For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 23 March 2014
Recently Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity, Dr Justine Toh, participated in an IQ debate in Melbourne, on the motion, “Faith-based religious education has no place in public schools.”
She says those who want to remove faith-based religious education from schools often want it replaced by General religious education (GRE) where religion is taught like any other subject: delivered by a professional teacher rather than a volunteer, and in a neutral fashion.
There is something to be said for this approach, but we’re kidding ourselves if we think it is value-free … GRE seeks to contextualise the truth claims of every faith while excluding its own from scrutiny … Advocates say that the best we can do, therefore, is simply describe religions as they attempt to interpret ultimate reality – which sounds suspiciously like a value judgement … Comparative religious approaches are no more neutral than their faith-based counterparts.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.