August 8, 2010

An increase in State-funded school chaplains

We may have an athe­ist leader but she sure does­n’t shy away from buy­ing votes from the reli­gious wing. I would much pre­fer any state-fund­ed pro­grams to be estab­lish­ing ratio­nal thought in schools, not the opposite.

The Depart­ment of Unpro­nounce­able Acronyms pro­vides a FAQ on the pro­gram includ­ing this inter­est­ing answer about school chap­lain faith, although I find the answer on why the gov­ern­ment funds this pro­gram more telling. There’s no real ratio­nale apart from “Chap­lains play[ing] a sig­nif­i­cant role in… sup­port­ing the well­be­ing, val­ues and spir­i­tu­al­i­ty of young peo­ple”; a high­ly debat­able state­ment at best. Noth­ing a ded­i­cat­ed youth work­er or coun­sel­lor could­n’t do, prob­a­bly with a lot more frank­ness and pragmatism.

Dur­ing my high-school years I have fond mem­o­ries of avoid­ing the week­ly reli­gion class through any means nec­es­sary. Even at 13 I under­stood the absur­di­ty of those class­es being explic­it­ly opt-out instead of opt-in; con­sid­er the par­ents and car­ers who don’t think about reli­gion and thus aren’t like­ly to know their child is being deliv­ered a dose of Arbi­trary Belief Sys­tem™ each week. From my per­spec­tive it’s an ill-fit­ting cog in a ratio­nal, sup­pos­ed­ly-sec­u­lar edu­ca­tion sys­tem, and I’ve no inter­est in main­tain­ing what church lead­ers con­sid­er the ‘spe­cial reli­gious edu­ca­tion sys­tem’. Eek.

posted by Andrew

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