I pay taxes.
I am sometimes in a position where I don’t have to pay tax on my income but I always do. I’m one of those honest idealists who sees a social benefit in giving for the common good, especially when I can see how my money is being used. I actually want “free” health, education, roads and science research, among others, and some of these social services have literally saved my life.
Because I am convinced by a lack of evidence for the existence of a God of any sort, I am particularly perturbed by Tony Abbott’s plan to place priests in the exalted position of receiving religious education funding that should be used to further “real” pursuits, such as the social services mentioned above – money that comes from our taxes. There is clearly no difference between studying religion and astrology, and even if you did take one religion to be true (Catholicism in this case), you would be obliged to make the same concessions to all the other religions that you potentially hold in contempt. It is an auto-suggestion industry and has no benefit to anyone except those who chose to use it as their framework for understanding their world, sometimes with dire consequences.
As such, while I don’t have a problem with any person believing in their chosen fairytale for their own comfort as long as it doesn’t impinge on my freedom or cause any harm, I certainly object to being one of the people who are being forced to pay for it at the expense of something much more valuable.
If a particular religion wants to expand its cause and reach, then by all means go ahead, but in terms of religious education funding, PAY FOR IT YOURSELF.
And if the Catholics reading this don’t want their tax money funding people to become imams in an Islamic mosque, then you will understand why I don’t want my tax dollars spent on funding people to become priests.
Tony Abbott’s new religious education funding plan breaches the separation of Church and State, and when his government announced earlier this year that it would fund a school chaplaincy scheme to the “value” of $244 million, but at the same time would remove the option for schools to hire secular welfare workers, he crossed a line between what the public have demonstrated that they want, and what Mr Abbott wants based on his personal Christian beliefs.
This latest education funding shuffle is the next incarnation of Tony getting what he wants at the expense of most of our population.