Priest slams MP's classroom Satanism hysteria

Sunshine Coast parish priest Fr John Dobson has labelled as irrational the local MP's claims that expanding state school religious classes beyond Christianity could open the door to Satanism lessons.

Fr Dobson's comments follow warnings by National Party MP Fiona Simpson, a practising Christian taught Christianity herself in the state school system, that Satanism and witchcraft could replace Christianity on the state school curriculum under proposed changes to religious education.

Ms Simpson said the draft Education Bill would make it "entirely feasible" for the black arts to be taught in the state's primary and high schools.

"Because of the changes they've made to the Anti-discrimination Act under this government, it would be entirely feasible for someone to put up a curriculum to teach witchcraft or Satanism," she said.

"I'm not being extremist here. It's completely feasible under the changes that are coming. They've opened the door for that to happen."

But Fr Dobson and other church leaders have rubbished Ms Simpson's claims. They say the plan to expand the curriculum with other mainstream religions will be good for students.

"Fiona Simpson is in opposition and the job of opposition is to oppose," Fr Dobson said. "We all know that doesn't demand rational thinking ... I don't feel there's any threat from Satanism."

"I think it would be good for genuine Islamic studies, along with Judaism and Buddhism, to be available to students," Fr Dobson said.

He added: "Christianity should not survive if it means excluding all else. (Ms Simpson is) raising the old fear technique that is well acquainted in the Australian political system."

Satanism coming to classroom: MP (Sunshine Coast Daily 18/4/06)

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Fiona Simpson

20 Apr 2006