Lyle Shelton’s ‘red herring’ consequences to same-sex marriage

Lyle Shelton of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has done a fine job building straw men from supposed “consequences” of same-sex marriage legislation.

He has been pushing this shadowy notion for well over a year, using the interim time to select a favoured stable of consequences. As a constant face for the No campaign he has recently been offering these quite doubtful consequences as reason to vote No in the upcoming plebiscite. To hear Shelton tell it, oppression of select freedoms is absolutely certain. To hear others tell it he is talking nonsense. Offering red herrings. He’s certainly doing what many do when the evidence doesn’t favour their position and opinion.

Mainly, work hard at divergence. Draw attention away from the actual matter at hand. As has been recently pointed out by Nick Greiner more than one billion people live in countries where same-sex marriage is a reality. Keeping this in mind we can see that even with the stable of starring consequences the ACL and Shelton are offering a paucity of examples to defend the No Campaign. More so we should revisit his approach from last year to grasp how little has changed. As Independent Sydney M.P. Alex Greenwich notes, Lyle Shelton rarely talks about marriage with respect to the same-sex marriage debate.

On July 26th 2016 Shelton appeared on Sky News and was asked by Paul Murray to explain the No case. Mr. Shelton is no stranger to dodging an answer to questions, instead getting his own point across. He replied, “This is essentially about three things, Paul. It’s a package deal that comes with a bunch of other things”. He then went on to stress that “gay couples have equal status with heterosexual couples under law that has existed since at least 2008”. He again pressed the “package deal” point, contesting that “if we change the definition of marriage, Safe Schools comes under the banner of the rainbow flag and rainbow political agenda”.

His evidence? “You’ve got to look no further than Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews, one of the biggest proponents of gay marriage, he’s forcing Safe Schools into his schools”. Then freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of religion appear to be under threat. Changing the definition of marriage “in Commonwealth law weaponises state based anti-discrimination law”. He mentioned the case of Archbishop Julian Porteus. An anti-discrimination complaint was lodged in November 2015 against the Archbishop with respect to his “Don’t Mess With Marriage” booklet.

The third problem is about “what we do to children”. Shelton contended “that mothers don’t matter to a baby anymore. That’s what same-sex marriage says in law and culture”. Later he contends that “we won’t be able to stop commercial surrogacy, which is deeply unethical, if we change the definition of marriage. It is a definite flow-on effect”. He “cannot get anyone from the gay lobby to deny that commercial surrogacy is not next”. The Australian Christian Lobby argue that commercial surrogacy is another part of the “package deal” with same-sex marriage.

The next day he ran much the same by Steve Price on 2GB. According to Shelton same-sex couples enjoy the same lifestyle as heterosexual couples. If we redefine marriage, we redefine parenting. There will be “flow on effects” including gender ideology via the Safe Schools programme, which (you guessed it) is “a package deal with same-sex marriage”.

Shelton is now frequently referring to “radical LGBTIQ” education as a result of Safe Schools. It’s rather tiring researching his presentation. He will launch into the “consequences” that he insists loom before us. Every interview. Often two or perhaps three times. Although this is of course far more palatable than the May 2016 blog piece in which he wrote on Safe Schools. Including;

The cowardice and weakness of Australia’s ‘gatekeepers’ is causing unthinkable things to happen, just as unthinkable things happened in Germany in the 1930s.

Despite using a range of “consequences” to same-sex marriage to defend a No vote, it is Safe Schools that entirely make up the first No Campaign TV advertisement. The ad’ was commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage which is led by the ACL. The ABC report in part;

Claims legalising same-sex marriage will lead to sweeping education reforms are “patently ridiculous”, Education Minister Simon Birmingham has said after the release of the first national TV ad from the No campaign.

He continues to rattle off the other consequences he has firmly committed to memory. Although as I mentioned, with one billion people living in countries with same-sex marriage enshrined in law, his sample is strikingly tiny. He still mentions Archbishop Julian Porteus from Tasmania. He never misses a chance to remind listeners that in March 2016 Bill Shorten promised the Guardian Australia’s Why Knot? event that Labor would not alter discrimination legislation to please opponents to same-sex marriage. The Guardian reported;

Labor will oppose any attempt to extend discrimination law exemptions to allow people who object to same-sex marriage to deny goods and services to gay couples.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten made the pledge at Guardian Australia’s marriage equality event Why Knot in Sydney on Thursday.

Responding to a questioner who asked him to rule out allowing bakers not to sell cakes to gay weddings, Shorten said Labor would oppose such discrimination law exemptions and repeal them at the earliest available opportunity if they passed.

“It’s not allowed now under the current law – why would we water down existing laws? We don’t need to water down anti-discrimination law to keep some people [who oppose same-sex marriage] happy.”

Shelton has summed this up as “cake makers and wedding service providers losing freedoms”. Furthermore he frequently refers to Senator James Paterson to reinforce the “loss of freedoms” consequence. The Guardian recently reported in part;

Parliament must decide how to protect religious freedom if same-sex marriage is legalised, and cannot wait until the marriage equality postal survey is finished, the Liberal senator James Paterson has said.

The Victorian senator has called for an overhaul of anti-discrimination law to allow service providers to refuse gay weddings, telling a religious freedom forum in Perth on Thursday there will be no time to deal with the issue after the survey is finished.

Constantly, along with Shorten and Paterson, Mr. Shelton will also mention Alex Greenwich to complete his trio of politicians whose individual conduct apparently confirms the consequence of eroded civil liberties.

A staple discrimination consequence often presented to Australians is that of Irish cake makers Daniel and Amy McCarthy. In 2014 bakers at the family run company, Ashers, refused to make a cake with the slogan Support Gay Marriage, above an image of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie. The customer was gay rights activist Gareth Lee. By May 2015 a Belfast High Court ruled the company guilty of unlawful discrimination based on grounds of sexual orientation. Ashers paid £500 plus court costs.

Nonetheless in a few weeks the UK Supreme Court will hear arguments over two days to consider the initial judgement. One must wonder however just how much consideration will be placed on the argument that certain messages in icing pose a risk to the soul. As Pink News reported last May;

The bakers claimed in a legal brief that God considers it a sin to make cakes with pro-gay messages on, but multiple courts have upheld the decision against them.

Now with the UK Supreme Court taking an interest this apparent consequence may prove inconsequential to those who are essentially discriminating against others. The attention has already resulted in a significant increase in profits. As of last May Ashers reported an increase of £200,000.

Another “consequence” raised by Mr. Shelton is truly a case of having your cake and eating it too. He’d have his audience believe Oregon couple Aaron and Melissa Klein are innocent bakers that had their right to protect their beliefs crushed. However it was the decision of the Klein’s to not serve same-sex customers due to religious beliefs, then close their shop and move their business to home. The attention to this case led to a Wikipedia page, Sweet Cakes By Melissa.

In July 2015 Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries confirmed in a final order an administrative court’s decision to fine the couple. They were fined $135,000. However along with a number of other news outlets, Pink News reported in March this year the couple wanted to overturn the judgement. There also appeared to be strange activity around the finances raised;

The Christian bakery in Oregon that waged a court battle against anti-discrimination rules are now trying to avoid paying legal costs – despite donors giving them several times the full amount.

The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa came to national attention when they claimed it would be “sinful” to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, launching a legal battle against the state’s equality laws.

After losing the long-running court case last year, bakers Melissa and Aaron Klein were ordered to pay $135,000 in costs and damages .

More than  $400,000 was raised online after the anti-gay American Family Association (AFA) rallied its supporters to donate to Sweet Cakes to cover the fine.

It could still be several weeks at least until the appeals judges hand down a ruling.

Mr. Shelton loves to tell us of the consequence that befell 71 year old Washington grandmother Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts. Stutzman refused to provide floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding based on her religious beliefs. A lower court found she had violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws. Last February Washington’s state Supreme Court agreed with the lower court’s ruling. Robert Vischer argues here that the court erred in its decision. The Attorney General outlines his case below (bold mine);

Fighting discrimination before the state Supreme Court

I will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. I had another opportunity to uphold our anti-discrimination laws recently, this time before the Washington State Supreme Court.

My office filed the lawsuit in 2013 against Arlene’s Flowers and its owner and operator, Barronelle Stutzman, for discrimination over the refusal to serve a same-sex couple seeking to buy wedding flowers, a service she and her business provided to opposite-sex couples.

Last year, a Benton County Superior Court judge ruled that Stutzman’s actions violated the state Consumer Protection Act. Before I filed our lawsuit, I sent a letter to Ms. Stutzman asking her to agree to stop discriminating, in which case my office would not seek fines or penalties. Ms. Stutzman declined that offer. She lost the ensuing lawsuit and pursued an appeal, which the Supreme Court heard in November.

Washington law is clear: Businesses cannot discriminate. If you serve opposite-sex partners, you must serve same-sex partners equally.

Recently there has been a development that reinforces how tenuous this case is to the argument of “consequences” coming from Shelton. Indeed the development itself suggests that the ACL is at best sloppy and at worst deceptive with the full import of its claims. On July 14 this year, The Daily Signal reported;

Less than one month after the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would review the case of a Colorado baker who declined to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding celebration because of his religious beliefs about marriage, lawyers asked the high court to combine it with a similar case involving a florist from Washington state, The Daily Signal has learned.

On June 26, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. In 2012, after refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding celebration, he was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union and charged with violating the state’s anti-discrimination law.

The case of baker Jack Phillips is also listed on the ACL website. One hopes if the reviews are successful that this consequence will be accurately reflected on the website.

We constantly hear from Mr. Shelton that in Canada, father Steve Tourloukis lost the right to remove his children from “radical sex education programs which became compulsory after marriage was redefined”. It is reported that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice upheld the School Board’s decision to deny permission to remove children from class to avoid what Tourloukis had labelled “false teachings”. It is reported in part;

The Board took the position that it was not possible to know, in advance, what does or does not amount to a “false teaching”, and that permitting the applicant’s children to be withdrawn from classes where certain topics are taught would be contrary to the values of inclusion and student well-being that underline a number of Ministry and Board policies, including the Board’s Equity Policy. The Board also argued that granting the accommodation requested by the applicant could lead to feelings of exclusion by students, including the applicant’s children.

Another “consequence” of same-sex marriage legislation that Shelton has on high rotation is that Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven wants priests and pastors who refuse to wed same sex couples to “find another job”. Shelton opens a June 27th blog post with;

With Australian same-sex marriage activists saying there are no consequences to changing the definition of marriage, the Swedish Prime Minister (pictured) has warned priests to perform gay marriages or “find another job”.

Interestingly the quote “find another job” is part of a link to an article that doesn’t present such a dismissive phrase. Because Löfven didn’t say this. This hasn’t stopped Shelton claiming so constantly on TV and radio. What the Swedish PM actually said in this regard is reported as follows in the article Shelton links to;

We Social Democrats are working to ensure all priests will consecrate everyone, including same-sex couples,” Lofven told Kyrkans Tidning magazine.

“I see parallels to the midwife who refuses to perform abortions. If you work as a midwife you must be able to perform abortions, otherwise you have to do something else… It is the same for priests,” he said.

Another constant from Shelton is the London based Jewish Vishnitz Girls school. He tells his audience that it faces closure “because it won’t teach its students that gender is fluid”. The Independent reported in part on June 26th, 2017;

A private faith school in London has failed its third Ofsted inspection for refusing to teach its pupils about homosexuality.

Inspectors visiting Vishnitz Girls School in north London last month said the Orthodox school does not give pupils “a full understanding of fundamental British values”, The Telegraph reported.

[…]

Ofsted makes clear that schools are not expected to “promote” ideas about sexual orientation or gender reassignment, but they are expected to “encourage pupils’ respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the 2010 Equalities Act”.

Perhaps one of the most strikingly misleading claims from Lyle Shelton is a post in the ACL blog headed, You Won’t Believe The Latest Consequence Of Same-Sex Marriage In Canada.

A new law in Ontario, Canada, threatens to take children from “abusive” parents who do not agree with them changing their gender.

Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton warned that if the gender diversity requirement was removed from the Marriage Act, pressure would build for similar law here.

Ontario’s Minister of Children and Youth Services Michael Coteau said his Bill 89, passed last week, designated parents who did not agree with their children’s chosen gender as “abusive”.

The wording here is designed to mislead readers into believing that a new law has been passed solely to label parents who do not agree with their child’s gender change as “abusive”. And that should parents not agree with the gender change there is a risk the children will be taken. But is this really what Bill 89 is claiming? The Explanatory Note includes;

The paramount purpose of the Act — to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of children — remains unchanged from the current Act.

The additional purposes of the Act are expanded to include the following:

         To recognize that services to children and young persons should be provided in a manner that respects regional differences wherever possible and takes into account,

                physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and developmental needs and differences among children and young persons;

                a child’s or young person’s race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; and

                a child’s or young person’s cultural and linguistic needs.

         To recognize that services to children and young persons and their families should be provided in a manner that builds on the strengths of the families wherever possible.

The Bill in total is extensive. 352 sections (containing subsections) within 13 parts. After the preamble the second reference to gender, for example, is mentioned (in the Bill proper) in Paramount purposes and other purposes. It is found in Part 1, Section (1), subsection iii, as below;

Part 1 (1)  The paramount purpose of this Act is to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of children.

(2) The additional purposes of this Act, so long as they are consistent with the best interests, protection and well-being of children, are to recognize the following:

(3) Services to children and young persons should be provided in a manner that,
[…]
iii.  takes into account a child’s or young person’s race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression,

The term “abusive” does not appear in the Bill copy to which Shelton has linked. There are 16 matches to “gender” and 35 matches to “abuse”. It is quite clear from reading the text surrounding these terms that removal of children would be from a demonstrably abusive environment. Exactly what constitutes abuse is well defined. Merit for Shelton’s claim that children would be taken from parents who simply do not “agree” with their child’s gender is lacking.

I find it concerning that Shelton makes this contention in such a fickle manner. The psychological challenges experienced by LGBTIQ adolescents subject to unwanted gender bias or bigotry are well documented. As are many tragic outcomes in some cases where proper support is denied. Society itself must be confident that the rights of children and adolescents will be protected in this regard.

Fortunately this Bill strives to build on the strengths of families “wherever possible” and seeks to promote “the best interests, protection and well-being of children”. It is patently clear that reference to gender identity and sexual orientation is a very small part of what makes up a child’s or young person’s identity. Australia has nothing to fear from Canada’s protection of children because the nation has same-sex marriage legislation.

A number of the other “consequences” listed above are to be revisited by Supreme Courts and one is presently subject to appeal. Others demonstrably discriminate. Indeed there will always be those seeking to draw attention to themselves, or as was said in the case of “Washington grandmother” Barronelle Stutzman, seeking her fifteen minutes of fame. Shelton constantly embellishes and misleads to create the illusion of unjustified, socially restrictive “consequences”.

Shelton’s manufactured concern about a “package deal” and demonstrably unlikely “consequences” is puerile and immoral.

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Reject that and you belong in hell

In God We Teach follows the story of a high school student who recorded his history teacher proselytising for Jesus.

In Kearny New Jersey, student Matthew LaClair recorded teacher David Paszkiewicz preaching about Jesus. An avowed “anti-Darwinist”, who places god before all and concludes academic freedom includes the freedom to preach and not teach, at one time Paszkiewicz informs his history students:

He (Jesus) did everything in his power to make sure you could go to heaven. So much so that he put your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you and is saying ‘please accept me, believe’.

You reject that and you belong in hell.

During a high school christian club meeting Paszkiewicz allows students to articulate the fundamentalist view that immorality thrives through “endorsing” evolution. One student suggests that people would, “… grow cold and empty. You grow cold to people with disabilities. You grow cold to an after life. There is no after life. Why not do what you want? Why not steal? Why not assault people?”.

Paszkiewicz calmly tells the student attendees;

The world doesn’t understand this but believers do. Teaching Darwinism, is something that’s going to take peoples eyes off of god, especially Jesus Christ. […]

It may be against the law to teach Creationism as fact, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

With the town backing the wayward teacher, Matthew LaClair does what clearly had to be done to defend the right to public education and the separation of church and state.

An excellent documentary by vic Losick. Read more at In God We Teach or visit Vimeo.

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

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.

♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣

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

♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣

Footscray City Primary well rid of Steiner “education”

Every word and gesture in my teaching as a whole will be permeated with religious fervour…
Such things show us that instruction and education must not come from accumulated knowledge…
What we have educated in children very naturally in a priestly way – what is really a religious devotion – we must now be able to reawaken at a higher soul level during the second stage of life…

Rudolph Steiner The essentials of education pp. 65-69

I can scarcely agree with Jewell Topsfield writing in The Maribyrnong Weekly expressing concern that parents “… at Footscray City Primary have been left reeling…” after the Education Department moved on Thursday to sack the school council and dump the First Class cult driven Steiner (or Waldorf) “education” program. But then maybe I shouldn’t be surprised because Topsfield inexplicably misleads her readers with:

… the Steiner stream, [which] emphasises learning by play rather than formal classes in the early years of school.

Ah, the “early years of school”. And who could fault “play rather than formal classes”? But is that really what’s going on in Steiner’s secretive descendent program? In brief Steinerism (Anthroposophy cult) propagates the belief that human evolution marched on with survivors from a doomed and fictitious Atlantis who inexplicably made it to other continents.

Generations survived through Persian, Greek and Egyptian civilisations – or epochs – eventually into Germanic tribes which, maintaining their Atlantean heritage culminated in the early 20th century with the Aryan civilisation as the pinnacle of human evolution. Those that survived with Atlantean heritage have largely spiritual forces of body and soul that must be “reawakened”, or developed “in the right way”. It is here that Steinerism as a belief system, a religion, and Steiner Education become inseparably entwined.

In one of his Practical Advice to Teachers lectures Steiner offered:

The subjects you teach will not be treated in the way they have been dealt with hitherto. You will … have to use them as a means with which to develop the soul and bodily forces of the individual in the right way.

Steiner teachers don’t so much reject other races, as pity their clumsy inferiority. Asians whilst ancient and wise are vitiated and cannot invent anything. African races are improperly formed, youthful and childlike. How this goes down in history or biology class – or the “narrow homogenised way of teaching” – as one Steiner parent suggested I can only guess.

Childhood development must follow an analogue of evolution as it’s viewed by Steinerism. That this is done by teaching only further blends the mystical aspects with the purported educational aspects. Steiner Cult teachings divide childhood development into 0-7, 7-14 and 14-21 years.

Thus the “early years of school”, as Topsfield so innocently puts it, is also the “second stage of life”. Whereupon the little darlings should be “able to reawaken at a higher soul level religious devotion” that cult members have drilled into them “in a priestly way”. Of course this is no run-o-the-mill reawakening. Each of these stages is under the influence of either the animal, vegetable or mineral Kingdom. Directed by the Principles of thinking, feeling and willing. Controlled by one of three body parts – head, chest and limbs.

But please spare a thought for the cultists cum teachers who must juggle this with the three Aspects of the human being – body, spirit and soul – which are further sliced by thrice into astral, etheric and physical bodies. Just as well they are experts in the art of Spiritual Science. Or rather Steiner Spiritual Science. I don’t want to get out of tri-sequence here.

On top of this they must accept that conventional science is rubbish, homeopathy is real, diabetes is treated with bee stings because, “anthroposophically logically” honeybees like sugar, the body has energy channels and fields (akin to chi, meridians and chakra) that are treatable through more pseudoscience. They are influenced by karma which comes into being by Lucifers’ effects upon their astral body. Lucifer then evokes Ahriman who effects from without, “working upon and in us by means of all that confronts us externally”. Reincarnation is real.

With all this on their mind, teachers appear to forget to inform parents of Steiner’s key revelations that he could encounter a super-sensible reality. This super sensible chap was behind ordinary objects in the world but as “a so to speak divine being” could give Steiner knowledge acquired about these everyday objects. This knowledge was, most fortuitously, secrets of their activities and existence previously revealed to the super-sensible reality. Steiner seemed to take this in his stride and later ascended through etheric and astral consciousness, eventually arriving at the karmic level.

When he ascended to the karmic level Steiner must have had a better view than from Eureka Skydeck

The karmic level must be even better than the Eureka Skydeck because from up there Steiner saw an amazing spiritual panoramic view including all recorded spiritual events in the history of the whole wide world. He probably couldn’t believe his luck, and it turned out this history had a name. The Akashic Records. Akashic is Sanskrit for “Sky” or “aether”. Through these records he could access the known history of the earth. Not his “known history” but the real known history. There were some other nifty tidbits in there as well it turned out, gleaned from clairvoyance. If anything trumps scientific fact, it’s clairvoyance.

With clairvoyance “Anthroposophists can scientifically investigate mysteries in both the spiritual and physical realms”and this is scientifically proven, not an article of faith according to Steiner teachers. Steiner knew that islands “swim in the sea”, that the Earth (nor Venus and Mercury for that matter) does not orbit the sun, but “follows it” whilst Mars, Jupiter and Saturn precede it and clearly the heart does not pump blood like scientists say, but attracts it. Sleep is “exhaling the astral body… awakening is inhaling it”, the earth is a living being and much, much more. This can be discerned through “powerful clairvoyance”.

For Spiritual Anthroposophists (fellow cultists), evolution began on the fictitious continent of Lemuria which was situated where the Indian Ocean stubbornly seems to be today. Evolution was a highly spiritual process overseen by the likes of Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel and positively assisted by other spirit beings. The Christian Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost “is a reality deeply bound up with the whole evolution of the cosmos”, Steiner wrote in 1922. On Lemuria and Atlantis, Lucifer and Ahriman respectively were the bad guys who held back evolution. Spiritual evolution.

For the mythologists out there you’ll recognise Ahriman as a principle evil doer in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. According to Steiner in An Outline Of Occult Science:

These two figures — Lucifer and Ahriman — must be clearly distinguished from each other. For Lucifer is a Being who detached himself from the spiritual hosts of heaven after the separation of the sun, whereas Ahriman had already broken away before the separation of the sun and is an embodiment of quite different powers.

The site Overlords of Chaos – that New World Order extravaganza – has much the same in the second paragraph on the Ahrimanic Deception, the Atlantean epoch and destruction of Atlantis and some “insight” into mans ability to manipulate the forces of air and water on Lemuria. What these deviations from Steiner’s teachings and work show us is that Steiner did not break entirely new ground.

Rather, Steiner mixed junk science with ancient mythology that actually went very well with the Aryan supremacy theories of the early 1900’s and the German Nationalist Socialist movement of the 1920’s. Although I rush to add there is no link to Nazism. Steiner’s views on Aryan supremacy were spiritual, not material and benign not malevolent. His schools were closed down by the Nazi party. At the time many Anthroposophists in Germany headed to Switzerland. Dornach, Switzerland was the location of 26 of Steiner’s 38 fabled Esoteric Lessons, allowing entrance into his First Class Cult. Hitler did persecute Theosophists, Freemasons, and Rosicrucians also, arguably as surety against threats to Nazi rule.

Steiner was accused by Hitler of being a tool of the Jews. Other sources claim he was murdered by the Thule Society. Nonetheless, there were secret lodges and occult societies aplenty in Germany in the early 1920’s. The secrecy of Steiner’s First Class Cult happenings is demonstrably impervious even today, though online texts exist (sorry about the eye zap). But persecution and quaint secrecy relate exclusively to the past. Today the realities of multiculturalism have had an eroding impact on attendee genealogy, if not Steiner philosophy.

Spiritual teachings include the belief that Lucifer caused a volcanic destruction of Lemuria ending the Lemurian epoch. The strongest survived and settled on fabled Atlantis. Here they developed a superior and intuitive grasp of the environment and speech. As hinted at above, their nemesis here was Ahriman who sought to lure them toward the material from the spiritual and intuitive. Still today criticism of a material understanding of the world or education remains and plays a major role as to why parents have little say in their childs’ education. Put bluntly, Steiner education is about stomping out critical thought before it takes hold.

As Roger Rawlings writes in My Experience As A Waldorf Student, about a discussion with his Steiner teacher:

Once he asked me whether he should fire the school’s Latin teacher, and he quickly added “Don’t think about it with your brain”—I should give an instinctive response, not a considered reply. (Which raises the question, what organ should be used for thinking, if not the brain?)

Whilst Steiner’s notions on the linguistic meaning of speech are insightful, valid and at times fascinating, the religious and mystical overtones of his teaching are inescapable. From his first Practical Advice For Teachers lecture:

We could ask why these things are as yet not included in science, even though they offer real practical help. The reason is that we are still working out what is necessary for the fifth post-Atlantean age, especially in terms of education. If you accept that speech in this sense indicates something inward in the vowels and something external in the consonants, you will find it very easy to create images for the consonants.

You will no longer need the pictures I will give you in the next few lectures; you will be able to make your own and establish an inner connection with the children. This is much better than merely adopting an outer image. In this way we recognize speech as a relationship between the human being and the cosmos. On our own as human beings, we would merely remain astonished, but our relationship with the cosmos invokes sounds from our astonishment.

Speaking of making sounds from astonishment. During Atlantean times man could command the creative forces of plant (vegetable), animal and mineral kingdoms, which is mirrored in Steiner Education of children – perhaps your children – today. It was Ahriman the second distinct incarnation of evil, who gradually misled some inhabitants of Atlantis to misuse the power of Earth and Water which led to the divine powers of Nature flooding Atlantis in a particularly nasty storm. So it was that the Atlantean epoch ended and the Persian, Egyptian, Indian, Hebrew, etc epochs followed, right up until the Germanic epoch.

Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy is a religion in every way and should not be tolerated in a serious education system. Fixation with the numbers three and seven is plainly religious. Avoiding the wearing of dark colours is a Steiner religious expression relating to dark forces and the dark side of humanity. The “play” we hear of in place of “lessons” is nothing of the sort. It is designed to avoid structure, reasoning, choice, calculating cause and effect, or indeed any materially oriented activity.

Rather it’s a primitive “play” to reinforce the supposed intuitive correlates to the latent Atlantean self and thus “reawaken” the Atlantean powers as dictated by this religious cult. The most famous are the watery paint blobs kids churn out. Designed to expunge the thought, care and even correction needed to apply straight lines and geometric thinking that children develop with traditional drawing, painting helps to tap into the “forces” of body and soul.

As you may have noticed selling an evidence base for this hanky panky is a big ask. Showing a bit of flare even Scientologists must admire, Melbourne’s Rudolf Steiner School dodges Australian Government guidelines. Although controversial, all schools are to make publically available the performance of their students. This includes the percentage of students meeting reading, writing, spelling and numeracy skills for years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Amongst a cornucopia of feelgood cuddly wuddly spiritual warmth, the Rudolf Steiner School response (item 6) is:

As 98% of parents chose to remove their children from participation in these tests, it did not allow for a large enough sample to be indicative of the School’s Performance. Therefore results are not available.

So what’s the score? Given all the above, Victorians can be grateful for the Education Department action in removing what I confidently predict (without any Steiner clairvoyance) was a school council heavily weighted in favour of psuedoscience and religion dressed up as education. Simple cult observance.

Children are fairly robust and can sort silly parental views from the real world with remarkable skill. Still, that there is such a strong and vibrant abuse of our education guidelines, thus Victorian children, played out in Steiner annexes and at the main campus in Warranwood is concerning. Perhaps the Department should extend its reach.

Clearly Steiner education is designed to propagate religious beliefs. Parents are given no say in their childrens’ “education” under the Steiner banner. Steiner School curricula cannot possibly comply with Government regulations. The inherent racism in Steiner’s teachings are manifest. We need to accept that Waldorf schools hide the truth of their extreme religion from education authorities and prospective recruits alike. In respect of the previous point Steiner Education is to be regarded as a cult.

Yet more specifically is the High Court definition of a religion given in Victoria October 27, 1983 during the Scientology case. Church of New Faith vs Commissioner of Pay-Roll Tax:

We would therefore hold that, for the purposes of the law, the criteria of religion are twofold: first, belief in a supernatural Being, Thing or Principle; and second, the acceptance of canons of conduct in order to give effect to that belief… Those criteria may vary in their comparative importance, and there may be a different intensity of belief or of acceptance of canons of conduct among religions or among the adherents to a religion. The tenets of a religion may give primacy to one particular belief or to one particular canon of conduct. [….]

According to this legal definition Steiner Education, which follows on from and is presented strictly as relevant to a system of belief as outlined above, is clearly a religion.

Steiner education is anti-science and certainly anti-critical thought. Anthroposophy itself offers a non evidence based, completely ineffective alternative to medicine. The inherent dangers of these practices and the thinking it nurtures are well documented. To allow expansion of such illusory beliefs and high risk conduct under the watch of any Education Department, state or federal, is patently irresponsible.

More so, the volume of work produced by Rudolph Steiner goes far beyond belief and ritual to a universal and “cosmic” world view that at it’s heart is demonstrably void of any grounding in reality whatsoever. It is fantasy. Our education system should teach fantasy as fantasy, not permit our corridors of learning to be used for the telling of fables palmed off as fact. The growth of this new age cult belief in adults is at variance to, and an unwelcome intrusion upon, the natural development and educational needs of children.

Any parent who spends some time understanding the purpose of Steiner Education would no doubt, to borrow Jewell Topsfield’s phrase, be left reeling.