A few days ago, Jane Caro published an opinion piece where she put the case that God should have no place in public schools. Her concluding remarks were, ‘Australia is a secular country. It supports and celebrates citizens of all faiths and none. Freedom of religion and freedom from religion are among our core values. Our public schools must reflect that’.
In response, John Dickson published an open letter to Jane Caro, published on the ABC website, called ‘What’s so offensive about Australia’s public school chaplaincy program?’
In his final paragraph, he writes:
‘Jane, you may have revealed your hand in the final lines of your article, when you write, “Freedom of religion and freedom from religion are among our core [secular] values”. Freedom “from” religion? No, a healthy secular democracy does not exclude religion – from schools or politics or wherever. It simply ensures that religious programs are never imposed, always voluntary, just like the public school chaplaincy program. Anything else seems driven by a personal distaste of religion’.
Rev. Dr John Dickson is an author and historian and a priest in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. His most recent book is Bullies and Saints: An Honest Look at the Good and Evil of Christian History. He is the host of the Undeceptions podcast.
An interesting conversation. It’s worth reading both articles.