Queensland education officials have moved to ban references to Jesus in the primary school yard, kids exchanging Christmas cards and encouraging Christianity – with an unofficial policy that takes aim at junior evangelists.
The Australian reports, Christian groups and free-speech advocates have expressed alarm at the recent edict from the Queensland Department of Education and Training contained within its latest review into religious instruction materials and warning that principals were expected to take action against students caught evangelising to their peers.
“While not explicitly prohibited by the (legislation), nor referenced in the Religious Instruction (RI) policy, the department expects schools to take appropriate action if aware that students participating in RI are evangelising to students who do not,” says the department’s report into the GodSpace religious instruction materials, released earlier this year.
“This could adversely affect the school’s ability to provide a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.”
Departmental policy defines “evangelising” as “preaching or advocating a cause or religion with the object of making converts to Christianity”.
Examples of evangelising include sharing Christmas cards that refer to Jesus’s birth, creating Christmas tree decorations to give away and making beaded bracelets to give to friends “as a way of sharing the good news about Jesus”. Read more here.
The story has sparked a lot of backlash
A post on Studio 10 Facebook page has attracted over 250 comments.
“Let us start with eliminating bullying in the schoolyards, then when we solve that issue we can move on to others. This is a joke.”
“Christmas for some of us not about religion, it’s about family, love, getting together, why spoil that just for your own small mindedness.”
“This is beyond absurd! Children evangelising in the schoolyard….are you joking? How is handing out Christmas cards harmful?”
“Oh just shut up will you. I’m so sick of everyone having to be politically correct and of the do-gooders trying to enforce their ideas on society. They’ve taken what essentially should be a good thing and just killed it for everyone!”
“Surely this is a beat up!! No classroom made cards for mum and dad? No presents for the teacher, or Christmas concerts? This will never happen anywhere in Australia.”
“As a Vic primary teacher, ALL children give Christmas cards to each other regardless of religious background. They also give candy canes! Parents need to stop overlaying their own prejudices on their children. It is a ritual to end the year on a happy note before the holidays!”
“Omg r u kidding me! So many more important things to worry about for kids in school, such as bullying which is worse, then ever and is even pushing kids to kill themselves or consider it I would say bullying is a priority not religion or if kids give out Xmas cards ffs my kids, grandkids loved giving Xmas cards!”
Do kids even know what evangelising is? I truly doubt it!
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