Young Master Fine is responding to Reverend Fred Nile’s call for the New South Wales government to abolish ethics classes currently being taught in 128 public schools throughout the state. Nile is the National President of the Christian Democratic Party, a right-wing outfit that predictably opposes LGBT rights, abortion, euthanasia, pornography and flavours of sky fairyism other than its own. What is especially worrying is that Nile is the Assistant President of the NSW Legislative Council, which means that his conservative Christian beliefs could have an inappropriate influence on NSW lawmaking.
Nile wants to get rid of ethics classes because they have the sinister effect of exposing schoolkids to ideas that do not comport with his preferred supernatural fictions. And he is ganging up with the Shooters and Fishers Party to bully the state government into giving him what he wants. Nile says that he will block any key legislation from being passed by the upper house if ethics classes are not scrapped. He has issued this veiled threat:
The government has to respect that we [the Christian Democrats and the Shooters] have influence. They need our votes on every bill. We want to maintain a positive relationship with the government, but it is a two-way street.
The NSW government led by Premier Barry O’Farrell has apparently submitted to Nile’s demands and is considering removing ethics classes from schools, despite O’Farrell’s election promise not to do so. Charlie Fine expresses the sentiments of many secularists when he writes:
Mr Nile is attempting to abolish ethics classes in school, so that all schoolchildren learn what he believes in, which goes against the wishes of many Australian parents.
By all means, Mr Nile, you go out and be as Christian as you want; I respect that entirely. But that does not give you and your supporters the right to attempt to shape a future generation of adults in your mould – that is a religious conservative.
Your views are out of step with modern society, so I would ask you to reconsider your actions and continue to allow parents and children a choice in their classrooms.
Master Fine also has a few words for the rather spineless Premier:
And Premier Barry O'Farrell, you promised to keep ethics classes. Mr Nile is trying to make you break your promises and undermine what you stand for.
I trust you not to be manipulated by a man who on Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras gets down on his knees and prays for rain.
A reprimand and some well-placed snark. The young lad shows much promise.