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The Australian federal government has allotted $245 million for funding school chaplains for another four years.
However, on 19 June 2014, five High Court justices upheld a legal challenge against such funding.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants the program to continue and says the funding might be directed through state governments. So it's all about funding. Or is it?
The rules governing chaplains these days are restrictive – no "proselytising", no encouraging personal commitment to God, no teaching Christian moral values.
You'd think only very fanatical atheists could object – those wanting, not just to end funding, but to boot chaplains out altogether.
In an alternative universe, the government mightn't fund education at all, with the churches providing schools, and parents – aware that children need absolute standards – choosing faith-based schools rather than "secular" institutions.
History suggests it could happen again if the will were to be there.
Mother Mary MacKillop (Saint Mary of the Cross) never permitted government funding of any schools that she pioneered.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 27 No 7 (August 2014), p. 15
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