Congratulations - Chaplains in schools
From: Pastor Len Guini, FSM Australia
Date: Oct 29, 2006 5:59 PM
Subject: Congratulations - Chaplains in schools
Attn. Hon. Julie Bishop MP
Minister for Education, Science and Training
Dear Minister Bishop
Congratulations on today's announcement of the Chaplains in Schools program and, in particular, the government's commitment of $90 million over three years to fund further exploration of religious values in our schools.
On behalf of Australia's Pastafarian community, I welcome the Prime Minister's assurance that the program will include funding chaplains to undertake work including "assisting students in exploring their spirituality; (and) providing guidance on religious, values and ethical matters".
We in no way seek to make light of the many serious issues faced by our young people. We seek only to congratulate you on your commitment and resolve in devoting taxpayer's money to the active promotion of religion in schools, government and non-government alike.
As you may be aware, Pastafarians believe the world was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. While in the past year we have seen enormous growth in the number of Australians professing our faith, and greater interest yet in our beliefs and Holy writings, we continue to face a gap in awareness about our faith among the general community.
In particular, we are saddened that increasing numbers of school students are being taught about the Christian God in their science classrooms, but they have yet to be taught about the other main explanation for the creation of the universe: the intervention of the FSM, and the beneficient nudges of His Noodly Appendages.
Perhaps the placement of government-funded Pastafarian chaplains in schools may go some way towards rectifying this gap in their knowledge. I would be only too pleased to answer the call, and I'm sure Pastor Al Dente would be with me on this point, if the FSM should nudge us gently in this direction.
Given the regrettable but continuing discrimination faced by the Pastafarian community in this country, it is my hope that, in the event that a school community applies for funding for appointment of an FSM chaplain, your new Reference Group and officers of your Department will not attempt to prevent the appointment. After all, as the Prime Minister noted, the "choice of chaplaincy services, including the religious affiliation and denomination, is entirely a decision for the school community".
When it comes to our schools, and indeed the Australian community as a whole, we humbly pledge to put the 'pasta' back into 'pastoral care'.
Yours most sincerely
Pastor Len Guini
Church of the FSM