July 6th 2013

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The legacy of Nelson Mandela

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Last-minute law change a threat to religious freedom

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Bid to suppress free speech at WA parliament

OPINION: How 'tolerance' is used to curb our freedoms

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Labor in worse shape today than in 1975

EDITORIAL: Behind the Rudd, Gillard stand-off

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Small business -- too big to ignore

OPINION: Moderate Islam the antidote to Islamism

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Taiwan, Philippines fishing spat muddies SE Asian waters

SCHOOLS: Christianity airbrushed from Labor's civics curriculum

UNITED STATES: Persecution of Christians in the US military

LIFE ISSUES: Legal loophole threat to Irish pro-life consensus

HISTORY: How evil triumphs with our apathy and complacency

OPINION: The pros and cons of types of punishment

OPINION: Ministry for Men's Interests needed

CINEMA: Zombie tales reveal our innermost fears

BOOK REVIEW Rediscovering the idea of civilised liberty

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Christianity airbrushed from Labor's civics curriculum

by Dr Kevin Donnelly

News Weekly, July 6, 2013

Julia Gillard’s compulsory national curriculum, especially civics and citizenship, provides additional evidence as to why her Gonski-inspired school funding model must be opposed.

In a recent Swiss poll, such are the concerns about social fragmentation, economic slowdown and loss of cultural identity that 79 per cent of voters agreed that asylum laws should be tightened.

In 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron declared that state-sponsored multiculturalism was breeding generations of young people hostile to the British way of life. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in 2010 described multiculturalism as a failed policy and argued that those wanting to live in Germany should integrate.

Central to overseas developments is the realisation that if societies are to survive and prosper there must be a commitment to citizenship and a willingness to support the institutions, values and way of life on which tolerance and respect for others are based.

Not so, according to those responsible for the Gillard government’s national curriculum that is being forced on all Australian schools as a condition of funding.

The history curriculum adopts a relativistic stance, stating Australia is made up of myriad cultures all deserving acceptance and respect. Children are made to focus on indigenous and Asian perspectives, and the debt owed to Western civilisation and our Judeo-Christian heritage is ignored.

The civics curriculum argues in favour of a postmodern, deconstructed definition of citizenship.

It declares: “Individuals may identify with multiple citizenships at any one point in time and over a period of time. Citizenship means different things to different people at different times and depending on personal perspectives, their social situation and where they live. This is reflected in multiple perspectives of citizenship that reflect personal, social, spatial and temporal dimensions of citizenship.”

The flaws are manifest. What right do Australians have to expect migrants to accept our laws, institutions and way of life? Such a subjective view of citizenship allows Islamic fundamentalists to justify mistreating women and carrying out jihad against non-believers.

As we saw in the race riots in Sweden this year, if there are no common values and beliefs that bind a community, society soon fragments into what Geoffrey Blainey once termed “a nation of tribes”.

One of the growing terrorist threats is home-grown extremists who feel no loyalty to the society in which they were born and raised. While nodding in the direction of the liberal, democratic values, the curriculum makes no acknowledgement of the values and beliefs that make Australia stable, peaceful and tolerant.

It states that Australia is “a secular nation with a multicultural and multi-faith society”; one where students are told they should “learn to value their own cultures, languages and beliefs, and those of others”.

Yet, while it is true that Australia is a secular society, ours is predominantly a Christian country, and Judeo-Christian values are the bedrock of our institutions and way of life.

Tolerance, respect for others, equality before the law, individual liberty, honesty and truth-telling are values that define us as a nation and they can only be fully understood in the context of the Christian religion.

In the curriculum, Christianity is airbrushed from the nation’s civic life, although there is a reference to “religious groups to which Australians of Asian heritage belong”. The consultation report says: “The treatment of religion within the paper needs to be reviewed to include more reference to non-religious views.”

Mandating a cultural Left national curriculum on schools will leave students with a biased understanding of their responsibilities as citizens.

Dr Kevin Donnelly is director of the Melbourne-based Education Standards Institute and author of Educating Your Child: It’s Not Rocket Science! (available from News Weekly Books). This article first appeared in The Australian, June 19, 2013.

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