Victoria bans religious groups from running prayer groups, handing out Bibles in state schools

Victoria has banned religious organisations from running prayer groups, handing out Bibles and delivering other unauthorised information sessions in state schools during school hours.

The directive has been issued by the Education Department under recent changes to the delivery of Special Religious Instruction (SRI) to students in public schools.

A government spokeswoman said the directive only affected religious activities that were run by unaccredited teachers or external groups.

But Dan Flynn from the Australian Christian Lobby said the guidelines appeared to cover all activities by students.

“In the SRI policy, the formal wording appears to ban prayer groups, youth groups, clubs, info sessions or workshops,” Mr Flynn said.

“It says that those forums or the events constitute promotion of specific religions in schools outside SRI and are not permitted.

“It’s one thing to say that education in state schools should be secular – we agree with that – but it’s quite another step to drive any religion out of schools, particularly at lunch time when the children are free to form their own clubs and do their own activities.

“This is a serious limitation on freedom of association, freedom of religion for high school students and state school students.”

Parent Lara Wood from Fairness In Religions In Schools (FIRIS) said the claim that students’ rights were being infringed was “absurd”.

“It’s not against any individual students of faith expressing their faith or bringing a Bible into school and praying,” Ms Wood said.

“These new clarifications of the law are saying that religious groups and corporations can not use our schools as mission fields to come in and use the schools as an extension to operate their youth ministry.

“This is really no different then if the Minister of Education said to the Liberal or Labor Party that you can’t go into schools at lunch time and hold political rallies.”

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-31/victoria-bans-prayer-groups-and-other-religious-events-school/5637242

Black GOP Staffer Fired After Complaining About White Privilege On Facebook

Black GOP Staffer Fired After Complaining About White Privilege On Facebook

 

Some things are common knowledge. The sky is mostly blue if you don’t live in Los Angeles. Water is wet if you can still find it in Texas. White people — particularly those who espouse conservative beliefs — don’t want to be reminded of their White privilege

I assumed most people who reach a certain arc of adulthood know to carry these truths with them, but in the case Regina V. Ross Roundtree (pictured), that last fun fact is a newly lesson learned following her abrupt firing from the Penny Bacchiochi (pictured above) for lieutenant governor campaign. Roundtree, a paid consultant, was let go of her duties once word got out that she wrote a Facebook post complaining about her employer’s opponent, Heather Bond Somers, making jabs about her and essentially exploiting the perks of White privilege.

The post — now deleted — featured Roundtree claiming:

“People think what they think, but help the party out and don’t plaster your complete sense of privilege. This is an example of what is sometimes phrased as ‘White privilege.’ The way Heather talks. The arrogance and belittlement of Penny’s and her family’s feelings or any other person who has experienced racism. Our feelings or the fact that we may say something is an embarrassment to the party.”

Somers’ campaign manager, Jon Conradi, responded in a statement:

“The Heather Somers campaign calls on Bacchiochi to immediately disavow herself of these divisive comments which have no place in the Republican Party or in public discourse.”

Well, I’m not about to get axed for talking about White privilege, so let’s just keep this party going.

The Somers campaign’s response is — for lack of better phrase — typical “White people s**t.” As in, the Somers campaign can release campaign ads that speak to certain issues that stoke the fears of GOP primary voters — who love Black people about as much as David Duke wants to call Fantasia his soul mate — and dismiss Bacchiochi’s discussion of the problems that come with having an interracial family –Bacchiochi’s husband is Black. But don’t you dare talk about racism and White privilege. No, no, no, that’s divisive and Michael Jackson already told us that it don’t matter if you Black or White so stop bringing up old stuff.

In an editorial, the New Haven Register sided with the now-fired Black GOP staffer, writing:

From what we’ve seen of the nasty three-way Republican race for lieutenant governor so far, Roundtree’s comments are both accurate and well within the bounds of discussing the issue of race and the job for which she was hired — outreach to people of color who feel the Republican party is clueless about their experiences and needs.

Somers’ reaction to the Facebook post on Thursday further proved Roundtree’s point. And the fact Bacchiochi felt she needed to quickly fire her over it shows that Connecticut Republicans remain clueless about conversations of race.

Mind you, Roundtree was hired to help Republicans reach out to minority voters in Connecticut’s cities. We can now confirm how that is of little importance to the Republican Party of Connecticut.

Worse, Somers reportedly complained to the New Haven Register in an editorial board meeting about forcing the integration of public schools. Why? Well, she “wished students in her town would just check ‘other’ when identifying race so it wouldn’t be an issue.” It’s always White people telling people of color to get over a burden they’ve never had to experience. That is White privilege and just because Heather Bond Somers chooses to ignore it doesn’t negate its existence.

Unfortunately, the only person who had to suffer for that reality is Regina V. Ross Roundtree. Somers is not the only person to blame, though. The cowardly campaign Roundtree worked for bears the brunt of the responsibility.

Michael Arceneaux blogs at thecynicalones.com, tweets at @youngsinick, and praises Beyoncé’s name everywhere he goes.