Access Ministries’ Biblezine Blunder

Think the allure of Cosmo, minus the sleaze, plus the easy-to-read New Century Version of the New Testament

– Christianity Today describing the Biblezine Revolve –

Last weekend it was reported that Access Ministries had handed out “Biblezine” material to Victorian primary students.

The psychologically invasive material is typical conservative fundamental evangelism, with no place in Access’ so-called religious “education” classes. Long the subject of controversy for proselytising to students – what Access CEO Evonne Paddison described as “the greatest mission field in Australia” –  the latest revelation of volunteer conduct has led to an Education Department investigation.

The Department labelled the material as “inappropriate and offensive”. Biblezine material handed out advises primary school aged kids that masturbation and sex before marriage are sinful and girls who wear revealing clothes are inviting sexual assault. The Age reported that girls must not go bra-less because then:

your nipples are much more noticeable and a distraction and temptation for men

Don’t wear jeans cut low around the waist or tube tops because guys are:

sexually stimulated by what they see

The Bible says not to cause anyone else to sin. Are you putting sexual thoughts about your body into guys’ heads? If you are showing a lot of skin you probably are.

In a masterpiece of philosophical reasoning the question of how far can one go before one is no longer “pure”, comes up. A definite quandary given that condoms promote promiscuity. Thus, better to ponder, “How much dog poop stirred into your cookie batter does it take to ruin the whole batter.”

Indeed.

Homosexual feelings? No prizes for guessing where this would go. Time to get some counselling. If you are gay, Biblezine advise that it’s best “to never act on it”, The Age reports.

Access Ministries argue that they do not approve of the Biblezine material, which was handed out at Torquay College by volunteers from the Torquay Christian Fellowship Centre. A key provider of the Magnify Biblezine in Victoria is Scripture Union Victoria.

There are a range of Biblezines published and emanating from the USA. Apart from Scripture Union’s Magnify, there is Revolve 2 and Refuel 2 which popped up at Torquay College. Real is a Biblezine for the “hip-hop crowd”.

Yet Revolve, which offered the totally awesome advice on the power of girls nipples, has been spreading it’s wisdom for over a decade. From Christianity Today – way back in 2003 – we can consult Ten Things You Should Know About The New Girls Biblezine Revolve.

Still there is good news afoot. Since 2011 the number of ACCESS enrolements has fallen by one third. From 940 schools in 2011 to a delightfully devilish 666 last year. The change has followed a move to an “opt-in” choice for students in an environment where schools “may” provide religious instruction.

Previously classes were run on an “opt-out” basis whilst schools themselves were bullied into believing classes “must” be run if offered.

Of course Paddison disputes the Education Department figures claiming to have Access volunteers running classes in 780 schools last year. She has taken to disseminating a ”clarification” email to all schools offering the program.

It finishes:

we request all schools to adhere to the legislation.

Perhaps it would be more in keeping with Access tradition if Evonne Paddison had warned, “I’ll be back”.

Scott Hedges from FIRIS chats on ABC Ballarat

Thurs. March 15th, 2012: Scott Hedges chats with Steve Martin during Mornings on ABC Ballarat about the Fairness In Religions In School campaign.

Catch up on the VCAT hearing.

  1. What’s going on at VCAT? – Dr. Meredith Doig, President of the Rationalist Society of Australia.
  2. Mike Stuchbery, Live Blogging – The Final Showdown
  3. Christians pray for VCAT ruling – Amber Wilson
  4. Trust kids when it comes to religious teaching – Dick Gross
  5. Victorian Humanists – Test case on religious discrimination
  6. Mail from Belfast
  7. ABC Law Report [MP3]:

QUOTES

“The one we serve (Jesus) is the same yesterday, today and forever. And his purposes (converting humanity) will not be thwarted!” (Forward Together Rally 2011)

“What really matters is seizing the God-given opportunity we have to reach kids in schools. Without Jesus, our students are lost”.

“It’s important that the church recognize its commission is to make disciples. Our young people need Christ”.

“What a commandment, make disciples (of school children). What a responsibility. What a privilege we have been given. Let’s go for it!

Scott Hedges Interview – ABC Ballarat

Part of the crowd outside VCAT on March 1st

Religious Instruction brings no Joy to Victorian public schools

What really matters is seizing the God-given opportunity to reach kids in schools. Without Jesus, our students are lost… What a commandment: Make disciples… Let’s go for it!

Evonne Paddison, CEO of ACCESS Ministries

Scott Hedges of Fairness In Religions In School chats to Doug Pollard from Joy FM’s Rainbow Report.

In a comprehensive chat they cover the FIRIS campaign, Special Religious Instruction (SRI), legislation, indoctrination in public schools, religious discrimination and the upcoming VCAT challenge. This alleges that the Education Minister’s interpretation of legislation is a violation of the Equal Opportunity Act leading to compulsory segregation based on attendance to SRI.

Scott touches on a point close to one of my own issues with government funding of religious organisations. That faith based welfare is vastly different to faith based practices. The former poised to benefit all, the latter designed to expand a belief system.

In this case we can compare the altruistic work done by religious welfare organisations to the intentional, calculated conversion of primary school children, both at taxpayer expense.

FIRIS parent Scott Hedges interviewed on Joy FM

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ACCESS Ministries: Back to religious discrimination in Victoria

FIRIS Billboard hits on religious discrimination in schoolsStory here

Don’t be fooled by ACCESS ministries’ attempt to rewrite history and obfuscate their intention.

Victoria’s legislation provides for public school education about all religions. Yet this privilege has been usurped by a scheme to “save children” through conversion to Christianity.

In a multi-faith, multi-ethnic, secular community the choice of any religion or of no religion should be the right of every family. Not a struggle against a dominant force.

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In her own words… again: Evonne Paddison seeks to rewrite history

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ACCESS ministries’ transforming love of God used to transform website

Our vision is to reach every student in Victoria with the gospel. Join us and help transform this nation for God.
ACCESS ministries (2008 – 2011)

This March 1st, ACCESS ministries will be in VCAT fighting charges of religious discrimination against non Christian children.

Through their evangelical proselytising to the Victorian “mission field” – the “God given open door” – as CEO Evonne Paddison boasted, ACCESS aimed to convert students to Christianity and “have a full time chaplain in every school”. For years, until parents acted against this obscene monopoly ACCESS openly boasted that it “leads the church in it’s mission to reach students and school communities in Victoria and beyond with the transforming love of God and His son, Jesus Christ”.

ACCESS will “model Christ’s love without discrimination”

The disturbing fundamental theology in the Statement of Belief that controlled ACCESS ministries’ thinking also included the extraordinary claim that ACCESS personnel “form part of God’s presence in the school”. Committed to the Apostle’s creed, Nicene creed and Athanasian creed and the Old and New Testament documents, ACCESS affirmed it’s faith in the Trinity and “recognised the pastoral needs of people and that these needs are to be… addressed”.

Statement Of Belief

Paddison, who believes primary school children in public schools should be taught that their life in eternity has already begun, seeks to:

…promote the same marks of discipleship for young people as those that the Bible presents to us. But of course, in a way that is appropriate and contextual to them. The first step in becoming a disciple is clearly believing, but so many of our young people have never heard the gospel.

Her vision of a brave new Christian world is repugnant in it’s open plot to exploit the emotions of in-need children:

We have to reflect the relationships of the persons of the Trinity in our relationships in Christ’s new society. As we develop this perspective in our encounter with students we will tap into their longing for belonging and acceptance that has grown out of a world of divorce and division. What really matters is seizing the God-given opportunity we have to reach kids in schools. Without Jesus, our students are lost….

Initially blaming those nasty atheists and Fairfax for negative press and criticism from mainstream Christians, the supernaturally guided leaders of ACCESS viciously hit back. Evonne Paddison, Bishop Stephen Hale and the only woman I’ve seen smirk at a parent’s distress – Rev. Denise Nicholls – took to basically telling Victoria to shove it. Legislation gave them the right and fundamental zealotry was on the menu. The problem was, according to Paddison:

…a deliberate attempt by the media to start a faith war – to divide Christians against other Christians; faiths against faiths; congregations against congregations…

It’s sensationalist journalism – find a schism in the foundation, a rat in the ranks, report the division and watch the Letters to the Editor or the news blog implode with atheistic comment. [….]

Over time, the intent of Victorians has become manifest just as has the scheming of ACCESS to deny the facts and get it’s way.

As chaplain Christine Burford gladly shared once with listeners:

No matter what it takes, God’s got a plan and he’s gunna bring it to pass, he’s Sovereign. The devil is “a living enemy” who (apart from tormenting Christine with temptations of “flesh”) “would want to undermine us as people”. People are “the helpless sheep”, saved by God.

No matter what it takes… Paddison herself at the Forward Together rally, 2011, said:

We know with absolute certainty that our message and the centre of our faith remains the same. It remains firm because the one we serve is the same yesterday, today… forever. And his purposes will not be thwarted.

True to form the plan rolls on. But ACCESS seek to deceive Victorians with a shuffle and edit of their website. Once front and centre, the creepy statement of belief is off side. The “transforming love of God…” mission, which is simply believer code for “convert”, has been slashed down to, “Transforming the lives of young people and their communities”.

This video features Elizabeth Stuart, a mum who is not fooled by ACCESS’ moving of chairs. Looking at changes over time, as usual the truth to ACCESS ministries’ intent comes from their own mouths. Having already made the preemptive move to make classes opt-in rather than compulsory and opt-out, ACCESS and the Victorian Education Department are seeking to convey the impression they are not discriminatory.

Sadly they have no intention to change, rather to extend their reach into private schools and internationally. Arrogantly, when challenged they offer no solace.

One hopes for a good outcome this March.