Religious freedoms are at stake in school selections

Religious freedoms are at stake in school selections, an editorial by The Australian.

We have got to the point where there is a push to do away with hitherto uncontroversial provisions that help religious schools carry out their mission. These schools exist because of the expectation they will transmit to students the doctrine, values and conduct that make religion a living thing. We support safeguards for religious freedoms, including the right of schools to hire teachers who will help inculcate traditional Christian views of sexuality and marriage. …

Teachers in religious classrooms are not mere conduits for content. They are meant to serve as models and mentors for a way of life, an expectation that some schools make explicit in their stated preference for active adherents of the faith. This shouldn’t be surprising. There is a narrow window in which schools can shape the character of children. …

What message is sent if a teacher relaying a religious message appears at best unenthusiastic about it? Children are alert to hypocrisy. And teachers who by their own choice act out a public role in bad faith may find it exacts a heavy psychological price. As Australian Catholic University’s vice-chancellor Greg Craven puts it, must Greenpeace recruit an adviser “whose interest in whales lies in eating them”? Or should an HIV agency have to hire a social worker who believes the disease is a sign of God’s anger?

Freedom of association has already been violated by numerous “non-discrimination” laws, but as usual the mischief is in the selective enforcement. For instance, are gay restaurants ever pinged for hiring gay waiters — shouldn’t 97% of their waiters be straight?

Personally I reckon you should be able to hire whomever you want. That’s freedom of association. Gay restaurants should be free to hire gay personnel, and schools should be able to hire straight teachers. Clubs should be able to allow only men as members, and gyms should be free to say “women only”. Etc. Get government and ideologues out of our lives as much as possible.

hat-tip Stephen Neil