Oh Noes!!

14 02 2008

I must be slipping in my old age: it took a casual visit to the Catch The Fire website to learn that

JOHN Howard’s controversial school chaplains program will be expanded to include any suitably qualified counsellor under an overhaul by the Rudd Government.Education Minister Julia Gillard’s office has confirmed the $90 million program will be changed into a secular scheme when current contracts expire.(Herald Sun)

Which is just as it should be, and should always have been, given section 116 of the Australian Constitution.

You can imagine Catch The Fire’s reaction . . .

Dear Friends and Family in Christ, We received this email from Bill Muehlenberg of CultureWatch regarding the chaplaincy program in schools across Australia for your prayerful concern! Where is this all going to end?Dear friends, (Start of Bill’s email)Some of us warned that a Labor government would make many changes which would impact on the Christian faith. Consider one such recent change. Under the former Howard government, schools were given funding to have religious chaplains, to help bring some spiritual dimension to the life of the students. New Education Minister Julia Gillard wants to change all that, and allow secular counselors. She wants the scheme to be secular in nature: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23047448-662,00.htmlThis change was not announced during the election campaign. You can share your concerns to her by this address: Julia.Gillard.MP@aph.gov.au

The secularists have not wrecked divine things; but the secularists have wrecked secular things, if that is any comfort to them. The Titans did not scale heaven; but they laid waste the world. G.K. Chesterton (end of Bill’s email)

To recap: (i) the “faith” of Australia’s Christians will be impacted if the Federal Government secularises counselling programmes that operate in secular schools in a secular liberal democracy, and (ii) expanding the school counselling programme to allow secular counsellors, as per section 116 (there shall be no religious test for public office . . .), and as per the crazy evil atheist notion that school counsellors should be employed on their merits as counsellors and not on their adherence to a religious belief system, is tantamount to enforcing secularism. (And (iii): either the readership of Catch the Fire is so daft that it needs to be told in boldface where Bill’s email begins and ends, or the writer of that post is so daft that he or she doesn’t know how to blockquote.)

Julia Gillard enforcing secularism

To change topics slightly, reading through the comments to that post gives one the impression that Pastor Danny has well-and-truly lost his mojo, since the events of November 2007 gave the lie to his God-given prophecy of a Howard victory. Here are a few samples:

Dear Catch the Fire,

I am greatly concerned that your ministry has assumed that God has joined the Liberal party. God almightly is above these human divisions. (“Warren“)

You actively try to make the Church and Christianity an enemy of the Labour Party (many of whom seek genuinely to do what’s right), and then you act indignant when they do not support our Christian agendas?!? It is you who started this.
It is my opinion that this campaign has had very little to do with God and the truth and a great deal to do with personal political agendas. You’re integrity appears to be seriously lacking.

God Bless…… and get a clue, (“David“)

I used to enjoy getting your emails etc however I will be unsubscribing due to the constant condemnation of those who voted against the Howard government. Since when did God give you the right to tell me who to vote for. (“Victor“)

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am sorry to hear your Christain faith is impacted by the Rudd government. Strangely I still have my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kindom of which I am a resident. [. . .] Is your god so small you can’t trust him in this country? (lower case chosen deliberately). (“Ian“)

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13 responses

14 02 2008
Bruce

Yes! This was one of the things that was going to determine if I stay in or leave the Labor party; if Rudd and cabinet squibs and go sectarian on the chaplaincy program or live up to principals of liberal democracy.

The Devil (or lack thereof) will be in the details of course.

Now there’s that issue of marriage rights…

14 02 2008
Sammy Jankis

Some of us warned that a Labor government would make many changes which would impact on the Christian faith. Consider one such recent change….

Note that the negative consequences of this change upon Christianity are self-evident. So self-evident in fact, that Bill doesn’t have to tell you what the impact will be and how the change leads to this impact. I mean, it’s just so obvious.

14 02 2008
AV

The other implication, of course, is that the Christian fundamentalist Bill Muehlenberg’s strong faith is apparently contingent upon what the Labor government does in office (you’re right–Bill neglects to tell us exactly what this could be, but I assume its anything wrt church-state issues).

14 02 2008
AV

I mean, just imagine one day switching on the news to hear that a Bill Muehlenberg had just been caught raping an 80-year old grandmother with an aborted fetus while perpetrating a school shooting. The reason? The Rudd Labour government earlier that day had made it possible for state schools to hire counsellors on (secular) merit rather than religious grounds, causing Bill Muehlenberg to lose his Christian faith, which, staunch though it was, had been conditional upon the state privileging his belief system. Well, as Bill could tell you himself, “worldviews matter,” and given that Bill no longer believed in a divine lawgiver, and realised (as a direct consequence of Labor policy regarding the chaplaincy programme) that he was little more than re-arranged pond scum, there just seemed less reason for him to strive for certain types of morality. Ipso facto: granny-rape-with-fetus-dildo-Columbine-style-massacre.

Oh Lord, what have we done?

14 02 2008
The Lazy Aussie

Pagan or even satanist I could accept as chaplains, but secular? That’s one step over the line.

14 02 2008
Sammy Jankis

[G]iven that Bill no longer believed in a divine lawgiver, and realised (as a direct consequence of Labor policy regarding the chaplaincy programme) that he was little more than re-arranged pond scum, there just seemed less reason for him to strive for certain types of morality.

That’s right, because reason alone “won’t cut it”. As Bill pointed out to me in a recent (heavily censored – gasp!) stoush at his blog:

…all the tyrants thought they were being perfectly reasonable in their mass slaughters. Indeed, Hitler’s Final Solution was perfectly logical and reasonable given his worldview.

So basically, we can’t trust reason because some people will do unreasonable things and claim that those things are reasonable. Crumbs!

14 02 2008
The LORD rained upon Melbourne brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven. « memeplex

[…] don’t usually visit Catch the Fire Ministries, but I found my way there via this post at Five Public Opinions regarding the move by Labor to secularise the school chaplaincy program. As […]

14 02 2008
AV

(heavily censored – gasp!)

Which (unless you were being abusive, which I doubt) suggests his authoritarianism and insecurity–the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

So basically, we can’t trust reason because some people will do unreasonable things and claim that those things are reasonable.

Actually what Bill’s saying is much worse. He’s asserting that because Hitler (or insert lunatic of your choice here) thought what he was doing was reasonable, it was reasonable. And that’s why you can’t trust reason.

14 02 2008
Matt

It’s actually rather silly what they’re saying, considering that Rudd was one of the multiple politicians that went and pandered to the crackpots over at Hillsong during the election campaign.
(Hm, wonder if I should start referring to Hillsong as ‘Scientology-Lite’?)

15 02 2008
Bruce

I think that Bill has made the simple confession that clawing for hegemony at the expense of the religious freedoms of others (with no demonstrable benefit to those losing freedoms) through the use of force (non-compliance with the state always ultimately carries the implicit threat of the use of force) is integral to his Christian world-view, which is to say that he confesses that his own particular Christian world-view is violently expansionist (ergo deceitful in its pretense of peaceable nature) and is clearly nothing worthy of being aspired to.

Yeah, I’ve written long Boolean lines of code before. 😉

15 02 2008
Bruce

Actually, that wasn’t so Boolean, but you get the gist. 😉

16 02 2008
ozatheist

Well, there should never have been a ‘school chaplain’ scheme in the first place.

Whilst I applaud Julia in modifying the program to include secular counselors, they haven’t gone far enough IMHO. They should scrap the whole scheme and start a new, completely secular, one; perhaps called the “School Counselor Scheme”; which only fully qualified counselors could be employed in.

19 02 2008
A few thoughts about the recent upheaval in the Australian culture wars « The Thinkers’ Podium

[…] Senator Fielding’s rather inflated importance in the senate. But they are doing it (thanks to AV for the […]

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