Queensland faith leaders have revealed independent polling shows Australians overwhelmingly support religious instruction (RI) being taught in schools.
A survey conducted by the respected McCrindle Research earlier this year found almost 80 per cent of Australians agree that “schools should be a safe place for students to explore deeper questions of faith and belief”.
The research, which also found 87 per cent of people agree that it is important that “students are empowered to make their own decisions about spirituality and faith”, has not been widely released until now, but the peak body representing RI says it’s time for the truth to be told following misleading information in the media.
Multi faith RI spokesperson Rev David Baker said an activist minority with anti-religious ideology is mounting a dishonest campaign using incorrect figures around student opt-in rates, but the truth is that RI is good for students and widely supported by parents, schools and the majority of Australians.
“This anti-religious extreme minority wants to remove parents’ choice and force their agenda on the majority,” he said.
Rev Baker said no student is forced to take RI, and parents must opt-in, but “where RI is offered, our figures both historical and current show that around 70 per cent of parents choose to participate.”
“RI is about parents being able to choose faith and values teaching according to their own beliefs, and parent want this choice.”
A previous survey by McCrindle published in 2018 found only 16 per cent of those surveyed were opposed to giving parents a choice of faith-based values education.
“Often the only voices we hear are the negative ones, because they yell the loudest, but they also do not represent the vast majority,” Rev Baker said.
He also explained that students who do not participate are not disadvantaged but do homework, study and revision. “It is the school’s responsibility to ensure this happens.”