Unthinkable in Australia?
It was recently revealed that Victoria’s Department of Education had announced a ban on Christian prayer groups, Bible studies and fellowship groups. The rule was later quashed – but how easy! See the articles below.
Do you think it might be time to start prayer-walking our schools and claim them for righteousness, for harvest and for God’s glory?
Australian Prayer Network Article – 6th August 2014
Confusion In Victoria After Private Prayer And Bible Study Banned At State Schools
The Victorian Education Department recently announced a new rule banning students from gathering for bible studies or prayer groups in the States public schools. The change was announced after the Minister for Education signed a Ministerial Directive MD141-Special Religious Instruction in Public Schools in May this year. Not only were students banned from discussing Christianity together, they were also not allowed to advertise church or religious events or give their friends a Christian music DVD or Bible. Lunchtime student prayer groups and fellowship groups were also no longer permitted.
After a strong representation from concerned Christians and organisations the Education Minister, Martin Dixon intervened and stated that other religious activities are allowed at Victorian state schools at lunchtimes. He said that he had issued the Ministerial Directive 141 about Special Religious Instruction (SRI) in relation only to SRI and it did not apply to any other religious activities at school. Mr Dixon stated that the School Policy Advisory Guide on SRI that was subsequently issued by the Department of Education to explain the operation of MD141 had gone too far in talking about other religious activities. He stated that he had ‘instructed the Department to fix it’ and remove those references. That has now been done.
Source: Compiled by APN from media reports and Saltshakers
Australian Christian Lobby comment – 31st July, 2014
Dan Flynn from the Australian Christian Lobby said the guidelines appeared to cover all activities by students. “In the SRI policy, the formal wording appears to ban prayer groups, youth groups, clubs, info sessions or workshops,” Mr Flynn said. “It says that those forums or the events constitute promotion of specific religions in schools outside SRI and are not permitted.
“It’s one thing to say that education in state schools should be secular – we agree with that – but it’s quite another step to drive any religion out of schools, particularly at lunch time when the children are free to form their own clubs and do their own activities.
“This is a serious limitation on freedom of association, freedom of religion for high school students and state school students.”