1. Catholic priest Father David O’Hearn has been stood down from his Nelson Bay parish pending investigation of a professional conduct matter. The Herald understands police are involved in the investigation. Another priest, Father Peter Brock, was stood down from his Maitland parish in late last year, it’s suspected police are involved in that investigation also. I wonder what’s going on in the Hunter Valley?

2. Lots of talk about the rejection of the proposal to build a Muslim school in Camden in the news. There has been some bigotry in some of the arguments against the Quranic Society school (and we seem to have a new Pauline Hanson) but you have to wonder why they need a school for 1200 when there are only 211 Muslims in the area? Personally I don’t care what religion a school supports, I just don’t see any need for religious based schools at all. I don’t see how they can be a good thing, I also don’t see how single sex schools can be a good thing.

The opinion piece tries to argue that specialist (read single faith) schools can help integrate or assimilate migrants and states that religious schools remain as important as ever.

They provide a possibly marginalised immigrant group with education which is both sympathetic to minority concerns, and mainstream in orientation.

I can’t see how mainstream a single faith school is going to be. Sure, if government oversees the school and ensures they stick to the state curriculum then they will at least get mainstream education. On the other hand they will be indoctrinated with the particular single faith beliefs, perpetuating false ideas and leading to further ‘us and them’ mentality. Wouldn’t it be better for all children to go to non-denominational government schools where no particular religion is taught?

3. A US soldier has been suspended for distributing coins to Iraqis that quote the Bible. US troops have also been accused of acting like Christian missionaries and that the Iraqi occupation is a Crusader war. Well Duh! When your President says God told him to invade Iraq and atheist soldiers have been victimised by their own countrymen it hardly comes as a surprise that there are elements of a Crusader war.

7 Comments to “The things you read…”

  1. Karen says:

    I’m a Yank who attended a Catholic girl’s high school back in that heady time after Vatican II when U.S. Catholic schools were more concerned about producing well-educated, compassionate, politically aware citizens than little religious robots. I benefited from attending a single-sex high school, which gave us some insulation from the social pressures that shunt girls into “supporting” life-roles, dependent upon others for the necessary support of their self-esteem. We weren’t socially isolated; there were plenty of opportunities to socialize with boys attending a nearby male single-sex high school. We simply didn’t have to put up with the distraction of boys (and vice-versa) in class.

    Adolescent life is complicated enough without having to worry about the immediate social implications of being female and being really good at math/science/writing/etc. I expect there are advantages for boys, too; they get the individual attention that might be denied them in a mixed-gender classroom. There is much to be said for single-sex high-school education.

  2. AV says:

    Karen: Oz is arguing against single-religion schools, not necessarily single-sex schools.

    Having said that, I’d be interested to see the evidence that single-sex schooling produces better academic outcomes on aggregate, having controlled for factors such as socioeconomic background which might also play a significant role in how well a student performs at school. A 2006 UK study found that single-sex schools yield no comparative advantages.

    I also suspect (though I don’t know how long ago you went to school) that many of the social pressures shunting girls into “supporting” life roles are less pronounced nowadays than when you were at school.

  3. ozatheist says:

    Karen, I have heard the argument before, that single sex schools provide a better learning environment, but I’ve never seen much evidence for it. One also has to wonder how these people cope in the real world, which isn’t single sex. Do children taught in single sex schools fair worse in the working environment because they haven’t had the pressure to compete with the opposite sex?

    Actually AV I do argue against single-sex schools, basically my argument is that in the ‘real world’ we are a multi-cultural, mixed sex, multi-religion society. So why bring children up in a single anything environment?

    A large proportion of single-sex schools are also single-religious schools so the children are being brought up in a very isolated environment. There are exceptions to every rule and Karen it sounds like you benefited from attending one of these types of schools, but I wonder how well the majority faired?

  4. ozatheist says:

    Just noticed the SMH has an excellent reply to yesterday’s opinion piece. The letter writers opinion:

    there are some values that schools are ideally placed to promote: equality, diversity and respect for the common good of society. The simple act of children from diverse backgrounds coming together and receiving the same comprehensive education on an equal footing will promulgate these values. Placing cultural and religious barriers between children in the public sphere works against that.

  5. Mistress Dragon says:

    In response to the Priest at Nelson Bay.
    I have family in that parish and it seems to me that that priest has major issues. I know for a fact that he won’t allow males to help the youngsters who want to be altar boys and girls because he believes all males are pedophiles.. I’m serious.. It makes me wonder if he is going on his own life experience and thats what makes him so paronoid. ya gotta ask yourself why a dude with such a high profile would go into hiding if he hasn’t done something that would get him jailed? After all , the Catholic Church has protected murderers, rapists and abusers for centurys, why stop now?

  6. ozatheist says:

    Thanks for the heads-up Mistress Dragon, and welcome to my blog.

    he who argues loudest maybe the guiltiest?

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