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Australian High Court rules against public school chaplains
#1
Australian High Court rules against public school chaplains
I am posting a media release from the Atheist Foundation of Australia about a recent High Court decision to disallow the funding of chaplains in state schools.

High Court Challenge decision a victory for democracy
By admin - Posted on 20 June 2012

The Atheist Foundation of Australia congratulates the judges of the High Court of Australia in their decision to disallow funding of chaplains in state schools.

This is a victory for democracy, for secularism, and for students in state schools around the country.

The founding fathers understood the importance of Jefferson's wall of separation between Church and State when they wrote s.116 into the constitution. Their intentions were subverted by the 1981 High Court in the Defence of Government Schools case. This more enlightened decision in Williams v The Commonwealth gives us hope that perhaps the judiciary has turned the corner and shown the way for the executive and the legislature.

Mr Ron Williams' tireless efforts demonstrate how the 'little man' on the street can alter the course of history and in doing so benefit future generations immeasurably.

He deserves more than congratulations for his relentless efforts in pushing for the procuring of this long awaited judgment. The personal financial cost to Mr Williams and his family has been great. The AFA calls for equally concerned people in Australia to donate generously to ensure that Ron's sacrifice is shared by us all at highcourtchallenge.com

We congratulate Ron on taking this risk in our name and his great success!

Ron will be remembered as one of the heroes who stood up to make a difference and attempted to make purposeful change and succeeded admirably.

David Nicholls
President
Atheist Foundation of Australia
Private Mail Bag 6
Maitland SA 5573

Phone: + 61 8 8835 2269
email: [email protected]
http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au
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#2
RE: Australian High Court rules against public school chaplains
I wish our supreme court had the same amount of balls.
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#3
RE: Australian High Court rules against public school chaplains
That decision was that the Chaplain programme was unconstitutional Trist...not that they would be banned, but a question about whether they should be funded by the federal government was the issue.

All in all a win for secularism Great
"The Universe is run by the complex interweaving of three elements: energy, matter, and enlightened self-interest." G'Kar-B5
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#4
RE: Australian High Court rules against public school chaplains
(June 26, 2012 at 7:27 am)KichigaiNeko Wrote: That decision was that the Chaplain programme was unconstitutional Trist...not that they would be banned, but a question about whether they should be funded by the federal government was the issue.

All in all a win for secularism Great

True, there is little doubt that the federal government will just draw up legislation to make the funding of school chaplains constitutional.

As I see I cant see both the school chaplain program and scripture classes (done by evangelistic organisations such as Access Ministries and the Scripture Union) in state schools any-time soon. Because of the apathy of a lot of the voting public. Also not to mention the fact of the "Christian" vote often deciding how gets to govern or not.

Because unlike the secularists whose support is disproportionally in safe Labor or Coalition inner city seats, the "Christian" vote is often strongest in the swing outer suburban and provincial city electorates which decide elections. With the Greens being a challenge for Labor in it's safe inner city seats, that will likely make the Labor party be more likely to do the bidding of organisations such as Access Ministries and Scripture Union not less so.
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#5
RE: Australian High Court rules against public school chaplains
How is that a victory for democracy exactly?
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.
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#6
RE: Australian High Court rules against public school chaplains
(July 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm)Polaris Wrote: How is that a victory for democracy exactly?

Good question, however I believe padraic below has answered it very well.
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#7
RE: Australian High Court rules against public school chaplains
Quote:but a question about whether they should be funded by the federal government was the issue

THAT is unconstitutional. However, S116 of our constitution does NOT apply to the states.



Quote:Section 116 says:

The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.[1]

Section 116 has four limbs. The first three limbs prohibit the Commonwealth from making certain laws: laws "for establishing any religion"; laws "for imposing any religious observance"; and laws "for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion". The fourth limb proscribes the imposition of religious tests to qualify for any Commonwealth office or public trust.[2] Only the "establishing religion" and "prohibiting free exercise" limbs have been the subject of cases before the High Court.[2][3]

The section sits in Chapter V of the Constitution, which deals with the states of Australia. However, Section 116 does not apply to the states.[3] Each state has its own constitution, and only Tasmania's has a provision similar to Section 116.[4] Commentators attribute the erroneous location of Section 116 to a drafting oversight caused by the weariness of the committee charged with finalising the draft Constitution.[3][5]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_116..._Australia

(July 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm)Polaris Wrote: How is that a victory for democracy exactly?

Are you being deliberately dense?


Democracy protects the rights of minorities,

IF there is to be a chaplains programme, ALL religions at a school must be represented. No child must be disadvantaged in any way.

Here in Australia there is growing insistence by non believing parents that ethics be taught to their children instead of religion.

The Greek ethicists predate Christianity by about 600 years. In my opinion,doing what one thinks of as right for its own sake is far more moral than doing so for the reward of heaven or fear of hell.
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#8
RE: Australian High Court rules against public school chaplains
(July 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm)padraic Wrote:
Quote:but a question about whether they should be funded by the federal government was the issue

THAT is unconstitutional. However, S116 of our constitution does NOT apply to the states.

I think the funding of school chaplains wad unconstitutional, because of the religious tests which were imposed as part of the position descriptions for the school chaplains. That clearly violated the fourth limb s.116 of the Australian Constitution. However everything else about the school chaplaincy program is technically constitutional given that outcome of Attorney-General (Vict.); Ex Rel. Black v. The Commonwealth (1981) 146 CLR 559 (aka the DOGS Case).

This country needs a bill of rights like that of the United States with same strict separation between church and state clause.


Quote:Are you being deliberately dense?


Democracy protects the rights of minorities,

IF there is to be a chaplains programme, ALL religions at a school must be represented. No child must be disadvantaged in any way.

Here in Australia there is growing insistence by non believing parents that ethics be taught to their children instead of religion.

The Greek ethicists predate Christianity by about 600 years. In my opinion,doing what one thinks of as right for its own sake is far more moral than doing so for the reward of heaven or fear of hell.

Given we are a multi-cultural, multi-faith society I would make the case for truly objective comprehensive education on religion as opposed to 'scripture classes', along with ethics classes as well. The current situation of allowing of organisations like Access Ministries and Scripture Union into state school classrooms and evangelising education (which they don't deny doing) is a scandal.

However this change can only come by the non-religious (who are between 30 to 50% of the nation's population) mobilising, so they can pressure the governments, education departments and school councils to rectify this shameful state of affairs.
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#9
RE: Australian High Court rules against public school chaplains
Democracy protecting the rights of the minorities as a defining feature? LOL no. Democracy is all about majority rule....Democratic Socialism (almost said socialism, but that would bring up the Fascists as well) protects the minorities.
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.
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#10
RE: Australian High Court rules against public school chaplains
(June 26, 2012 at 2:04 am)Minimalist Wrote: I wish our supreme court had the same amount of balls.

Mind you we're far too puritanical of a nation to completely do away with religious influence in public schools. It's a wonder that they even banned the leading of prayers (although in my school it still happened, albeit not compulsory). But you know, as they say, "one nation under god."
You really believe in a man who has helped to save the world twice, with the power to change his physical appearance? An alien who travels though time and space--in a police box?!? [Image: TARDIS.gif]
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