A Message to the Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools

October 10, 2022
I am responding to the below-mentioned Campaign and the thinking in reaction to a meme, posted on the Facebook page of the Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools.     “This, in a nutshell, is why [meme] there should be no religious instruction in public schools. It doesn’t get more divisive and judgemental than this. […]

I am responding to the below-mentioned Campaign and the thinking in reaction to a meme, posted on the Facebook page of the Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools.



“This, in a nutshell, is why [meme] there should be no religious instruction in public schools.

It doesn’t get more divisive and judgemental than this.

This quote was taken from a book claiming SRE/RI has value. Pfft.

Write to, or better still go and meet with, your local MP, particularly if your representative is a Labor MP, and tell them why RI is well past its use-by date.”


The meme stated: “I think that without God you can’t have morality…” Female SRE teacher #4, Special Religious Education in Australia and its Value to Contemporary Society P87.



I object to the meme, but I wish to explore what there is, in the reaction of the campaign to the meme. There is a compatibilist solution which I will outline at the end of the blog article.



The book, from where the meme came from, and the meme itself, is not the point, but the usage of the meme in the campaign, and the harm it does to there being critical thinking, is the point.



The campaign makes a distinction between religious instruction and intelligent religious education in secondary schools. I fully support that, in that we do not want religious instruction and, but we do want intelligent religious education, along with philosophy programs. There is no divide and rule tactic here. I also know that there are members of the Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools, and their supporters, who do very well in understanding my point here. However, I fear that there is an audience who are not understanding. And so, I have to write this blog post, for those who have had no opportunity for the education.



So, to start with the meme. Yes, it is nonsense, BUT nonsense that comes from not having RECP: studies-in-religion based RE curriculum (the historical Religious Education Curriculum Program since the mid 1970s and until it was closed down in the first decade of this century).  You are not doing state education a favour by fighting against evidence-based and educational-based RE programs. As they say, nature abhorred a vacuum, and something will replace the void.



I know this as I have explained it to the Australian Skeptics, and I have explained it to the Rationalists. I am also a member of:


  • Australia and Aotearoa NZ Public History Network
  • Australian Association for the Study of Religion
  • Australian Historical Association
  • Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society
  • Australian Policy and History Network
  • Brisbane Catholic Historical Society
  • Brisbane History Group Inc.
  • Brisbane Southside History Network (BSHN, Director)
  • International Society of Intellectual History
  • International Standing Conference for the History of Education
  • Professional Historians Association (Queensland)
  • Sea of Faith in Australia (SoFiA Inc., Vice-President)
  • Southern Brisbane Suburban Forum (Southern Forum, President)
  • Religious History Association


So, do not play the *ad hominem* card with me, I do fully understand secularity and religion, I have worked in those two areas for 30 years….if you are so tempted.



The really big problem here is that the offensive meme is deliberately designed to get you all heated and unable to think straight, needing clarity of thought and in the practice of critical thinking.



The really big problem, as the Big Picture, is that too many amateur rationalists, skeptics, and secularists are not up-to-date in modern, broad, academic-based, evidence-based, educational-based PHILOSOPHY! In the usual responses, the general population are throwing outwards easy-to-see fallacies, as seen from outside the bubble thinking (whatever each bubble be), because a person have been made so offended, and so stirred up, that persons are reacting, instead of turning to the broad and deep literature on the specific topic.



Rationalists are too often misunderstanding on the concept of rationality; Skeptics are too often are misunderstanding on the concept of skepticism; and secularists misunderstanding on the concept of secularity, as opposed to the bloc ideology of secularism.



I have written several papers on the issue of the failure in thinking and its abuse in the culture-history war, as has many others. I provide a few examples.


The Whole Concept of Community Education

The Philosophy Café. Communicative Rationality

Nathan Fredrickson. Syllabus on Introduction to American Religion

The Philosophy Café. Beyond Mere Opinion: What is the Philosophical Thought in the Humanities and Social Science, and its Practice in Society?


AND…Is Social Media to Blame for Academic Ruin (Corrections 7 Oct 22)



I believe in State Education. I believe in State Schools. But my beliefs are not controlled by the meta-narratives and the political frameworks. I am very disappointed by what I am reading on social media, but then, as I say on other areas of social media, …



“Unfortunately, our education system has failed the population in the humanities and social sciences. These sociological nuances are important because we have a population, a suburban population, who are being fooled by politicians in their dismissive rhetoric. The rhetoric plays heavily on divide and rule tactics, and, in this case, it resorts to the stupid bloc mentality of an outdated sociology. Class interest exists (in various forms) but it is more sophisticated in the politics of ‘elites’, urban developers, elected representatives, and even from educators. Don’t be fooled is my message to the community. READ WIDELY AND DEEPLY! Please past on my message on to other groups.”



Neville Buch, MPHA (Qld), President of the Southern Brisbane Suburban Forum (SBSF). PS. This is what the Forum is about, giving the community the resources for the change they are seeking, and not the change imposed by special interest.



Please read wider and deeper.



The ‘no religious instruction in public schools’ is a negative campaign. This is not an objection to the campaign. I support it in the semantics outlined above, however, positive campaigns work better.



There is a compatibilist solution. We should be introducing more intelligent religious education and more philosophy courses in state schools, and not choose between them. Beware, be very aware, that Governments have a special interest, its high interest in a reduced curriculum in the job-skills undereducated curriculum, and it works on ‘divide-and-rule’ tactics against all of the communities.



The only compatibilist solution is education, fully and rounded!



Image: Declaring ones faith in order to attend a catholic school. Photo 91132104 © Amelia Martin | Dreamstime.com

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Neville Buch (Pronounced Book) Ph.D. is a certified member of the Professional Historians Association (Queensland). Since 2010 he has operated a sole trade business in history consultancy. He was a Q ANZAC 100 Fellow 2014-2015 at the State Library of Queensland. Dr Buch was the PHA (Qld) e-Bulletin, the monthly state association’s electronic publication, and was a member of its Management Committee. He is the Managing Director of the Brisbane Southside History Network.
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