The Rationalist Society of Australia has urged the Queensland government to remove Religious Instruction from public schools, concerned that Citipointe Church missionaries use the program to “harvest” children.
RSA president Meredith Doig has written to state education minister Grace Grace (pictured) to welcome her strong response to Citipointe Christian College’s decision to require students to sign an agreement denouncing homosexuality and subscribing to traditional gender roles.
In the letter (see below) Dr Doig pointed out that Minister Grace’s own education department allows missionaries from Citipointe Church to enter the classrooms of public schools each week to deliver scripture lessons as part of the Religious Instruction (RI) program.
QLD edu minister @gracextwo was appalled by #Citipointe College’s behaviour. Yet she allows Citipointe missionaries into public schools to teach scripture & ‘harvest’ kids! Minister, when will you get Religious Instruction out of schools? https://t.co/AIZFn48AUZ#auspol#qldpol pic.twitter.com/SOC0x0PkgZ
— MeredithDoig (@MeredithDoig) February 3, 2022
In a video published on Citipointe Church West’s social media last year, a volunteer RI instructor, in a discussion about how to reach “lost” people, spoke about how the program in public schools provided an “amazing mission field”.
“What we find in Queensland is that we actually get into the school classroom, the kids are in learning mode – we are not entertaining – and we’re talking about Jesus. We’re talking about the full counsel of the gospel. They get to hear that,” the instructor said.
“…if you’re doing one year level, it’s an investment of an hour and a half a week. And with that, you can have a potential to harvest hundreds for the Lord. And disciple them afterwards.
“So as we do this one and as we do the Easter story as well over this next term, we’re going to see more harvest, and it’s very exciting times.”
Under the RI program in Queensland, normal class curriculum is stopped for an hour each week when religious volunteers take over the classroom to deliver Bible classes. Parents are forced to opt their children out of the classes. In Victoria, on the other hand, such classes are held outside of class time.
Si Gladman is Campaigns & Communications Coordinator at the Rationalist Society of Australia. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @si_gladman
Image: Grace Grace MP (Facebook)
Letter to Minister Grace, 3 February 2022
Dear Minister Grace,
On behalf of the Rationalist Society of Australia, I’m writing to thank you for your swift and strong response to Citipointe Christian College’s decision to require students to sign an agreement renouncing homosexuality and subscribing to traditional gender roles.
We agree with you that the school’s behaviour is totally unacceptable.
However, I wish to raise with you our concern that your government’s policy on Religious Instruction allows missionaries from the Citipointe Church to ply their wares in public school classrooms.
A video posted on Citipointe Church West’s social media last year showed a volunteer instructor talking about how your government’s Religious Instruction program in public schools provided an “amazing mission field” for the church.
“…if you’re doing one year level, it’s an investment of an hour and a half a week. And with that, you can have a potential to harvest hundreds for the Lord. And disciple them afterwards,” the RI instructor said.
Queensland’s public schools should be secular and children should not be made the target of “harvesting” for local churches.
Students’ class time is precious learning time. It should not be appropriated by church missionaries taking over the classroom to carry out mission work.
Our public schools are not churches!
I call on your government to remove Religious Instruction from public schools.
Dr Meredith Doig
President, Rationalist Society of Australia