This is odd. In Australia, school kids can opt-in to take scripture classes, and the kids who opt out get to sit in the school during those hours doing nothing, which seems a bit of a waste. So the schools have a new plan: while the religious kids are off memorizing bible verses, the secular kids will get classes in ethics which will “cover topics including respect, bullying, animal rights and questions about life and death.”
That sounds reasonable to me, and a good use of time. Guess who doesn’t like the idea, though? Church leaders! There is actually a rule that prohibits secular students from any formal learning during that special scripture time. The Catholics are whining that giving non-Christians an introduction to ethics could “jeopardise the future of religious education”. Ministers are complaining that it’s unfair to give an introduction to ethics without input from their religious point of view. Apparently, if you’re not a Christian, you’re expected to spend your time working on coloring books or perfecting your thumb-twiddling, rather than actually learning something.
So now there’s a poll on this subject. It looks like a lot of people in NSW are in favor of enforced idleness for secular kids.