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The Huntress vs. The Headline: “Fire, Brimstone And The Blackboard”

April 11, 2011

It’s a new week and with it is coming a new playthrough of Dragon Age 2. Things went quite nicely between Fenris and I, we had a rather heated encounter against the wall in my mansion, he left me and then he came back. Sigh. Now that I have finished the game I have explored the Dragon Age Wiki to see what I have missed and can now make my second playthrough to make sure I don’t miss anything.

You really do not need to say anything that I’ve not already thought (Ah, I’m so clever for quoting Anders!).

Sooooo, onto today’s crap headlines to clear my head out. PerthNow has featured “Teen’s Bonnet Surfing Stunt Ends Badly” (no revelation there, really), The Courier Mail presented “Learner Drivers Think They Know Best” (no revelation there, either) and the Herald Sun has a rather mysterious headline entailed “LIVE CHAT – The Tackle”.

I don’t want to explore that one as to whether there is any revelation or not.

I wasn’t surprised, but glad when I came across today’s headline from the ABC’s ‘The Drum’. Recently articles have been popping up on the ABC in relation to parents being concerned their kiddies are being pushed religious education in public schools. Mike Stuchbery is a teacher in the Victorian public education system and also expresses concern at the Special Religious Instruction (SRI) being taught in schools. It has recently come to light that schools are obligated to offer SRI if approached by an accredited instructor and were prevented from scheduling alternate classes for those students whose parents had expressly written to the school to exempt them from SRI. These students are given free time to pursue activities such as reading or drawing.

Mr. Stuchbery asked what makes for a qualified instructor of SRI. It would seem anyone who has a Working With Childrens Check, a note from their church leader and a one day training course is enough for these people to go to schools and teach children. Not surprising that Mr. Stuchbery is alarmed by this, given that most teachers undergo a mininum for 4 years tertiary education to be qualified to front a class of children. How can it be that schools are not given autonomy to decide whether it is appropriate or not to offer SRI as part of their curriculum? What authority do religious groups really have to assert themselves and their poorly trained instructors within the schools of our children? When will more thought be given to the culturally and ethnically diverse nature of our population (96% of SRI classes are held by a group called Access Ministries, a Christian church group)?

Teaching children that a lack of faith causes natural disasters is irresponsible and misguided. Mr. Stuchbery urges the government to call for an inquiry into the way religion is being taught within our schools. I would be happy to see religion removed from the curriculum, as I believe it is something that is taught within the home, and replaced with a basic ethics class, which could then teach children about the complexity of life and good decision making skills. Just an idea of course, but as Australia is so diverse we need to respect the wide variety of faiths being practised and offer a good alternative.

On a slightly different angle Dragon Age 2 is offering an interesting insight into religion and power. I liked the decisions I made throughout the game, but it was hard sometimes as doing what I believed to be the right thing was what made Fenris leave me.

There was a particular line in the game where another character, Varric, is teasing Fenris by telling him if he was any more brooding women would be swooning in the street. Aaahhhhh, I completely understand.


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