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Some Notes on the SSM debate

  • School Principals and Board Chairs will shortly be receiving a suggested approach for writing to the local federal member regarding the issue of religious freedom. Please look out for this email.
  • When we know the outcome of the survey and the legislative consequences I will provide an advice paper on ‘where to from here’. Any input or questions to be addressed from members would be most welcome.

    It is likely that this paper will address:

    • Suggestions regarding the way in which schools should conduct themselves. Here we need to propose our traditional view in a courteous, humble way without denigrating what will probably be the accepted civil or society view.
    • Curriculum – our teaching about marriage can state the most common view of the state/society as well as the traditional Biblically-informed view. This would be quite similar to the evolution debate where the generally accepted view is taught as a scientific theory and where a separate ‘God as Creator’ view can also be taught. This can be carefully managed.
    • Staffing – this area will be the biggest challenge with Christian schools expecting staff to model a lifestyle that is in keeping with the school’s beliefs. There will be many challenges navigating this area should Australia change its Marriage Act to include SSM.
  • As stated previously (the August newsletter contained the AACS view) AACS has taken a very clear and straightforward approach. We encourage an engagement with the SSM debate that is respectful even if robust. We have acknowledged that there are a range of views within our school communities and the vast majority of these views fall within the traditional understanding of marriage. We have quite deliberately not been instructive as to which way those within our communities should vote. We strongly advocate for the right of Christian schools to hold viewpoints that are guided by the Christian faith on which they are founded. This cause seeks protection for religious freedom.
  • I was most taken with a story that Annandale CS Principal Daniel Clarke shared with me recently. Daniel writes, “I attend a lovely bible believing conservative church. Recently our minister addressed the congregation regarding the upcoming plebiscite. While I didn’t write down his words verbatim he said something like:

    I know many of you want our church to go door knocking to tell people how to vote. If we are going to knock on doors, it is going to be to tell people that Jesus loves them. The message that Jesus is risen and loves people is far more confronting and radical than anything else we could say and if people can get a grasp of that then God can work on people’s hearts. We do believe that God loves our community and we do believe that following God’s way is best for society and we are not apologetic about that, but our message is about Jesus love and this must be our focus.

    I was so encouraged to have such clear leadership (which may not have been popular in our congregation) to not become haters but to love and to share God’s love.

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