Friday, March 10, 2006

ADF steps in after atheist entity challenges status of collegiate Catholic group

Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund's Center for Academic Freedom have written a letter to University of Wisconsin-Madison officials in response to demands made by the Freedom from Religion Foundation that the school de-fund a Catholic student organization.

"Universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David French. "Eliminating funding in order to placate an outside political organization amounts to viewpoint discrimination. We have written to the university to remind it that the law requires that its students and student organizations have equal rights to free speech and student fee funding. FFRF's demands have no merit."

FFRF's Feb. 26 letter to school officials complained about funding allocated to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Roman Catholic Foundation. FFRF argued the university should de-fund UWRCF simply because the student group speaks from a Catholic viewpoint. On behalf of UWRCF and in response to FFRF's demands, ADF issued a letter to university clarifying the law and noting the university cannot de-fund a group simply because it dislikes its message.

According to UWRCF spokesperson Tim Kruse, the 501(c)(3) organization received funding from the school's student funding committee last year. However, the committee disputed, then cut, several of UWRCF's budget items for this year. UWRCF appealed to UW's student judiciary, who overturned the cuts and awarded most of the requested student fee budget.

ADF's letter to university officials may be viewed at

A statement from UWRCF's lay leader in response to the FFRF's demand is available at

"Profession of faith or a particular set of values does not relegate a person or a student organization to second-class status," French said. "ADF will continue to monitor the situation to make sure UWRCF's constitutional rights are not violated."



Incompetent teachers in Glasgow who fail to improve their performance face being sacked to combat the long-running problem. The promise by Steven Purcell, council leader, to take tougher action was welcomed yesterday by Scotland's largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland. His comments follow a government report showing that one-fifth of school-leavers lack the skills necessary to get a job because bad teachers are "tolerated" by education bosses.

Mr Purcell insisted it was up to head teachers to decide which staff needed removed, but promised to support them. He said: "Only head teachers know if there are under-performance issues, but I don't think it is a secret that it is an issue that has been shied away from in this city for too long."

A report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education last month highlighted "unacceptable variation" in teaching quality across Scotland. The schools watchdog is also to publish a separate report on the performance of individual education authorities. Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the EIS, said: "We don't want incompetent teachers. All I ask is that the necessary employment procedures and fairness are followed."


Anti-Christian education in Australian schools

The publication of the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed was considered insulting by Muslims and, notwithstanding freedom of expression, the argument was put by many in the West that the cartoons were culturally offensive and should never have been published. Witness the way nuns and priests are vilified and mocked in Sydney's gay and lesbian Mardi Gras and the offensive nature of so-called artworks such as Piss Christ and it quickly becomes apparent that moral outrage is sometimes selective. As noted in George Weigel's The Cube and the Cathedral, it is not a good time to be a Christian. Secular humanism is in the ascendant, evidenced by the European Union Constitution's refusal to mention Christianity in its preamble, and "European man has convinced himself that in order to be modern and free, he must be radically secular".

Further evidence of the way Christianity is either disparaged or ignored can be found in the way history is taught. Beginning with the national studies of society and the environment curriculum developed during the '90s, the focus is very much on diversity and cultural relativism. Learning is defined in terms of gender, multicultural, global, futures and indigenous perspectives, and you can search in vain for a substantial recognition and treatment of Australia's Anglo/Celtic tradition or this nation's Judeo/Christian heritage.

This year's Victorian history curriculum for prep to Year 10 continues in the same vein. Students are told that Australia has always been multicultural and that our history is one of multiple heritages, influences and connections. The focus is on various and diverse cultural groups without any recognition that the contributions of some should be more valued than others. In line with a postmodern view of the world, one where there are no absolutes and where knowledge is subjective, students are also told that historical understanding is multiple, conflicting and partial as "there are many perspectives on events and that explanations are often incomplete and contested".

School textbooks such as the Jacaranda's SOSE Alive 2 and Humanities Alive 2 offer further evidence of the way Australia's mainstream cultural and religious beliefs and institutions are belittled. As noted in Thomas E.Woods's How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilisation, a strong argument can be put, especially during the Middle Ages, that the church was critically important in promoting learning, scientific discovery and advances in agriculture and animal husbandry. Not so, according to the writers of the Jacaranda textbooks. In the chapter Medieval Life, the power of the church, instead of being based on the strength or truth of its teachings, is said to be based on controlling people by making them "terrified of going to hell" or facing "torture and death".

The references to monks and priests also present the church in a negative light. Students are told about "corrupt church men" who lie in order "to attract pilgrims to get money for their monastery" and who are more interested in "drinking and gambling". In describing the Renaissance, with its emphasis on classical learning, the implication is that the church was interested only in controlling people in a heavy-handed, doctrinaire way. Ignored is the role of the monasteries in preserving Greek and Roman manuscripts and the church's involvement in establishing universities throughout Europe. As noted by Woods: "The fact is, the church cherished, preserved, studied and taught the works of the ancients, which would otherwise have been lost. Western civilisation's admiration for the written word and for the classics comes to us from the Catholic Church that preserved both through the barbarian invasions."

The most egregious example of the way education has succumbed to moral relativism is the textbooks' treatment of September 11. The textbook presents the Muslim terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Centre as the moral equaivalent of Christian Crusaders, as both gave their lives for a religious cause and both expected they would "go straight to heaven when they died". Students are also asked: "Those who destroyed the World Trade Centre are regarded as terrorists. Might it be fair to say that the Crusaders who attacked the Muslim inhabitants of Jerusalem were also terrorists?"

In addition to the selective nature of the outrage against the Danish cartoons and the fact Islam cannot be lampooned while Christianity is fair game is the irony that the very values most often stated in defence of accepting diversity and difference arise from the Judeo/Christian tradition. As such, there can be no place for moral or cultural relativism. Tolerance and respect for others, the rule of law, separation of powers and popular sovereignty are all essential aspects of Western civilisation and have strong links with the Christian faith.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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