to ban parents talking about it, what about the kids? Can the kids talk about it and tell their friends. All it will take is one kid to tell their parents and pretty soon everyone will know. The Policy makes no sense as it can’t be enforced at all. 

  5. The decision not to inform parents unless they opt out is a strange and nefarious-sounding one. I think there should be no religious education in state schools whatsoever, unless it is comparative, but if there is, why should parents/guardians be given this bizarre choice between religion and ethics, subjects that aren’t even comparable? 

    More to the point, shouldn’t all children take secular ethics classes? The system runs a serious risk of leaving the children whose parents opt for religious education far behind in their ability to reason.

  6. @OP:disqus  The Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, confirmed on Tuesday that ethics
    classes will be retained in NSW schools but said the government would
    introduce the new system. This means parents will be first offered a
    place in scripture classes and only told about ethics in a follow-up
    letter if they opt out.

    I am sure that some local paper in its reports or letters from readers, can make a feature of this at the appropriate time when the letters are going out.

    “Do you want your children indoctrinated in a religion, or taught to understand ethical behaviour?” – sounds like a fairly basic question.

    It does seem to make the scripture classes the default for those too dumb to think about it, or respond to letters. – That would look like a sheeple selection process to me!

    I would suggest to any parents who object to this, to write letters of enquiry, (and encourage others to do so), generating lots of administrative work, as this may encourage the dummies to send out two letters at once.  It must be cheaper and more efficient to put two letters in one envelope, or combine the notification of options in one letter.

    Once ethics classes are established in a school, the word should spread.

    There are likely to be some who wish to opt out of both!  In the UK Jehova’s Witnesses usually opt out of religious instruction classes, so I would expect them to object to other people teaching their children ethics – or any religion but their own!

  7. The decision not to inform parents unless they opt out is a strange and nefarious-sounding one. …

    However, it’s not an entirely surprising move.  It’s always been an uphill battle to even get secular ethics offered as an alternative to RE.  This is just the latest road block.

    (At one point, when non-christian organisations were permitted to provide RE instructors to schools, secular humanism was legally defined as ‘not a religion’).

  8.  You’ve done it. You have defined the tagline for the public campaign sponsored by RDFRS to teach parents in New Zealand about their options on this matter.

    Some billboard headlines:

    Reject scripture, teach your child ethics instead

    “To learn ethics you must reject scripture”
    Adrian Piccoli, Education Minister

    chooseethics.com (domain appears available)

    If they won’t tell parents, we will and they’re not going to like. Not sure what they can do, the idiots wrote it themselves, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

  9. I had the following letter published in the Newcastle Herald (NSW Australia) today……

    IT would appear that Barry O’Farrell has decided to treat the 40per cent of public school parents who aren’t Christian in NSW with absolute contempt.

    The latest news from the O’Farrell theocracy is that parents of public school children will not be informed of the availability of ethics classes in schools until after they have made the decision to ‘‘opt out’’ of Christian scripture classes.

    What is it that Fred Nile and his cohorts in Parliament are so afraid of? Is it possible that children and their parents may willingly choose secular ethics over religious indoctrination? Heaven forbid.

  10. I love it when christians themselves decide that it is religion OR ethics, you can’t have both. Then because their god is so weak and powerless they have to make the ethics classes secret. This decision can only be because they know anyone intelligent would choose the ethics. They know they have lost the argument. Fantastic.

  11. CdnMacAtheist
    Politicians underhandedly make ethics education a secret – proving why ethics education for students is so necessary.

    It’s like science and followers of pseudo-science. 
    Ethics is a  subject neglected in the politicians’ own education, so they don’t see the need for it, and certainly don’t want children spotting their ignorance. 

    It could also explain their underhanded methods!

  12. Ah, the age old conflict of religion and politics facing off over ethics. The problem of course, is that they both know nothing of human ethics. Our children would be lost to ignorance and mental slavery under their tutelage. Honesty and integrity are the basis of ethical behaviour while, religion and politics are totally devoid of both.

  13. SomeDude,
    Ethics does not exist in the Politically Christian Republican views of America. Obama is stymied from helping the needy and taxing the greedy due to their mindless arrogance. America needs the nonsense of ethics as do the rest of humanity.

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