Law and Religious Instruction Policy No Barrier to RI Providers

The following newsletter, dated 12 April 2016, was downloaded from this page. Until recently, it was downloadable from the link titled ‘RI in schools.docx’. We downloaded it ourselves on 10 September 2016.

The newsletter is attributed to Fiona Cran, a member of the Religious Instruction Quality Assurance (RIQA) Task Group – the people who are supposed to ‘oversee the quality of RI’.

We have highlighted  – in red – parts of the newsletter that are of particular concern to us.

It is becoming true of us as it was in Jesus day that in John 15:20 Jesus tells his followers that if they persecuted him they will persecute you who follow. Whilst in Australia we still have huge freedoms, there are groups increasingly working towards eradicating them and looking for reasons to do so. 2 Corinthians 6:3 says “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.”So far I see three groups seeking to remove RI from state schools [though their attack is only aimed at Christians not Islam, Buddhist or Bhai from what I see]. They are:

  • FIRIS (Fairness in religion in state schools)
  • QPSS (Qld Parents for secular schools)
  • The Rationalist Movement

They are currently working a campaign in Qld to discredit CRI and to whip up media reports (often inaccurate) to encourage parents to complain and have it removed from schools. Some of you may have already seen some of the reporting. They are also lobbying politicians and others to ensure their voice is heard.I have attached some information that demonstrates the need to ensure we do not give any stumbling block to the CRI ministry in schools. More than ever it is important to do the following if we are to keep ourselves in a strong position.

  1. Follow legislation and regulation! to the letter! 

Read carefully again:http://education.qld.gov.au/schools/school-operations/ri-policy-statement.html

  • Do not give anyone any reason to complain because you called CRI, RE or yourself teacher rather than an instructor.
  • Ensure your school has an opt in policy for CRI which is per law. If you have been getting away with it so far it has been a blessing but it can be used against you. Speak to your principal about doing opt in.
  • Ensure no evangelistic language is being used at school or in public places or in public literature.
  1. Pray! Pray and pray! 

Pray for your school, staff, families, CRI team, RIQA and your reps on RIQA [ myself, Carole Danby, Jonathon Sergeant, and others]. Pray for continued support from Bevan Brennan [ deputy director general of Qld Education] who is supportive of RI. 

  1. Be a voice for good!

I have been asking parents who love CRI to write to their principal, politician and Qld Education letting them know how great CRI is and how it benefits their family. If we can generate positive feedback it will balance the negative that is happening and help the government to see that it is only a vocal minority that does not value CRI. Get on your schools P and C or ask other Christians to join the schools P and C. This is where the conversations happen and decisions are made. FIRIS and QPSS are also trying their hardest to get onto P and C’s.

  1. Training

Make sure everyone has attended training and does so on a regular basis. One of the huge complaints against Victoria was that many had not done any training. . Do not run student protection training or issue certificates in it as we are not allowed to and this can be used against us. There are trainers willing to travel and run training for you (contact me for a list of trainers)On the advice of others who have trodden this road already, be careful about engaging with anti CRI groups who may twist your words for their end. It can be discouraging to be under fire but it will allow us the opportunity to shine brighter. God is for us, who can be against us? We just need to ensure we are shining bright and making sure what we do, we do really well. I know that the vast majority of us do a great job of CRI and kids love our lessons. It is really only the odd occasion when someone does the wrong thing in CRI that it creates a slur on the program. If you have situations that are not honouring to God or to the profile of CRI make sure you address them quickly. CRI is not the ministry for everyone and personally I believe it is better not to have a class covered than the wrong person involved.

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