STUDENTS at one NSW school were told by an untrained scripture teacher they would "burn in hell" if they didn't believe in JesusAnd, elsewhere in the state, children at other schools were given creationism showbags. A survey by Sydney's Macquarie University also found 70 per cent of scripture teachers think children should be taught the Bible as historical fact and 80 per cent believe students should not be exposed to non-Christian beliefs.
The survey found a group of scripture volunteers were distributing kits called "Creation For Kids" containing colouring books, calendars and DVDs deriding evolution and claiming that the universe was only 6000 years old.
The university conducted surveys at 13 NSW schools and spoke to parents, teachers, scripture volunteers and principals, and found stark differences between what parents want and what is taught in classrooms.
Researcher Cathy Byrne, of the university's Centre for Research and Social Inclusion, said most parents would be shocked to learn what goes on in some religious education classes. Scripture teachers generally discouraged questioning, emphasised submission to authority and excluded different beliefs.
"Most parents and trained teachers want critical thinking about religion, individual responsibility for moral decisions and empathy towards others," Ms Byrne said. "Several parents also expressed concerns that pressure is being put on children to become full church members."
Ms Byrne said NSW schools were required to offer access to religious groups to teach children for an hour a week but there were no requirements for professional training or control of content.
The survey comes as the NSW Department of Education tries out ethics classes as an alternative to scripture.
by Jodie Minus From: The Australian June 25, 2010
Originally posted by Ian Woolf