ASA backs Dalai Lama call for “ethics classes” to be taught from kindergarten. The Advertiser online. 4th from last.
The Dalai Lama has been saying it for years, so how refreshing to see him quoted in The Advertiser (“Politicians stump even His Holiness“, 22/6/13).
To a crowd of 5000 he urged “educators” to teach a “code of secular ethics”, starting in kindergarten. He also states that moral principles need not be based on religion; something that atheists have been saying for centuries.
But will religions — of all stripes — accept such a reasoned view, or will they continue to teach children the divisive and conflicting moral doctrines that we’ve witnessed throughout history?
And will governments have the backbone to stand against faith-based lobbies and replace religious studies with secular ethics classes — at least in all public schools?
But is this a secular bridge too far for Jennifer Rankine, the current Education Minister? Her parliamentary profile makes no mention on her religion, unlike other MPs. Michael Atkinson, for instance, lists his religion as Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) a bizarre fusion of Catholicism and Anglicanism, created only in 1991.
Perhaps it’s time that all MPs declared their faith, or lack thereof. A raft of social policy has been thwarted over decades, on the basis of religious dogma.
Voters may feel that MPs should pass social legislation based on humanist values, rather than their personal brand of Christian morality. Teaching secular ethics in schools would provide far better grounding for future MPs to deal with sensitive contemporary issues — exactly as the Dalai Lama has advocated.
President, Atheism SA Inc.