God bother

12th January 2007 at 00:00
School chaplains in Australia have received good news and bad. The good news is that the government is launching a pound;32 million scheme that will give the country's state and private schools up to pound;9,000 a year if they employ a chaplain. The bad news is that the chaplains will have to sign a code of conduct that bars them from preaching religion.

As part of the code, they must acknowledge that proselytising at school is not appropriate. They are also prevented from using theological language that "assumes people have the same beliefs".

Hugging crying children is also out, as the code bans physical contact with students unless injured.

The Australian Secondary Principals Association described the scheme as inflexible and "fundamentally flawed".

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