If you listen to the loudest voices, you could be forgiven for thinking that school chaplaincy these days is nothing more than a blatant attempt at spiritual salesmanship or religious recruitment.
But you’d be wrong. Chaplaincy is a vital and well established part of the life of hundreds of schools around Australia, serving student needs alongside the support available from teachers and school counsellors, and is widely respected by parents. The only ones opposing school chaplaincy seem to be the militant atheists and secularists committed to attacking all things religious.
Federal School Education Minister Peter Garrett’s recent announcement that the government will move to introduce secular welfare workers to complement the work of school chaplains looks like a sop to the atheists, but it has the potential to undermine chaplaincy funding.
Chaplaincy works, and enjoys favour with an overwhelming majority of students, teachers and parents. Introducing a new stream of secular welfare workers in schools is fine, but not at the expense of the excellent school chaplaincy program.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, Sunday 18 September 2011.