Rector’s Weekly News Article
The last few weeks you may have seen in the media the ongoing controversy regarding a letter which was signed by the heads of a number of Anglican schools in the Diocese. The letter was written to affirm the right of Anglican Schools to hire staff in accord with Anglican beliefs.
I don’t mean to go into all the details of this particular issue here. It’s a complicated one and even the Archbishop has apologised for the unfortunate and unintended consequences of the letter (though he did not apologise for what it was actually intended to say). In this article I just want to say a few things about discrimination.
Discrimination has become a dirty word in our society. There is good reason for this. When we think about discrimination we immediately think about people being denied opportunities because of their gender or some other physical attribute about which a person has no control. It seems therefore that to discriminate based on those things would be wrong and unfair. This however is not always the case.
Discriminating against someone because of a physical attribute over which they have no control is not always wrong. The important factor is not whether they have the power to change but rather whether the physical attribute is relevant to task at hand.
If someone was applying for a job as a bus driver the colour of their skin has no bearing whatsoever to them doing that job. It would obviously be wrong to discriminate based on skin colour in this case. However, if the person applying for the bus driving had been born blind, well that would be quite different. It would be quite appropriate in this case to discriminate based on this person’s ability to drive!
Many people would argue that a teacher in a Christian school is simply a teacher and that what they believe and how they conduct themselves outside of school hours is irrelevant and therefore not appropriate grounds for discriminating. This view fails to understand the purpose of Christian schools. While I can’t speak for purpose of all church based schools, it is safe to say that religious schools exist so that children might be educated in accord with the teachings and beliefs of that religion. It is not possible for a Christian school to be Christian if the staff are not Christian. It is not possible for a school to be Anglican if the staff to do not hold to Anglican beliefs. If a person does not live in accord with Christian beliefs then they are not qualified for the job of a Christian educator. Schools must be allowed to hire people based on criteria which are highly relevant to the position.
Many people outside the church are outraged by our desire to employ Christians in particular roles within church organisations. The presumption is that whether you are a Christian or not is not a big deal and doesn’t really effect anything. They cannot understand why we don’t simply believe the same things as the average person on the street. We must not forget that our job as Christians is not to follow the world and seek to appease them. Our job is to be light and salt in the world. Of course we believe different things to those who believe there is no God.
Pray for our schools and particularly the heads of our schools. That they might stand firm in believing the things that Christians believe and not be swayed by the pressures of this world.
Yours in Christ, Tim
Blackheath Parish Women’s Event – Saturday 24th November at 2pm “A Window into Worship”. Jodie McIver will be the very special speaker.
Toys’n’Tucker for 2018 is on again. Flyers will be available soon. Leave any non-perishable food items or toys at the back of each church. Collection day will be Thursday 13th December.
Care & Share Support – if you or someone you know needs this service at any time please contact Judy Dyer, Judith Finney or Carol in the church office.