Public Debate: Religious Education

Wheeler Centre Debate

Church statue

The Wheeler Centre invites you to an Intelligence Squared Debate: Faith-based Religious Education Has No Place in Public Schools at the Melbourne Town Hall on Wednesday, 26 February 2014

By the late 19th century, all Australian colonies had decreed that education must be compulsory, free and secular. By the middle of the twentieth century, ‘secular’ had gone out of fashion, seeing special religious instruction in all states. Today most primary schools in Australia must allow for special religious instruction.

In this incendiary first debate of 2014, our speakers will examine what it means to move away from the secular model and towards a spiritual one; debating the merits of our current model of volunteer church run instruction, as opposed to a balanced study of comparative religions, and contesting where such religious instruction sits within the central tenet of Australian democracy – the separation of church and state. Participants will include Professor Marion Maddox, author of Taking God to School: The End of Australia’s egalitarian education?, award-winning author David Vann, Baptist Minister and World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello, Dr Justine Toh, author and columnist Nick Cater and Professor Peter Sherlock.

Was the old legislation insisting on secularity out of touch with modern times, or is it more relevant than ever? Is it possible to teach children about the importance of faith without proselytising, and if so, where should the boundaries be drawn?

Chair: Michael Williams

For the proposition: Professor Marion Maddox, David Vann, Professor Peter Sherlock

Against the proposition: Tim Costello, Dr Justine Toh, Nick Cater

(You can listen to Professor Marian Maddox on Radio National’s Religion and Ethics Report, presented by Andrew West. The program was entitled Religious schools: are they undermining egalitarian education?)

What:Intelligence Squared Debates: Faith-based Religious Education Has No Place in Public Schools

When: Wednesday, 26 February 2014 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Where: Melbourne Town Hall, Swanston St

Cost: $20 Book online at Try Booking

More information: Wheeler Centre