“Jesus Ban” Proposed in Australian Schools Sparks Fury

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The state of Queensland in Australia has proposed prohibiting school children from talking about Jesus, The Australian reports.

In March, education officials published a review of religious instructions used in primary schools. The review found out that students talking about Jesus in the playground could be considered evangelizing those who do not take religion classes.

In the “Jesus ban,” giving out Christmas cards, making Christmas tree decorations, composing Gospel songs or poems, and talking about Jesus outside the classroom are prohibited.

The Queensland Department of Education and Training thinks that this creates an “unsafe” environment and school principals are advised to prevent this from happening.

According to three departmental reviews into religious instruction materials, evangelizing “could ­adversely affect the school’s ability to provide a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for all students.”

In the “Jesus ban,” giving out Christmas cards, making Christmas tree decorations, composing Gospel songs or poems, and talking about Jesus outside the classroom are prohibited.

Education Minister Kate Jones was quick to deny any change in policy on religious instruction. “The policy in place in Queensland state schools today…has been the same for more than 20 years.” She added that, “No one is telling a child what they can and can’t say in the playground.”

Religious leaders and legal experts fear that the review document is a crackdown on Christian students. School principals might conduct disciplinary action to children who share their faith with classmates.

Coast MPs denounced the reported ban. “The notion of trying to take pictures of Jesus out of Christmas cards is ludicrous,” said Fairfax MP Ted O’Brien. “What do they think Christmas stands for? Are they going to try and take Christ out of the word Christmas next?”

A practicing Christian, O’Brien tagged the “Jesus ban” as “ridiculous.” He said no one should stop her five-year-old daughter from sending Christmas cards with an infant Jesus in it.

“Those who wish to close down people’s faith will hide behind a high moral ground of trying to ensure equality and schools aren’t about religion. I don’t buy that for a moment,” the MP said.

Sources:
Rebecca Urban. (2017) Theaustralian.com.au. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/education/education-officials-playing-god-with-schoolyard-policy/news-story/ffd5e646111ce9a0e29864c792919c1d

Scott sawyer. (2017). Sunshine Coast Daily. https://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/no-christ-in-christmas-next-school-jesus-ban-spark/3205543/

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Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest in reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at Joyce@onechristianvoice.com.