Calls to ban Christian prayer groups and chaplains from government schools in the wake the Islamist-inspired terrorist killing of Parramatta police finance worker Curtis Cheng are a knee-jerk reaction and risk throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said there is no evidence that the religion of Jesus, who told his followers to ‘love your enemies’, is causing violence in the Australian community.
“It is quite bizarre to suggest that Christian prayer groups and chaplains be banned from schools in the wake of Islamist terror.”
Mr Shelton was concerned that some people with an anti-religious agenda were using the tragedy to push an agenda.
“The school chaplaincy program is very popular in school communities around the nation and complements the great work of existing school-based professional counsellors.
“At a time when young people are vulnerable to radicalisation, surely it makes sense to have people in schools modelling Jesus’ injunction to ‘do good to those who hate you’.
“This kind of support and role-modelling is part of the answer to violence and extremism.”
Mr Shelton said Christians understood this was a difficult time for the millions of Australian Muslims who also reject violence.
“Most Australian Christians know that the overwhelming majority of their Muslim neighbours are peace-loving and are just as repulsed and distressed as anyone by Islamist extremism.”