Stevenson, Chrys: Politics of Australian religion

Stevenson, Chrys

The politics of Australian religion‘, The King’s Tribune, 25 August 2014

Examines the reasons for the bipartisan support gathered by the school chaplaincy program, despite the constitutional difficulties it has faced and doubts about its efficacy and ethics.

At face value, school chaplaincy makes no sense. In what universe does a government, with full support from the Opposition, place minimally trained, evangelical Christian missionaries into secular state schools as the front-line responders to vulnerable, at-risk kids?

The author believes the chaplaincy program has political motivations.

Chaplaincy began and continues as a blatant pork-barrel pay-off to the Christian constituency …  As Prime Ministers from both parties have fallen by the wayside, the National School Chaplaincy Program survived because both sides of politics view it as a valuable political tool. Chaplaincy functioned, for both the Coalition and the ALP, as a pork-barrel payment exchanged for the endorsement of religious lobbyists and fundamentalist mega-churches who promised (but may not have been able to deliver) bloc votes in marginal seats.

Another article by Kaye Lee, discussing similar issues and looking particularly at the influence of the Catholic hierarchy on politics.

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