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Yes, we do need to talk about the spurious nonsense being taught to children in our schools

By James Moylan

This week the Liberal Senator for South Australia, Cory Bernadi, told SKY News that the Safe Schools Project is actually aimed at ‘intimidating and bullying kids into conforming to what is the homosexual agenda’. He was also worried the program might be used to ‘indoctrinate children into a Marxist agenda of cultural relativism’. George Christensen, the Liberal member for Dawson, talked at length about chest binding and penis tucking before going on to propose that the Safe Schools program might be engaged in ‘grooming’ in much the same way as a paedophile might groom a potential victim. All in all it was an arresting and profoundly disturbing display.

Prime Minister Turnbull was quick to act. He immediately commissioned a review into the $8 million Safe Schools program. For the jaded amongst us it seemed the obvious thing to do. Then of course the Australian Christian Lobby, which had already called for this ‘radical’ program to be axed, at once began applauding this further limiting of the ‘rainbow agenda’. They also encouraged all good Christians to immediately email their MP and complain about ‘teaching kids gay and lesbian techniques’.

Way back here on planet earth the rest of us were scratching our heads and feeling vaguely icky about the whole debate. Most commentators said nothing. Those that did just generally noted in a desultory way that our joint comprehension of the interactions between language, money, politics, and social institutions had moved way beyond this sort of ill-informed ranting. There were a couple of essays about how silly the Marxist cultural relativism argument now sounds when voiced in a modern setting, but not much else. It was all rather half-hearted really. I thought the response would be far more strident. After all, the whole thing made me want to puke.

Perhaps it’s all too big a target? I mean: Where do you begin? Why is it even necessary in this day and age to have to address such a chasm of ignorance? So reticence is understandable. Why bother? After all, to even adequately address all the different ways in which these individuals are detached from reality would be to expend lots and lots of hard work for little gain. None of these guys would even listen. We all know that. No matter how much evidence is presented to these individuals; they will all remain wilfully ignorant. They will remain joyfully and wantonly ignorant. Also they will be proud of their ignorance. Which is understandable as their ignorance and hubris is of black-hole like proportions. Any unwanted information that ever goes near any of them will simply not survive. It disappears below their belief horizon never to be seen again. And just like a black hole it is also apparent that these Christian evangelicals never illuminate any debate but rather simply hover nearby and assert a gross and distorting influence that is way out of proportion to their actual size.

It becomes immediately apparent when you listen to Senator Bernadi, the ACL, and other Christian evangelicals, that they either dropped through a crack in the space-time continuum that leads back to 1979 or they jointly missed the whole of modernism, post-modernism, the development of structural analysis and semiotics, feminism, gender theory, the whole of the 80’s, the whole of the 90’s, the sexual revolution, Political Theory 101, and any instruction in good manners. Moreover they all seem to have a creepy obsession with other people’s dangly bits.

The good news is that the younger generation seems to think that this whole argument is simply crazy. It took me three attempts just to explain to my nineteen year old daughter what George Christensen was talking about. After outlining the content of the Safe Schools program in much the same general terms he used I added that the program had then been accused of furthering the gay and lesbian political rights agenda. At first my daughter entirely failed to understand what the critique was. Her immediate response was that ‘the political rights of gay, lesbian, and transgender students are important. And so?’

I then had to explain that Mr Christensen thought that being gay was ‘unnatural’ and that it was wrong to teach kids that they had rights regarding their upbringing, gender, sexual identity, political ideology, and/or about the protections that are available to them under the law. For a moment she couldn’t quite grasp what I was saying. But when she did she just shrugged it away with the comment that: ‘He’s a religious nutter. So why is anyone listening to a religious nutter?’

My daughter was right. It made me angry that I had to be schooled by a nineteen year old. Simple intolerance is at the root of this whole problem. It has nothing to do with the Safe Schools program and everything to do with a small segment of our population who are unnaturally preoccupied with the sex lives of our children. It is a sick and arcane preoccupation being voiced by some of the most deluded people in our society. So why are we still listening to these religious nutters? Why do we adults all look away and cringe rather than protesting that George Christensen sounds like a creepy backwoods preacher and Cory Bernadi like an ill-educated country hick! My daughter is right! We should be laughing at these people rather than listening to them. And this is a golden opportunity to jointly point our fingers at these ill-educated religious thugs and laugh them right out of the public square.

These right wing dinosaurs seem to have forgotten momentarily that they only survive by dint of their camouflage. They look quite handsome and conservative when they loiter in the background but as soon as they walk onto centre stage and begin to speak everyone’s jaw drops in unison. They simply do not belong in the modern world. Not only do they believe a load of tripe. It is bigoted and hateful tripe. Not only do they deserve a good laughing at, they should also be run out of town on a rail.

This is because the tripe and nonsense that Christians teach our children inflicts endless suffering and humiliation before these developing minds gain the emotional wherewithal to understand that they are being conned. How many little children will fall asleep tonight in tears because some religious bully has convinced them that they are full of sin? All for no reason at all except to appease an imaginary friend that nobody except for the most deluded amongst us believes to exist. Blood sacrifice and original sin? Isn’t that a little bit middle ages?

And how can anyone associated with a Christian church still believe that they have any moral authority when they want to talk about sexual matters in the public square? The idea of leaving a young person in the care of a priest has now descended into the realm of black humour. Yet it is apparent that the religious right wing still has the hubris to accuse the mainstream of Australian society of being perverse. Even while they are enmeshed in endless sexual scandals. Even while they continue to squander a quarter of a billion dollars of public money each year on proselytising to our children despite being told it is unconstitutional. Then to top it off they have the hide to describe an anti-bullying campaign as being ungodly. It makes me want to swear in a most ungodly fashion.

These are the same people who continue to teach vulnerable children that they are damned to spend the rest of eternity in hell unless they bow down to a particular imaginary friend. They teach our kids that they are naturally and intrinsically broken and can only be healed if they lap up the spiritual snake-oil that is on offer. So, yes. I do agree that we need to stop funding the teaching of dangerous and degrading drivel in our schools. We should immediately commence by dropping all public funding for ‘religious instruction’. In the twenty-first century why do we still allow zealots to teach about blood-sacrifice and ‘miracles’, personal salvation, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ into heaven in classrooms across Australia? Why do we allow our government to continue funding this waste of money? This is a genuine scandal rather than an invented one. The High Court and public opinion both say that this is unacceptable yet still these religious nutters continue to abuse our children

The real crime is not the Safe Schools Program but rather our public funding of the teaching of Bronze Age beliefs in our schools. No imaginary friend is worth the anguish of a child. No Aussie child should be taught to fear god and hate their own body. Australia is a secular country and religious instruction has no place in our educational system. It is time to stop appeasing this backward and ignorant subsection of our community and banish these ignorant beliefs from both our public school system and from the parliaments of our land.

 

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  1. Jaq

    Could not agree more. Only 3% of the population go to church, and yet their head honchos run the agenda for ALL OF US.
    Trouble is they are in Labor too.

  2. Michael Taylor

    Fabulous read, James.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Religion is the corporatised version of the ‘church’.

    If the church was people coming together to do good deeds, promote tolerance, and support those in need, then who could be against that?

    But somewhere along the line, men realised the power they could exert by threatening unseen punishment and the wealth they could accumulate by empahsising the need for ‘worship’ of some mythical deity. Like political parties, they developed individual ideologies that demanded allegiance from followers. WE chant THIS way.

    It is time the church reminded itself and its corporate overlords of its true purpose.

  4. keerti

    The safe schools program should be extended into a true social studies program (perhaps aided by compulsory adult ed. program) where the population is taught the difference between fact and superstition. Properly setup such a program would remove the scurge of religion and it’s blood sucking, perverted “clergy” with it’s ridiculous assertions Along with that there would go any ridicullous assertions that christian values, mohomaden values and any others claiming ownership of universal human values. For those wanting spiritual growth, which is what religion is supposed to be about, perhaps Zen Buddhism ( a melding of science and spirtuality with no belief structures)

  5. stephengb2014

    Yes time we started to belly laugh at these rediculous people in the frocks and silly hats.
    Its time we stopped all funding of religious education facilities.
    Its unbelievable that we would fund $250m of public money to allow religious nut cases to enter schools under the pretext of a spiritual counselling service.

  6. Miriam English

    Loud applause from me James. I could not agree more.
    The blast against the Safe Schools program is clear evidence that we need to end religion in school. NOW.
    It is an utter perversion of intelligence.

  7. Kaye Lee

    Since Turnbull announced the review of the Safe Schools program another 32 schools have joined up. The more people like Christensen, Bernardi and Shelton spew their hatred, the more people are openly distancing themselves including church leaders. They are the example of exactly why we need this program.

  8. OzHike

    When are we going to have a safe churches program?

  9. Miriam English

    Kaye, that is wonderful news.

  10. Miriam English

    OzHike, I doubt we will ever have a Safe Churches program. It seems like hate is the only thing keeping the church active these days, though they don’t realise it is also killing the church. The hate is alienating people from the church, but when they adopt secular values people wonder what’s the point of having a church. They are losing either way… but they’re going out fighting and causing as much damage as they can on the way.

  11. LOVO

    One wonders when Cory will come out of the closet, he seems to protest too much. 😉

  12. Kaye Lee

    A few years ago, the theme for HSC English was ‘Belonging’. Novels, plays, poetry, photographs, essays, biographies….all were chosen and critiqued from the perspective of belonging. Both of my children wrote some very moving, insightful stuff. Our children’s minds should be encouraged to explore how to make the world a better safer place for all. They should be taught empathy and an emotional security that is not threatened by diversity. Archaic fables meant to build power structures should be regarded as history rather than a blueprint for modern society.

  13. Andrew.

    I was with you till you said the imaginary friend bit. Not all theists see deity in the way these dicks do.

  14. townsvilleblog

    Just one thing: George Christensen is a Queensland MP and as such he is LNP, I understand it is difficult to separate both the Liberals from the Nationals, but this drongo sits in the parliament with the National Party.

  15. townsvilleblog

    I can’t say that I am fully tolerant either especially tolerating ignorant tories and their opinions. Children are born straight, gay, brown hair, blonde hair, every individual is different, because billy two dicks from Mackay thinks that they are somehow evil beings because their sexuality is different to himself (imagine the sight of George naked in bed) is buried in the delusion of the assembly of god cult we received from the USA in other letters ACL. It’s a parasitic cult that charges each individual (they used to and I can’t think of them changing it) 10% of his/her income to belong to the cult, which makes ‘the leaders’ very wealthy. My intolerance is against genuine threats to Australia and its multiculture culture and certainly not with school children who are sexually challenged.

  16. Miriam English

    Andrew, I think James really meant those people you refer to as “dicks”, not the more moderate ones with vaguer notions of spirituality. I think even those who revere “Mother Nature” as some kind of amorphous spiritual network are wrong, but I’d never bother to argue with them as the damage they do is minimal. There are some Christians who do believe in Jesus and a Biblical god, but are yet good people worthy of respect who wish no ill for anyone. For example, I have the greatest admiration for Sister Joan Chittister — a Catholic Benedictine nun — even though her non-corporeal god is still a kind of imaginary friend, but she works hard to undo damage by the hard-right gay-bashers and other intolerant minds inside and outside the church. (I modeled the nun in “honesty”, chapter 9 of my story Prescription and the nun in “hunt”, chapter 6 of my story “flying” on her. In the latter I even made the nun’s surname an anagram of “Chittister”.)

  17. Miriam English

    When are we going to have a Satanist go in to a school to tout Satanism to the students? It is actually a real thing and is a very peaceful belief system, similar to Wicca. I’d love it if someone did that. Can you imagine how hysterical the Christian extremists would get! But any argument they attempted to use to exclude the Satanists would rebound on them. They would be arguing for their own exclusion. It would be brilliant. 😀

    Hmmm… maybe I can convince one of my Wiccan friends to do it. They are a pretty timid and inoffensive lot though.

  18. Peter F

    Ozhike & Miriam: the Uniting church is a ‘safe church’, and welcomes all to it’s services every time it meets.

    Meanwhile, for those who would like some idea of why this Safe School program is needed, google “Jack Andraka’ and learn how we almost lost a brilliant mind through school bullying.

  19. diannaart

    These right-wing evangelistic Christian nutters, do indeed have a long way to go, after all their starting point is that the earth was created by an invisible being 6000 years ago – maybe they’ll catch up by 2126?

  20. guest

    It is of concern that some religious people have been shown to have ignored child molesting in religious institutions in the past – and now want nothing to be done about some bullying in schools. How can they consider some kinds of bullying to be averted and not others?

    Another problem is the notion that parents can deal with bullying themselves in the comfort of their own homes. The cry is that the Safe Schools program is governmental intrusion and treats parents as if they are stupid.

    That the Safe Schools education against bullying should be delivered on campus, where bullying occurs, is rejected because it includes mention of LGBTI students.They say that schools are already dealing with bullying without mentioning LBGTI students. The fear is that students will be brainwashed into LGBTI attitudes – a revelation that people like Bernardi have no idea about the nature of sexuality, hence his strange ideas about a slippery slope to bestiality.

    And we must suspect that some of these people who sound off about education have no idea of what education is about. Will they be telling us next that a study of ‘Macbeth’ is teaching students how to murder the school’s Principal? Or that ‘Animal Farm’ is an insult to pig farmers?

  21. margcal

    I’m with Andrew in being turned off by references to imaginary friends. Non-believers should (and some do) present excellent arguments against the existence of God. Talk of imaginary friends simply displays ignorance, intolerance or bigotry.
    In fact, agnosticism is the only rational position. Neither the existence nor the non-existence of God (or Allah or whatever, depending on the faith system people adhere to) can be proved.
    Organised religion has enough faults that must be criticised. But there are so many “good works” that Christians do that it would be (and is, where it is happening) foolish to try to stamp them out. Better to eradicate the all too horrible flaws than demolish the whole lot.

    That said, in the 50s and 60s I had what I believe was a typical Irish Catholic education (Sisters of Charity) – with no government funding until my last couple of years at school, I might add. Sex basically didn’t exist. Sex Ed was one lesson, sex was for marriage, later came Humanae Vitae which, rather than cementing the Church’s position, made most Catholics ignore contraception. It was a very ignorant education but on the other hand, because it was mentioned so little, there was nothing that highlighted differences. I have no doubt at all that it was very different in boys schools (or mixed schools) but in my girls school, although some girls were lesbians of course, lesbianism was a non-issue, it basically didn’t exist in terms of how people were treated.

    It has seemed to me over the (uneducated) years that many men, of religious persuasion or not, have been possessed by a degree of homophobia. I don’t know if this has some genesis in pissing competitions or “mine’s bigger than yours” competitions but they can’t help. Not to say women aren’t homophobic, just much less so, in my experience.
    The RWNJ religionists peddle their own perversions and have certainly added fuel to the fire of latent homophobic tendencies. That the ACL ever got into schools was a travesty. If people want their children to have a religious education they can go to religious schools, Sunday School, or be taught at home.

  22. Salstarat

    I want to know how our children and grandchildren can be protected from the frothing-at-the-mouth lunatic fringe of the ultra right wing bible bashing members of Abbott’s Flat Earth Society? Over-zealous Christian fundamentalists like Cory Bernardi, Eric Abetz, Michaela Cash, George Christensen, Kevin Andrews and the unspeakably regressive hypocrite, Phony Abbott, are as crazy as cut snakes and clearly fell out of the Stupid Tree and hit every branch on the way down. Sadly, the LNP are OVERFLOWING with these type of people whose whole world came to a screeching halt back in 1965 and they haven’t been able to progress an inch since then. Their reprehensible misogynistic and homophobic stance is such a pathetic ingrained part of their persona, it is genuinely part of their DNA! Australians everywhere MUST wake up and learn that these backward, parochial, sanctimonious hypocrites will NEVER change!

    The Bible Thumping Bureaucrats in the LNP have the staggering AUDACITY to stand in judgement of anyone and everyone yet are corrupt to their black souls … they are as mad as cut snakes, bad to the bone and extremely dangerous. Whilst these Born Again Psychopaths carry on relentless ramped-up terror campaigns filled with xenophobic hatred, division and vilification, whilst they continue to lie and lie and lie, cheat, rort taxpayers of every available cent in phony accommodation and travel charges, break every promise they have ever made, target the most vulnerable people in the country, condone and encourage the most savage, brutal inhumanity against innocent and totally vulnerable asylum seekers (turning the other way whilst little children are being raped and traumatised), these same pseudo “Christians” (who in reality, have NOT got a Christian, compassionate bone in their body) haven’t got one iota of compassion for anyone or anything but their own relentless and thoroughly depraved self entitlement yet make sweeping judgements against LGBT community and, of course, women who are often the subject of their regressive, authoritarian and blatant tyranny. Obviously there is ONE passage in the bible that these lunatics have overlooked: JUDGE AND YOU WILL BE JUDGED …. their shameful vilification of the LGBT community is a nauseating disgrace!

  23. Miriam English

    Margcal, it is true that there is no way to be certain that a god doesn’t exist. I wrote a short play, “Grace”, illustrating how a god actually could exist in a rational, secular universe. To be honest though, the likelihood is vanishingly small. As for all the gods of the world’s religions, there is actually pretty conclusive evidence against them. Religions basically disprove themselves. They can’t help but be wrong, as you’d expect from primitive superstition.

    So, yes, in an absolute sense agnosticism is the sensible stand, but agnosticism is not just a single thing. It is a sliding scale. The truly rational position is on the very far end of that scale, a hair’s breadth from full atheism… which is, for all practical purposes, atheism. It is merely not dogmatic atheism.

  24. Max Gross

    One really struggles to comprehend what goes on in the torrid little minds of Bernardi, Christensen other other creepy NLP weirdos. ‘…the whole thing made me want to puke,’ says James. Well, that’s how I feel about the NLP as a whole (or is it a hole? Damn, now they’re doing it to me!)

  25. JeffJL

    @Kaye. How about ‘Church is the corporatised version of religion.’ I think that is more correct.

  26. Zathras

    The purpose of the programme is to instill tolerance and to respect the rights of others.

    Religion is the antithesis of tolerance and is based entirely on The Self.

    Ultimately it’s only your own salvation you’re striving for – nobody elses – and it’s also non-negotiable and non-transferable.
    “Good Works” are simply the means to that end and “membership has its privileges”.

    The longer each religion lasts, the more it splinters and divides into sub-groups – like political parties – and both generate their own types of crazed zealots.

    Perhaps if they transferred that $250million from the School Chaplain Programme to addressing social issues things would improve.

  27. Fool2242

    Cory, Cultural Relativism was not coined until 5 years after Marx’s Death.
    Cultural relativism is the principle that an individual person’s beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that individual’s own culture.

    It was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century and later popularized by his students. Boas first articulated the idea in 1887: “…civilization is not something absolute, but … is relative, and … our ideas and conceptions are true only so far as our civilization goes.”[1] However, Boas did not coin the term.

    The first use of the term recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary was by philosopher and social theorist Alain Locke in 1924 to describe Robert Lowie’s “extreme cultural relativism”, found in the latter’s 1917 book Culture and Ethnology.[2] The term became common among anthropologists after Boas’ death in 1942, to express their synthesis of a number of ideas Boas had developed. Boas believed that the sweep of cultures, to be found in connection with any sub species, is so vast and pervasive that there cannot be a relationship between cultures and races.[3] Cultural relativism involves specific epistemological and methodological claims. Whether or not these claims necessitate a specific ethical stance is a matter of debate. This principle should not be confused with moral relativism.

  28. herring

    Why is it still so awkward in our society to proudly say “I’m an atheist”?

  29. Miriam English

    herring (love the name and the implied “red”), I don’t have any difficulty telling people I’m atheist. It isn’t usually the first thing I say, but after they’ve come to know my motives for things (love of knowledge, maximising good, helping people) then I take great pleasure letting them know I’m atheist. If they are strongly religious it often shocks them because many religious people are indoctrinated to believe that atheists are grouchy, bitter, self-interested, materialist scrooges. They often wonderingly ask how I can be atheist when my attitudes are so spiritual. I then explain why my thinking is not spiritual, but is purely logical:

    You can divide the universe’s matter into simple matter, and self-reproducing matter. That is, non-living and living. Life is simply the ability of molecular systems to make copies of themselves. The meaning of life — its purpose — is life; it is its own purpose. Life reproduces; that is its function, its definition, its purpose, its meaning. Some life has developed brains in order to assist in their survival. This adds another purpose: to learn. Some life forms social groups to further improve their chances of survival, which adds another purpose: to look after their fellows. We humans are social, but we have such highly developed brains we can see that the definition of “our fellows” extends beyond the family, beyond the tribe, the village, city, even beyond our entire species. We are able to see that all life on Earth uses pretty-much the same template and we are all related, but more than that, we are interdependent. So in us, the social imperative comes full circle to the mast basic drive of life — it leads us to see the need to enhance life generally.

    This means it is most logical to enhance all life around us, and learn as much as we can.

    If they start to talk about spirits and souls and such things I point out, as pleasantly and gently as I can, that it is easy to disprove the existence of a soul, and without a soul all religion collapses. But rather than rattle on too long now (as is my unfortunate tendency) if anybody wants that disproof I’ll provide it then.

  30. Kaye Lee

    JeffJL,

    To me the church is the people. It is an old word for “assembly”. Religion is the problem.

  31. JeffJL

    Kaye.

    Oh good, semantics.

    Religion: the ​belief in and ​worship of a ​god or ​gods, or any such ​system of ​belief and ​worship. (Oxford online dictionary)

    Church: an ​official ​Christian ​religious ​organization. (ibid)

    I view the worship of Gaia as a religion. I don’t see that as a problem. Nor do I see Buddhism as a problem yet there are the radical Buddists in Thailand who are violent. So, as I see it, the local group/organisation is the problem not the religion.

    Perhaps somebody could come up with better words for the structures we are talking about as I agree with you that the corporatising of religion/church etc is a problem.

    To me the Church is the organisation/corporatising of the Christian religion. It can be both good and bad.

  32. jimhaz

    [One wonders when Cory will come out of the closet, he seems to protest too much]

    Even if he isn’t gay, he has put his brain away in the closet and forgotten about it a long time ago.

  33. jimhaz

    Intrinsic herd behaviour is the main problem as it allows predators to pick and choose.

    The main difference between secular countries and Islamic countries is a decrease in adherence to tradition in the secular countries due to technology improving the range of information available to people. This results in a less naive population in which religious lies and inconsistencies have less weight.

    I would think in 50 years time folks will be saying “the Internet Killed the Religious Stars”.

    Herd behaviour is here to stay for the foreseeable future, but has morphed into different forms. As such a high percentage of the population looks to authoritarian leaders, those predators will find avenues within these other forms to do what they do – use others for their own egos sake. It is probably when the far right nutters seem to be increasingly turning to politics over religion as a career path.

  34. Zathras

    JefJL,
    “Church: an ​official ​Christian ​religious ​organization. (ibid)?”

    That’s news to the Church of Scientology, the Church of the Subgenius, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and many others with that status – even the “broad Church of the Liberal Party”.

    To be called a Church, all you need is a deity, an agreed set of beliefs and a hierarchical organisational structure – any organised religion qualifies. (Except Buddhism which it is an organised set of beliefs that does not include a deity.)

    Getting government recognition for tax-free status is another issue, but a Church is just a Church and (unlike the word Pagan) is not a soley Christian term.

  35. CommonA

    As a Christian, I have lived with bullying in a state school all my life. As a parent I accepted that a secular school is going to try to convince my children that I am a fool, and that my friend in the sky is imaginary. I swallowed the line that Christians shouldn’t share what we believe to be true; while I’m supposed to accept all sorts of things as normal or moral. I follow that while the Bible is a vital source of our heritage, laws and shared values, that secular people might object to the relevant parts being related to our students by people who actually understand and believe it; dismissing it as myths, while demanding that the Aboriginal “Dream Time” be included because of its “heritage value”. No problem.

    What I object to, is that my impressionable children will be given doubts as to who or what they are, then told to experiment to find out. Sexual encounters are meaningful, and have a big impact on your life, such things should not be treated so flippantly. All addictions start from someone being introduced to something that makes them feel better at the time, even if they feel worse afterwards. This is a social modification program, and I don’t think you will like the results any more than I will. And yes, such “advice” is akin to grooming in my opinion, and has nothing to do with accepting that people are different.

  36. Miriam English

    JeffJL, worship of Gaia has some nice aspects, but could easily turn into a problem when we find that there is no fully self-regulating system for the Earth. The Gaia devotees could disbelieve the evidence, preferring to believe Gaia will fix herself up, even if it means getting rid of the bothersome humans. Unfortunately if there is no proper self-regulating system it could all go very badly out of control and we could end up with a place like Venus — a dead planet. In that respect belief in Gaia could retard action to save life on Earth, doing great harm.

    All superstition, especially religion, is a matter of purporting to know stuff you don’t really know. That is intrinsically dangerous.

  37. jimhaz

    The only reason scientology is treated as religious is that the other mainstream religions, particularly the evangelical based ones, don’t want the taxation light shined on them. Scientology is clearly a money making enterprise and nothing more (other than a titbit of tainted psychology). It really disgusts me how they turn a blind eye as a result of self-interest.

  38. Kaye Lee

    CommonA,

    My family is a mixture of religious and not. None of us have ever been bullied for our belief or lack thereof. I am sorry for your experience. Had there been a safe schools program at your school then your peers may have been more tolerant of diversity and less likely to dismiss you or bully you just because they didn’t share your beliefs.

  39. Miriam English

    CommonA, it is regrettable that you were bullied for your religion when you were a schoolkid. If the Safe Schools program had been in your school when you were young then you would have been protected.

    I seriously doubt that anybody would dismiss Christianity as a myth then think of Aboriginal “Dream Time” as anything more than yet another quaint myth. That you are annoyed at it getting any kind of equal time is a little disturbing.

    The Safe Schools program doesn’t encourage kids to experiment sexually; it protects kids from being bullied. Yes, sexual encounters are very meaningful, and you are completely correct that they should not be treated lightly. They should also not be cause for calling impressionable kids sick or twisted if they’re gay or bi, or physically ambiguous, potentially scarring them for life.

    The only social modification involved in the Safe Schools program is to lessen the terrible toll of bullying by teaching kids to accept those who are different from them. That’s it. That’s all. Nothing beyond that. To think there is more is to subscribe to paranoid conspiracy theories. Truly.

    Gay people don’t change their sexual orientation, just as straight people don’t, and bisexual people don’t ever seem to narrow to just one. I have personal experience in this matter. I used to think I would find a husband and settle down in a marriage. I’ve tried on some occasions to have boyfriends, but it just doesn’t work. They don’t repel me; there is simply no spark. On the other hand I have fallen deeply, deeply for women. I have had only a few relationships (I’m very monogamous), but they have all been with women. That just does not happen with a man. This has been the case since I was quite little. It is so with most people. Wild horses could not change their orientation.

    It’s interesting that you think that a gay sexual lifestyle is attractive and potentially addictive. This says something very important about you. I’d suggest you listen to it instead of burying it with hostility. Denying yourself does not make for a healthy mind.

  40. win jeavons

    As a Uniting church elder I believe that as a multicultural society we should teach our children about ALL religions with preaching for none . Religion has done much good and sadly, much harm ; well taught adults can work out the difference , children cannot. These salesmen of hate do much harm to the quieter members of their own brand of faith . A preacher I knew said that the proper definition of ‘sin’ was ‘missing the mark’ or as we would now say, failing to live up to your own potential. A goal every teacher wants for their pupils, and most parents for their children.

  41. Miriam English

    win jeavons, well said.

  42. jim

    Before religion most people worshiped the SUN IMO they stuck to facts,you can fn see the SUN and today 2000 yrs on with massive machines built we still don’t know how they could’ve built the Pyramids hmmm maybe they did it by sticking to FN FACTs, not bogey men with beards. I like what David Attenbrough said it never accurred to me that I should believe in a “GOD” Hmmm.

  43. jim

    Moreover, what the main problem with todays youth is that they are not taught to respect one another by their elders ie how does a pack of dogs become a pack of viscous kill anything mob?, the one and only reason is NO Hierarchy or (parents) of control this underscores most of the worlds problems of today,failure to pass on knowledge IMOO.

  44. CommonA

    Just so we are clear, I was not referring to http://safeschoolshub.edu.au/, but to http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org.au/, which many schools are joining as part of their desire for “safe” environments.

    It left the “please do not bully anyone” message, for “please don’t bully LGBTI”, on the basis that they are the most bullied students. The next step is to “challenge the gender stereotypes”, promote “LGBTI”… if you are a gender female and you “like” other girls better, then perhaps you might choose to identify as a Lesbian…. ending with asking them to pledge allegiance to LGBTI identifying people. Heteronormative views are not welcome.

    @Miriam, I suggest that a program has gone down this path, from ending bigotry and hatred to suggesting to impressionable youth that perhaps they might be other than what they thought they were, and you tell me I am making stuff up, then go on, without knowing me in the slightest, to tell me that I’m repressing my inner trans-dentity…. talk about proving my point of where this advocacy ends up.

    @Win Jeavons, While I admire your heart, and agree that all should be (and are) welcome, and that we all want to please our Heavenly Father… I think you might be forgetting part of the gospel. Sin is not failing to live to *your* potential, but to God’s standards;
    Matthew 5:20: For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    And no, I am no better;
    Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;

    Self-help and self-improvement was never meant to be the salvation message. ALL religions don’t teach that, in fact most teach the exact opposite.

  45. Kaye Lee

    “ending with asking them to pledge allegiance to LGBTI identifying people.”?

    Ummmm….I think you will find it is religions who insist on people pledging allegiance…..and if you don’t you will find yourself in eternal hell.

    “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law”

    It would be hard to not be more “righteous” than most of our politicians and far too many of our clergy. Heaven is going to be awful crowded.

    CommonA,

    I would encourage you to actually look at the safe schools coalition material, rather than the rot that some deluded individuals have written about it. If you can show me one thing you find offensive and inappropriate then perhaps we can have a sensible discussion about it. From what you have written you have been completely misled about it. Check for yourself.

    “With government and community support, we are assisting hundreds of schools across the country in their efforts to actively promote safety, diversity, inclusion and respect for the whole school community.”

  46. Mercurial

    Ahh, if only the Safe Schools program had been available to George and Cory when they were kids; perhaps they wouldn’t now be so damaged.

    And CommonA, it’s not contagious mate.

  47. Kaye Lee

    “The review of the controversial Safe Schools program recommends several changes but does not call for the program to be scrapped or defunded, MPs have told Fairfax Media.

    Conservative opponents of Safe Schools have quickly gone on the attack, branding the review by University of Western Australia Emeritus Professor Bill Louden as a “joke”, a “stitch up” and a “fraud”.

    Around 30 Coalition MPs and senators were briefed about the report by Professor Louden at a meeting on Tuesday night. Outspoken critics of the program such as Eric Abetz, George Christensen and Cory Bernardi were present.

    The general feeling was the inquiry wasn’t thorough enough and that the terms of reference were too tight,” one conservative MP said.

    Others went further. One MP reportedly described the program as a “gateway drug” and Professor Louden’s review as a “stitch up”. And one MP told the ABC the review was a “fraud” and called on Education Minister Simon Birmingham to either “fix this or resign”.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/conservative-mps-angry-after-safe-schools-review-finds-program-should-not-be-scrapped-20160315-gnjzgf.html

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  48. cry johnnie crying roy travailliste ou est vous

    win jeavons, despite being unable to see many pr/t/eachers being able to avoid preaching/comparing or being capable of highlighting any of the harm done and knowing few religiously well taught adults, it is unchallenged that teaching religious history is important. I wish it was compulsory.
    As an elder, you will be aware of “Familiaris Consortio” and the dialogue that began nearly 40 years ago in melbourne. has that lived up to the potential or, albeit slowly, work in progress?
    ps does ALL include confuscianism?, humanism? Rastafarian? Aboriginal Spirituality? or the dozens of other world religions?
    Clearly there would be little time for anything else ergo priorities. So 5 areas, Christianity(35 forms in America but a dozen or so in Australia), Islam(over 70), Hindu(4) and other?
    pps Would you agree with the premise that a school preaching and teaching a particular religion should not receive public funding?

  49. Adrianne Haddow

    James Moylan, your excellent writing re the evangelists encapsulates my outrage that these neanderthals can hold such power in this coalition government.
    Their narrow- minded opinions regarding what is suitable for the education of our children, they can keep for their religious schools. These opinions have no place in our secular, public system.

    We should not tolerate their interference in our society. If they wish to live in a American ‘bible -belt’ society, they should apply for a green card and emigrate.

  50. Matters Not

    the professor ultimately concluded that Safe Schools was consistent with the goals of the national curriculum.

    For the ‘loonies’ that’s where the problem lies. It’s not just the Safe Schools program but the national curriculum itself which must be revisited.

    Birmingham should commission Kevin Donnelly and Ken Wiltshire to review the national curriculum. Again and again and again …

    Birmingham should defund any school that uses it. What with new schools joining up, where will it end? Where’s Rona Joyner when you need her?

    Seriously, Turnbull made a big mistake allowing these ‘nutters’ to bully him in the first place. But judgement is Malware’s ongoing problem

  51. Miriam English

    jim said:

    Moreover, what the main problem with todays youth is that they are not taught to respect one another by their elders ie how does a pack of dogs become a pack of viscous kill anything mob?, the one and only reason is NO Hierarchy or (parents) of control this underscores most of the worlds problems of today,failure to pass on knowledge IMOO.

    You express a common belief. Every generation thinks the next generation is more disrespectful and deteriorating to disobedient rabble. They have done since prehistory. There is a clay tablet from a couple of thousand years BC that said this too. But it is wrong.

    Another mistake is to think that safety lies in the direction of order and obedience. That also is wrong. The young of today are the most knowledgeable and literate in history.

    The problem is in their ignorant elders. Most of my generation (the baby-boomers) are appallingly illiterate and easy prey to propaganda. I’m continually struck by how many simply don’t read at all, unless it is to read a newpaper or similar mind-rotting garbage. They watch the incredibly biased trash on the TV news and think they are informed. But kids today have grown up using the web and are much more adept at sorting propaganda from truth. Some are still sucked in, sure, but many more have something approaching independent views.

    It has been shown that large groups of people can can actually be smarter than the smartest person in the group. On the other hand, large groups can also be crazed rioters and lynch mobs. What is the difference that determines whether the group becomes one or the other? It is uniformity.

    When a group marches to a single opinion, when they are very uniform and coordinated, they become more stupid than the average and capable of monumentally insane errors of judgement. History has seen plenty of examples of this. If, however, the group is uncoordinated, made up of diverse people who have many different opinions, then that group can make decisions that are smarter than the smartest person in the group.

    This is a very peculiar, seemingly counter-intuitive effect that has been shown many, many times, yet is still relatively unknown. James Surowiecki wrote a book The Wisdom of Crowds on the topic after having become fascinated by it. It even has a rather lovely paradox where if you have a diverse group making decisions and remove the most stupid individuals from the group, that crowd doesn’t become more smart, it makes it less so. The reason is that the “stupid” members worked to counterbalance the preconceptions and prejudices of the smarter individuals. Removing them means the group loses balance. This offers great hope for democracy because it means every vote really is important, even if their opinion differs from yours — especially if theirs differs from yours. It is also a great warning against the mainstream media when they project a unifying front of propaganda, moulding most people’s opinions to a single form. The extreme danger inherent in that becomes apparent when you see that it makes society stupid and insane.

    This is why it is so good that kids, to a very large extent now, no longer watch TV, or read newspapers, or listen to radio (especially horrid talk-back radio). They gather their knowledge from hundreds of diverse sources on the web. Most young kids have already written more than people my age have. They text on phones, partake in forums and social media, and send emails. They also voice chat with large numbers of people. When I was a kid we each had few friends we would talk to. Today’s gamers voice chat with many people around the planet while playing in a team together. Others skype across cultures. They listen to audiobooks while walking or gardening. They voraciously read ebooks, with vast libraries of free ebooks available to them instantly, any time they want. They no longer wonder idly what the answer is to something; they can look it up immediately on the greatest encyclopedia that ever existed.

  52. Möbius Ecko

    Turnbull is a hostage of his own making Matters Not. He wanted the power and was willing to sell his soul to gain it. Having done that he now has to dance with the devils to their tune or forgo what he’s always wanted, probably at great face losing cost and forever being lambasted and blackballed from the Liberals and their wealthy controllers.

  53. Matters Not

    Yes ME the more he ‘tolerates’ them, the more bold they will become.

    It’s time they resurrected STOP and CARE. STOP (Society To Outlaw Pornography) and CARE (Committee Against Regressive Education) were formed to end the teaching of MACOS (Man A Course Of Study) and the use of SEMP materials. Leading the charge was Rona Joyner. They were successful in the days of JOH but it was too late because so many teachers saw the possibilities.

    It will be the same with Safe Schools. The ‘cat’s out of the bag’ as it were.

  54. Möbius Ecko

    “…the more he ‘tolerates’ them, the more bold they will become.”

    And aren’t we seeing this in spades on an almost daily basis. It can be seen in Turnbull’s once confident but now hesitant and Abbott like fumblings in his speeches and replies to questions as he starts to say one thing, his normal conviction, but then changes course to spout his masters’ dictations.

  55. Miriam English

    CommonA, you said,

    @Miriam, I suggest that a program has gone down this path, from ending bigotry and hatred to suggesting to impressionable youth that perhaps they might be other than what they thought they were, and you tell me I am making stuff up, then go on, without knowing me in the slightest, to tell me that I’m repressing my inner trans-dentity…. talk about proving my point of where this advocacy ends up.

    What you say about the Safe Schools program suggesting that kids might be other than what they think they are is just simply wrong. The program exists purely to stop bullying. It doesn’t try to make kids into gay, straight, bi, trans, or anything. It exists to stop other people trying to do that to the kids.

    And, yes. You are making stuff up. I can’t sugar-coat it by saying you are misinformed because you do it again immediately afterward when you say I am trying to convert you to something you’re not. I truly wasn’t. I simply noted the peculiar way you described the gay lifestyle as something attractive and addictive and suggested that this says something more about you than about the lifestyle itself and that you might benefit from honestly examining your motives. I didn’t say anything about you having trans predilections. Privately, I actually thought it sounded more like you might be closet gay, but was reluctant to say it because I don’t like to influence people. It was you who jumped out to say “trans”. That rather surprised me. But repression of that would go a long way to explaining your rather frantic and irrational hostility.

    What I don’t understand is why you would attempt to support your argument against gays by making stuff up and passing on lies that others have made up. It actually wrecks your case. Wouldn’t it be much more sensible to assemble actual facts and take your stand from that? Of course, that would mean you’d have to be honestly ready to change your opinion to suit the facts, instead of changing the facts to suit your opinion. If there is no chance of that, then you should be prepared to honestly admit to yourself that what you are expressing is really prejudice motivated by hate. What would Jesus think of that?

  56. Miriam English

    Damn… in my reply to CommonA I forgot to close a blockquote tag after the first paragraph. Kinda damaged the post. 🙁

  57. Miriam English

    cry johnnie crying roy travailliste ou est vous (that alias is a heck of a mouthful), you are correct in what you say, but it is worse than you think:

    There are not simply dozens of world religions, there are roughly a thousand major religions (and probably thousands more tiny ones).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religions

    And there are not just 35 or so versions of Christianity, it has splintered into about 800 forms:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

  58. CommonA

    @Kaye, I have read the material… not all of it, and not in great depth, but I have. No I don’t want to be informed only from others opinions, and at the risk of opening myself up for judgement, that was my summary of the “All of Us” material. Ok I took a little poetic license in using the terms “pledge allegiance” instead of “becoming an Ally”, I would have thought those familiar with the material would recognise it:

    MY ALLY’S PLEDGE
    I pledge to be an ally because I believe it is important
    to make lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and
    intersex people feel safe and included.
    I promise to:
    1. ___________________________________________
    2. __________________________________________
    3. _________________________________________
    And I promise never to:
    1. ___________________________________________
    2. __________________________________________
    Because if we each do our part, then things will be
    better for All Of Us!
    Signed by:

    There is nothing offensive in the material (that I have found), which is what I have said from the start, it is not just about stating that bullying is wrong, but about making being on the LGBTI rainbow attractive to the students.

    Yes I see the material from a different perspective to others, we all have our filters.

  59. CommonA

    @Miriam you said “It’s interesting that you think that a gay sexual lifestyle is attractive and potentially addictive. This says something very important about you. I’d suggest you listen to it instead of burying it with hostility. Denying yourself does not make for a healthy mind.”

    Which I took to mean “you might have buried your feelings about being attracted to a gay lifestyle. If so, denying it is not healthy for you”… Ok, so I fumbled in my terms and used trans instead of gay, I’m still getting my head around the correct terminology… but you did go on to admit that it is pretty much what you were thinking, so I’m not sure how I misunderstood you?

    You then accuse me of being:
    – against gays
    – passing on lies from other people
    – being non-factual
    – of changing facts to suit my opinion
    – that I am unwilling to change
    – that I am prejudiced
    – that I am motivated by hate

    All I am attempting to do, is to state some potential pitfalls as I see it with the material as it currently stands. I’m not sure how you came to your conclusions on my motivations or actions, as I said, you don’t know me.

    If a ship were heading towards a rocky outcrop under the water and you saw it and were alarmed, but kept silent because everyone else on the boat were having a lovely time… would that be a good thing?… maybe I’m mistaken and there are no rocks, but as you said; “if we remove the dumbest people from the group”…. we may not end up in the safe harbour we were aiming for.

  60. diannaart

    CommonA

    LGBTI is not a virus.

    You don’t catch it by being around gay people.

    Nor by reading about it.

    or even talking about it.

    You can actually tongue kiss a gay person and not catch aids – I did and yes he was HIV; I remain healthy to this day.

    The next thing I am going to say will probably shock you,

    It is normal for young people to experiment sexually, especially in their teens – by their twenties most people have a good idea of the way they hang.

    In fact the more knowledge and understanding people have about sexuality the easier time people have – less bullying, a better sense of self and a more confident person.

    Bravo to Miriam – excellent post(s).

  61. Kaye Lee

    Being an ally is an entirely different thing to pledging allegiance, the first implying you will be friends who will help protect each other, the second implying that you are a member of a group.

    That statement is not sinister. It would prompt children to think about their own behaviour, both positive and negative – surely a good thing? What can I do to help? How can I make sure I don’t cause harm?

    When innocent Muslim women were being bullied the #illridewithyou was a wonderful spontaneous show of solidarity. It didn’t make people want to become Muslim – it made them want Muslims to feel safe.

  62. Kaye Lee

    I am actually feeling great sorrow for those religious people who are so obviously struggling when, their whole lives, they have been made to feel sex is dirty. Children go to confession and confess to priests the sin of having impure thoughts. They must do penance. Pre-marital sex is a sin. Virginity is a gift – without it women are unworthy. Homosexuality is a sin.

    Hormonal changes happen in our bodies. We can’t help that. Why should we be made guilty for feeling attraction to another person, for wanting to share affection, for loving someone, for enjoying sexual pleasure with that person.

    No wonder they are so conflicted. They are told that their natural feelings are dirty.

    Can’t you remember how confusing that was? Why would you want children to feel dirty for something they cannot help? Did learning about heterosexual intercourse make you immediately go and root someone?

  63. Miriam English

    CommonA, when I mentioned the way you described a gay sexual lifestyle as attractive and potentially addictive I was struck by the fact that you were protesting against it yet describing it as attractive. It seemed odd and very reminiscent of the fact that many of gay people’s most outspoken opponents turn out to be deeply conflicted closeted gay people. Their personal shame screws them up badly and they take it out on other gay people. It is sad. They and all those around them would be much happier if they simply accepted who they were and stopped trying to be someone they are not. I suggested as much to you. I wasn’t telling you to be gay and I certainly wasn’t suggesting you were trans — you were the one that came up with that. Privately I wondered if you might be a closeted gay (you protest too loudly), but I didn’t actually voice that until after you came out with the trans thing.

    Yes, I accuse you of being against gays. Why else would you want to end a program which protects gay kids from bullying? And why else would you think that being gay is something to be ashamed of?

    You are either passing on other people’s untruths or making up your own. Take your pick. Your characterisation of the Safe Schools project is wrong.

    You misread what I said at the end. I said, “Wouldn’t it be much more sensible to assemble actual facts and take your stand from that? Of course, that would mean you’d have to be honestly ready to change your opinion to suit the facts, instead of changing the facts to suit your opinion. If there is no chance of that, then you should be prepared to honestly admit to yourself that what you are expressing is really prejudice motivated by hate. What would Jesus think of that?

    I didn’t say that you were unwilling to change. I was asking if was not more sensible to use genuine facts and use them to form your opinion — to change with the facts instead of changing the facts to suit your opinion. Then I said that if you’re unwilling to do that then the honest thing would be to admit to prejudice and hate.

    To be clear, I think it is possible for someone can hold the opinions you do and not be motivated by prejudice and hate if they were innocently believing lies fed them by other people. There is a chance that this is what has happened to you, however you have heard some of the opposing arguments and give no appearance of shifting your stand, so I have to wonder if you are indeed motivated by prejudice (it would seem so) and possibly even hate… though I hope that is too strong a word and you might yet come to realise we are just ordinary people who mean nobody any harm.

  64. Miriam English

    A heartfelt thanks to whoever repaired my earlier post adding in the closing blockquote tag that I omitted. Michael, I’m guessing. 🙂 Thank you.

  65. JeffJL

    Zathras. Good observation. I just used the dictionary definition.

  66. Kaye Lee

    The course doesn’t make “being on the LGBTI rainbow attractive to the students”. It isn’t saying “hey try this, it’s fun”. It is one part of a wider program encouraging tolerance, understanding and empathy. Our sexuality doesn’t define us and should not be an issue. Hopefully soon it won’t be.

  67. Kaye Lee

    MN,

    “Birmingham should commission Kevin Donnelly and Ken Wiltshire to review the national curriculum. Again and again and again …”

    Needless to say Donnelly has already weighed in on the Safe Schools program. Sometimes I think the world will be a far better place when the bigotry and hatred of my generation has shuffled off this mortal coil.

    http://www.theage.com.au/comment/government-and-teacher-union-hypocrisy-as-lgbti-agenda-plugged-in-schools-20160208-gmp18h.html

  68. Matters Not

    Note that the ‘nutters’, not satisfied with a ‘review’, are now calling for an ‘inquiry’.

    Personally I think a Royal Commission is required. How does Commissioner Donnelly sound? The Terms of Reference could be written by Bernardi, Christensen, Abetz, Nikolic and Hastie.

    But perhaps a Royal Commission might be a little soft. What about an INQUISITION? Just to keep the (so called) Judeo-Christian tradition alive.

    This heresy must be dealt with.

    Turnbull allowed them a ‘foot in the door’.

  69. diannaart

    CommonA

    I have to confess, I did exaggerate a little – no tongues were involved. Nor did I suddenly turn into a lesbian at any stage of my life, I simply remained my mostly heterosexual self.

    And that’s the point I feel you miss – we do not choose our sexual identity, if allowed to grow and mature as we age, we wind up with the sexuality our genetics intended, which is mostly straight. Therefore it is good sense, as the dominant sexual identity, to be kind; we get the best deals, we get to marry whomever we choose, we get to set the curriculum of schools – we also have the responsibility of ensuring our majority does not became intolerant and bigoted of others whatever their sexual identity.

  70. Miriam English

    Concerned Queenslanders, here is our chance to fight back against the bigots. Sign a petition to Parliament countering the one submitted by the those trying to stop the Safe Schools program. The bigots currently have more signatures. Show them and the idiots in government that we who don’t like bullying are actually far more numerous.
    Go to:
    https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/apps/Epetitions/CurrentEPetition.aspx?PetNum=2554&lIndex=-1

    Click the “Yes” answer to the question “Do you want to sign this E-petition?” then next page click the button “Accept the conditions of Use”. On the final page fill out your details for the petition and send.

    We need a couple of thousand more signatures to surpass the organised bigots. They have so many signatures so quickly that I wonder if they might be cheating. There is a term for that: “lying for Jesus”. It amazes me that so many religious people think it somehow strengthens their case, when it actually demolishes it. I hope there is an investigation into the internet addresses of the submissions afterward.

  71. Kaye Lee

    George Christensen was on Skynews this afternoon making some pretty outrageous claims. He has been looking for dirt on the guy that wrote the safe schools coalition program.

    Also on Skynews, that dreadful Paul Murray announced he is hosting a debate between Barnaby Joyce and Tony Windsor at Tamworth pub tomorrow night.

  72. Matters Not

    Signed! Miriam English.

    BTW, how does one ‘check’ the figures? See the ‘progress’ and all that?

  73. Matters Not

    at March 16, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I jokingly suggested that: “Birmingham should defund any school that uses it.” And guess what.

    George has called:

    for federal funding to be shelved until a full parliamentary inquiry into the program is conducted.

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/mar/16/george-christensen-accuses-safe-schools-advocate-of-promoting-paedophilia

    Malware, you gave an inch and now they want a mile. Tomorrow, it will be … And the day after it will be … ?

    Strange that this ‘program’ proceeded with approval and without ‘controversy’ for two years under the Abbott government but now is of such ‘moral’ concern. Anyone smell an Abbott at work?

    Not that there’s any undermining or sniping at work. ?

    Go Tone! Go George! Go Eric! Go Cory! Go Andy!

    All backbenchers just exercising their ‘freedom’.

  74. Miriam English

    Matters Not, go to the e-petitions list page:
    http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petitions

    I think it is pretty clear that the haters are cheating. It is difficult to believe more than a thousand Queenslanders signed the hate petition in one day. I hope the government checks the IP addresses of the folks signing. I bet they find hundreds or thousands coming from a single address, or else from interstate or even overseas.
    Great, this lying for Jesus lark.

  75. Vote Labor

    I’m not sure what is being said here about those petitions. The Christian Lobby petition has been up and running a week longer. Based on a crude notion of daily signature rates the pro petition is about 150 signatures ahead (daily).

  76. Miriam English

    I’m pretty sure that the ACL petition gathered, in the course of today, about 1,000 more signatures.
    It just strikes me as unlikely that they would suddenly manage that.

  77. jamesmoylan

    Thank you to everyone who took time to respond to my scratchings.
    I do read every comment. I sometimes even think about what others have to say.

    I append two pieces of doggerel that address this same subject.

    _________________________________
    *Just you wait and see!*

    The world will end tomorrow
    I’m certain that it’s true
    God will come and get me
    This time he will come through

    Last time I was mistaken
    Satan led me astray
    But tomorrow it is certain
    To be the glorious day

    When all the true believers
    Will rise up to the sky
    While all the heathen scum
    Will wish that they could die

    They will pay for mocking
    They will pay for snark
    They will burn in hellfire
    For not believing in the Ark

    For daring to be nasty
    When I tried to save their soul
    For keeping me up all the night
    With their rock’n’roll

    For having better parties
    For drinking all the nights
    For daring to be the ones
    Who win all of the fights

    For laughing at my penis
    For giggling at my tie
    For being all so ‘thinky’
    For believing that we die

    God will smite you mightily
    He will torture you for me
    Tomorrow when the world ends
    Just you wait and see
    __________________________

    *There was a society who swallowed a lie* (a Modern Nursery Rhyme)

    There was a society, who swallowed a lie,
    It swallowed the lie,
    That when we die we don’t die.

    There was a society, who appointed some clerics,
    Who talked in strange tongues, and engaged in hysterics,
    They appointed the clerics to protect the lie,
    I don’t know why they swallowed the lie,
    That when we die we don’t die.

    There was a society, who established a church,
    From ‘gods’ to one god, was not too much of a lurch,
    It established the church to control all the clerics,
    Who talked in strange tongues, and engaged in hysterics,
    They needed the clerics to protect the lie,
    I don’t know why they swallowed the lie,
    That when we die we don’t die.

    There was a society, who created an army,
    Isn’t that barmy! Just creating an army?
    It created the army to expand the church,
    That had melded our gods, without much of a lurch
    The church was established to control all the clerics,
    Who talked in strange tongues, and engaged in hysterics,
    The clerics were needed to protect the lie,
    I don’t know why they swallowed the lie,
    That when we die we don’t die.

    There was a society who killed off free speech
    It wasn’t much of a reach, to kill off free speech
    They killed off free speech to protect the army
    It created the army to expand the church,
    The church was established to control all the clerics,
    The clerics were needed to protect the lie,
    I don’t know why they swallowed the lie,
    That when we die we don’t die.

    Then I was arrested.

  78. Miriam English

    It constantly amazes me how many religious people I meet online (especially those in USA) who positively salivate at their infinitely good and just god torturing me and other disbelievers forever. Unfortunately they never seem to understand how utterly twisted that is. It is one thing I’ll say for the wacky Jehovah’s Witnesses: they’ve altered their religion so that it doesn’t include hell. They seem to have realised the incompatibility between a good god and one that condemns people to an eternity of torture for seeing the inconsistencies and fallacies in the Bible.

    I used to make a living building 3D virtual worlds on the internet. A conversation I had with a dear friend who is Christian prompted me to write my short play Grace. I had explained to her that it is illogical to design living things in intricate detail. It is much easier to evolve them. So if there was a god that’s how it would be done. She asked me what would happen if some of the animals became intelligent enough to wonder if there was a god. I wrote the story as a reply to that. The upshot is (because I know nobody will read it) that any god worthy of the name would not be so insecure and pathologically needy as to require people to bow down and worship it. It would simply want them to live good lives. A jealous, demanding, angry god — one that was happy for children to be bullied, or even murdered, for being built differently — would not deserve respect, but disgust.

    Cory Bernardi, George Christensen, the ACL, and far too many other Christians relish the ferocious flame of that repellent, thankfully imaginary, god. It is a great relief that their way of thinking is dying out and being replaced by the more peaceful kind of Christians, and that the broken thinking of religion and all of superstition is gradually disappearing.

  79. Trevor Magnusson

    (a) Criticising elements of this particular program is not the same as denying the need for such a program, or denying that problems exist.
    Sure, some people are doing both, and they should be called out. But dismissing all criticism as problem-denying is dishonest.

    (b) The Safe Schools program is huge, wide-ranging, and by-and-large free from anything a moderate person would find controversial.
    But consider this meme-like phrase: “Social conscience is swinging our way, but let’s not get carried away and take things too far”, SAID NO ONE EVER.

    (c) I posit that there are a few things that do appear to overstep the mark. For example: on page 42 of the “All of Us” unit guide (http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org.au/app/theme/default/design/assets/all-of-us/documents/unit-guide.pdf),
    the act of asking new parents whether their baby is a boy or a girl is presented as an example of heteronormative-enforcing behaviour, and by implication, discouraged.
    Things like this contribute very little benefit to the righteous cause of the program, provide ammunition to the likes of Tony Abbott and Cory Bernardi, and leave those of us in the middle bemused.

    (d) When “political correctness” go too far (and I am NOT claiming that the Safe Schools program does this) the backlash can be more harmful that if nothing were done at all.
    If you don’t believe me… Donald Trump.

  80. CommonA

    @James

    I fancy myself a bit of a poet too…. please forgive my obvious plagiarism:

    The world won’t end tomorrow
    I’m certain that it’s true
    The Ark never existed
    The world, never all blue

    Those Christians are mistaken
    I’ve not been led astray
    Our efforts and self-righteousness
    Will bring a better day

    If all the true believers
    Rose up in the sky
    On the day that God appears
    I’m going to ask him why

    Why was there no warning?
    No, love or mercy shown?
    It’s not like you came down here
    Or made our pain your own!

    It’s not like I was nasty
    To those who said I had a soul
    A spirit worth you dying for
    To add me to your scroll

    I served my whole community
    I stood up for their rights
    The ones that claimed to speak for you
    Were silent in my fights

    I’m sure He’ll see my argument
    When those who used His name
    Were a weak and horrid witness;
    Their heads should hang in shame

    Impressed by my conviction,
    He will look at me and nod
    And grant me what I craved in life;
    Eternity without God

    On behalf of Christians everywhere, I am sorry for the rough, rude and condemning experiences you have suffered at the hands of those who claimed to know the God of the Bible.

  81. David

    Having read and digested the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion hoax, I am not surprised to see what is happening to our world today. From Apartheid to Globalization to Gun Control to Gay and Lesbian agendas, it was all predicted. I sometimes wonder why many of these changes seem to be ignored by Israel? When do they have their Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras? I would love to be there to see it!

  82. Miriam English

    Ummm… David, I’m not sure what point you were making, but Tel Aviv Pride Week started on 29th of May 2016, and had events throughout the week until Sunday 5th of June. The gay pride parade took place on Friday, 3rd of June, 2016.

    You just missed it sweetie. But don’t worry. There’ll be another next year.

    It is a bit disturbing that you lump gays and lesbians in with guns and apartheid. Exactly what point are you arguing? What was predicted? And who are you saying predicted it?

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