“Victoria is increasingly looking like something out of a George Orwell novel,” FamilyVoice Victoria state officer Peter Stevens said today.
A new Ministerial Direction 141 and policy guide,* issued by Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon, bans any adult-assisted non-SRI religious activity in public schools from 14 July 2014. Informal lunch time student prayer or Bible reading is prohibited if a teacher, chaplain, parent or school visitor is also involved.
“We used to joke about US school prayer bans, but now Victoria is going down the same path,” Peter Stevens said.
“Imagine, for example, a school tragedy where students seek comfort from a school chaplain. Under these rules, the chaplain cannot pray with them, nor can he or she point them to helpful Bible passages.
“In every court room and parliament of this nation, the Bible is placed in a position of honour – and rightly so. Its Ten Commandments were the forerunner of our laws. Yet under the new ministerial policy, a chaplain cannot give Bibles to students who request them.
“Freedom of speech and religion are fundamental human rights in this state – but not, it seems, in our public schools.
“I call on the Minister to rescind this unjust and unwarranted order,” Pastor Stevens said.
* Scroll down to section headed: “Religious activities outside SRI” (SRI = Special Religious Instruction)
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