Media Release: Scrap school chaplains in May Budget

Scrap school 'chaplains' in this May Budget  

4-year funding is due to expire in May for the National School Chaplaincy Program
(NSCP) — but fundamentalist MPs want it renewed and expanded by 25 per cent!

"Child psychologists and education experts could not be more explicit — school chaplains do more harm than good." says author and ambassador for the National Secular Lobby (NSL), Jane Caro.

"The Liberal MPs promoting an expansion of the Chaplaincy Program do not have the best interests of children at heart.  Chaplains may well be nice people but they are 'unqualified' and have a clear religious agenda."

NSL is calling on all MPs to rise above religion and politics and let the NSCP lapse in May, because: 

  • chaplains have no training to deal with problems faced by today's schoolchildren, especially LGBTI.
  • principals who knowingly accept unskilled chaplains with religious motives are compounding the problem.
  • chaplains are hired in all states by evangelical churches who want children "to come to Jesus".
  • $750 million has already be wasted on a program with no benefit whatsoever to schoolchildren.

Prof. David Zyngier is engaged in educational research; he is also an NSL ambassador.  He says there are enormous pressures on schoolchildren today, and they need psychology professionals to help in times of stress.

"Kids don't need spiritual guidance from chaplains when schoolwork suffers due to social, emotional, or family circumstances — they need support from those professionally qualified in youth affairs," said Prof. Zyngier.

NSL says MPs, the media, and public at large need to realistically assess the flaws of the NSCP — and question the motives of those calling for an expansion of this defective chaplaincy scheme.

One has only to engage in some basic research of the evangelical churches supplying more than 3,000 chaplains — their "mission" is to win "disciples for Jesus", says Brian Morris, director of NSL.

He says their "external activities" aim to convert children to religion.  This is not a role for public schools!

"The evidence is overwhelming — school chaplains may seem well-intentioned but we need to question the religious and political motives of those who continue to support a badly flawed scheme," Mr Morris said.


National Secular Lobby Limited