Letter to the Editor - August 8: MP's scripture defence

I AM even more shocked than Kirsten Jackson (CCA Save our scripture, August 5) that "Greens NSW MP John Kaye made the sweeping statement that Scripture Union NSW is 'indoctrinating students with violent religious messages' during school hours".

Shocked, because I have never uttered those words.

Ms Jackson and Advocate readers can check out my media release for themselves at http://j.mp/KayeMediaRelease.

At no stage did I even mention the Scripture Union, nor did I refer to any violent religious messages promoted by any group.

My response was focussed entirely on the abysmal failure of the NSW Liberals and Nationals government and their Education Department to regulate voluntary lunchtime activities of any faith.

This is about a government that has lost control over the lunchtime activities of religious groups of many persuasions in public schools across the state. The department is not even able to tell me how many students have signed parental consent and whether there are regular breaches of the ban on proselytising on school grounds.

There is no way Minister Adrian Piccoli can tell if the guidelines established to regulate these activities are being obeyed in schools anywhere in NSW.

Instead of taking serious action to protect public school students from exposure to inappropriate evangelical preaching, the Education department has been hiding behind busy school principals.

Premier Mike Baird only decided to act after a suggestion that a radical Islamic group might have exploited the lack of effective regulation.

The Greens point, which appears to have been missed by Ms Jackson, is that public education parents should be able to be secure in the belief that their children are protected from radical religious preaching by any faith.

John Kaye

Editor's note:
The APN Newsdesk article "Scripture lessons out of classes" that generated this debate, actually quoted that: 'Human Rights Advocacy Australia has written to the Education Department multiple times since last year, claiming the Scripture Union NSW and other Christian groups were indoctrinating students with violent, religious message during school hours."

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