My head, Parenting

Why I’m giving my kid Islamic scripture classes

March 1, 2017

Scripture classesScripture classes started for Year One students last week. For 30 minutes, once a week, kids sit in the religious class as chosen by their parents and they read a story from the appropriate scriptures, and then they discuss it.

If you opt for no scripture, the kids sit somewhere else and read a kid’s book possibly about Pig the Pug and presumably also discuss the underlying message in the book. Some schools offer ethics classes which I love the sound of because to me that could also be called “How not to be a dick”, but for now, ours does not.

At our school, although there are probably a few Greek and Macedonian Orthodox followers, a Jew or two, some Hindus and possibly a Scientologist in the mix, currently the school only offers Anglican, Catholic and Islamic scripture classes every Tuesday morning.

Although I am baptised Church of England, and I did go to Christian and Catholic school’s for most of my school life, my current faith could be described as fairly anti-organised religion.

Lately, the Catholics have been forced to hang their heads in shame for the atrocities inflicted upon innocent children which then the church swept under the musty carpet, denied outright or said it was acceptable in some circumstances. That’s not a great religion in my eyes.

Islam is a terrifying force of evil if you watch the news or listen to Donald Trumpet (as my children aptly think he is called.) This is really confusing for my almost seven-year-old son because some of his best friends are Muslims.

Luckily, at this early stage of his life, the biggest difference he sees is the food they eat from the canteen, the food they don’t eat during Ramadan, that they don’t do Christmas and that they are fond of the name Mohammed of whom there are a good few.

I know not much about the Anglican faith except that it’s seeded in Christianity so they are down with Jesus sandals, a couple of handfuls of commandments and a Virgin birth that we all really know is biologically a highly unlikely occurrence no matter how fervently that girl prayed.

Just because I am not jiggy with organised religion as such does not mean that I am without faith. In fact, I have quite strong spiritual beliefs that have raised many eyebrows in their unorthodox nature however faith is precisely as its name suggests. Something you believe without any proof.

My learnings in the Christian and Catholic schools I attended were mostly similar to the average school. I learned to read and write, I learned to despise maths and I learned that kids can be utter cruel arsewipes to each other, especially if someone is perceived as different.

I have grown up to believe that adults can too be utter cruel arsewipes to each other, also often if they perceive someone as different.

I do believe that many of the fundamental teachings of religion are for the greater good. They speak of respect, love, forgiveness, don’t fornicate with a married person that’s not yours and try not to covet your neighbour’s donkey.

All in all, early scripture studies are fables with good morals and offer an insight to something that often sets countryman against countryman, country against country, and has the ability to set the world alight.


D Man has is curious about religion. He asks often about Jesus, God, heaven and many other things that I have never really discussed and really don’t know how to answer in light of my own feelings about religion.

I called the vice principal and asked if D Man could do one term of each scripture class, and she paused for a moment before asking me why, when I had previously not nominated any religion?

I explained that at this age sitting in with his fellow students, learning a tiny snippet of their religions and beliefs, there is the possibility that he will have a greater acceptance of everyone’s faith regardless of his own beliefs as he grows up.

I also said if they were considering picking up more religions Hindu and Buddhism would be my picks.

She laughed, but she agreed that we could do it although no one has requested this before. She also said she didn’t think it was weird when I asked her because no matter how old you are you want the approval of the vice principal.

I would prefer he didn’t join a seminary, or become a pastor or convert to Islam because these are not religious beliefs that I hold myself, but I think knowing what religion is and having a basic knowledge of how and why people have faith in something they cannot see is a step towards teaching understanding and compassion.

No matter what anyone’s faith is, knowledge, understanding, and compassion are three things we should all believe in.


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  • Reply kidgredients March 1, 2017 at 11:01 am

    I’m doing the ethics course in two weeks time to be able to teach it at my daughter’s school. I think it’s incredibly important that there are choices available to our kids. I think every school should offer ethics as an alternative to scripture.

    • Reply DAN March 2, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      Hi, I too am a qualified Ethics teacher and think that the ethics curriculum is fantastic.
      Problem is, the religious providers in all public schools in NSW know that SEE (special ethics education) is a minority… only 5% of NSW students attend Ethics classes and the religious instructors know that with their financial backing and numbers of people instructing (some paid) SRE will continue to have un monitored access to all public schools without any control by the education department or the school. This then means that single indoctrinating religious instruction can continue upon our most vulnerable people… children.
      Ethics is just plugging a hole in the broken SRE system… but yes, while this outdated SRE system that takes away critical education time from all students is in place, Ethics does provide an alternative to a very very small few.
      Check out Fairness in Religions in School facebook group or

      • Reply Danielle March 2, 2017 at 2:22 pm

        Hi Dan, thank for dropping by with your interesting comments. I’ll check out your page.
        So, what is your end game? I don’t quite understand exactly what it is you and the concerned parents are pushing for.
        To put a halt to RE completely or to have it standardised?

        According to the vice principal, the very junior level I’m talking about it is fairly lightweight discussion and story telling as opposed to hardcore indoctrination. In theory, many of these kids will be coming from religious backgrounds and have an existing, if basic, knowledge of their faith also.

        Thanks for adding interesting points to this discussion. I appreciate you takking the time.

  • Reply Helen March 1, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    What a good idea to do a term of each! Didn’t even cross my mind to request that. Hugo’s school does Jewish studies, Christian studies or moral studies. He’s doing moral studies. I have no idea what it entails other than the fact that for the child of an atheist and an agnostic, it seemed like the only choice. Hugo did Christian studies at his preschool which was Presbyterian and he absolutely loved it! His fav thing all week. He did start carrying on about how he didn’t need to listen to me because “you’re not the boss, Jesus is the boss” so watch out for that!

    • Reply Danielle March 2, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      I do like the idea of moral studies… morals are good. Knowing right from wrong, that kids of thing. Nurturing moral compasses.
      Yeah, if I get one “Jesus is the boss” I’ll be able to bamboozle him with a theologian discussion about who wouls win a wrestle between Allah and God. 🙂

  • Reply mel146 March 1, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    I remember my neighbour’s daughter, when she was about 9, her school year did a whole body of work on religion – learning about, investigating and ultimately doing assignments on a whole variety of religions, not just the usual Catholic, Anglican, etc, as a class subject rather than an actual scripture class. I was thrilled and so excited as my son was soon to start at the same school and I couldn’t WAIT until he was in that year and would be able to explore different religions. Absolutely gutted when he got to that point to discover it seemed to have been a one-off event, I don’t know that it was ever repeated.

    How much more tolerant would we be if EVERY school student did the same??

    • Reply Danielle March 2, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Yeah, total bummer. I think learning the theology side as opposed to the scripture stuff is really beneficial.Religion ain’t going away, so yeah, tolerance and acceptance are key.

  • Reply DAN March 2, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Hi, like you, there are thousands of parents that are asking questions regarding religious instruction in public schools in NSW.
    It is only now that awareness information is becoming available, not from the education department or the particular religious instructors, rather, parent & concerned citizen groups like “Fairness in Religions in School” or ‘FIRIS’
    Parents are now learning that the department of education has absolutely no control of Religious instruction and its class content, as the religious providers themselves are the ones who approve their class content.
    Nor does the school approve religious instruction in any way even though it is listed on the school enrollment form.
    Parents are also becoming aware that any student that does ‘non scripture’ is NOT allowed to engage in any formal education… this means that ALL students are missing out on valuable education time, all because of the outdated SRE (special religious education) legislation that is currently in place.
    Parent/concerned citizen power is now getting great traction in the media and will continue this drive to get fairness for all public school students in NSW, just like Victoria now has.
    Go check out Fairness in Religions in Schools facebook group.

  • Reply Sam Stone March 5, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    My little lady goes to a school that has ethics. It is great.

  • Reply Susie March 6, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    That’s what I did with my kids – Our school had Catholic, Anglican, Bahai and Jewish religions (before we got Ethics classes). I rotated my kids through each religion for a year. (Except I was warned off enrolling them in the Jewish classes – something about not wanting the ‘try-before-you-buy types). They then did/do the Ethics classes – because their father is of the atheist persuasion. But they come home saying Ethics is “so boring”. (Tempted to send her back to Bahai!).

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