The Humanist Society of Victoria has developed a curriculum for primary school students based on humanist ethics.
Their focus is the wonderful idea that ethics can be derived without reference to any religion; that you don’t need to defer to some magical God or ancient book or (more often) the authority of the clergy to know what’s right.
This is a really important idea, and absolutely the sort of thing we should be instilling in our children.
But of course that’s not the way it’s being reported.
Instead, we get headlines like this:
This angle completely misses the point. But that’s to be expected in a culture with such an entrenched religious tradition.
And the predictable backlash from religious, particularly Christian, vested interests has begun.
This is my favourite quote, from fundamentalist godbot Jenny Stoker of Christian lobby group Salt Shakers:
"If you go there, where do you stop? What about witchcraft or Satanism? If you accredit humanism, then those things would have an equal claim to be taught in schools."
Wrong, Jenny. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
If you teach Christianity in schools then all those things have an equal claim. They’ve all got precisely as much evidence as each other to support them.
Our government should never promote any one religion over another, and certainly not in our government schools.
So, Jenny, unless equal time is given to all religions (and that includes Wicca and Satanism and Scientology and The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) then no time should be given to any of them.