THIS being Easter the papers are full of deep questions about Christanity, especially its divisive influence. Funny thing, that. Come Ramadan we won’t see too many speculations about another creed, one that inspires a disproportionate number of grievances and bristling quibbles from what is, for the moment, a very small section of Australia’s worshipful population. That the Prophet’s adherents are so indulged may strike crucifix-besotted genuflectors as unfair, but such a view would be to repudiate one of modern Christianity’s currently fashionable tenets: Thou shalt not wish ill on others, even if they deserve it.
Standing firm behind that sentiment must be particularly hard this weekend for the good citizens who send their kiddies to the Parkes Chrstian School, which Macquarie University’s Marion Maddox, writing in the Silly, stitched up very nicely indeed. The fourth contributor to a four-cornered discussion of religion, she opposes government funding of religious schools on the grounds that everything down the road will be much more lovely if only youngsters could be forced to mix in classrooms and playground with those unlike themselves. Maddox writes:
“The handbook of one [Christian school] assures prospective parents that its students ‘are trained to be not primarily good citizens of Australia but soldiers … who go out into the world equipped physically, mentally, spiritually and socially to do battle for their Lord in a world which rejects His laws and dominion’.''
Maddox doesn’t name the school, but does note that its manifesto is available online. Curious about what those ellipses might conceal and cognizant that, in a typical Silly tale, omissions are always more illuminating than that which is filtered into print, a little googling seemed in order. Here is the full, undoctored quote as it appears in the Parkes Christian School’s handbook for parents:
“… children are trained to be not primarily good citizens of Australia (though we hope they will be) but soldiers of the King, who go out into the world equipped physically, mentally, spiritually and socially to do battle for their Lord in a world which rejects His laws and dominion.”
Notice the brackets, the bit Maddox sliced, discarded and replaced with deceptive dots? It is only six short words, so its disappearance could have had nothing to do with considerations of space. Those words vanished because Maddox wanted to put the smear on Christians and, as this is Easter, when Jesus freaks are deemed much in need of critical attention, the Silly published them as submitted.
In the interests of balance Maddox (or her Silly editor) might have done a quick google on, say, Islamic secondary schools. Picking one at random – Perth’s Australian Islamic College was the top pick on the Billabong’s computer -- might have revealed that those Christian sentiments have their militant counterparts amongst the bearded and veiled:
“The existence, love and fear of God are constantly conveyed to students. It is school policy that teachers in all subject areas acknowledge God and incorporate Islamic values in each lesson throughout the whole day. These efforts reflect AIC's view of the 'holistic' development of its students, both academically and spiritually.”
No doubt, come Ramadan, Maddox will chide the Musselmen about their cultural quarantine and educational isolation. And the Silly will print it.
Oh yes, the Silly will print it. You can bet on it.