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5: Public vs private schools, religious freedom and *that* letter on gay teachers


Public vs private schools,

religious freedom and

*that* letter on gay teachers

with Michael Jensen and Megan Powell du Toit

Megan and Michael dig deep into their own school experiences and how it has shaped their worldview, for good and bad, while discussing religious freedom and the now infamous letter from 34 Sydney Anglican schools defending their right to uphold the Christian ethos of their school in their choice of teachers.

In For Argument’s Sake, Michael and Megan talk about the “real blow up” that is the religious freedom debate circling around whether Christian schools should be able to discriminate in the hiring of staff and selection of students. Triggered by a bill from the Greens, there has been heated debate about a letter from 34 Anglican schools in Sydney, organised by the Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies which supported the schools’ right to uphold the Christian ethos of their school in their choice of teachers. Read more about the backlash, which included protests and apologies, here. Also, here is the letter from Anglican Principals, a letter in response from school alumni and the apology from the Archbishop. Phew. What a mess (and check out this Media Watch about the whole saga as it was reported in the media)  “It really went feral, didn’t it?” Michael says.

In the discussion, Michael and Megan try to get to the bottom of what it is that Christians are actually arguing for in this latest iteration of the religious freedom debate? And … is it a fair thing to be seeking to protect?

Then, Michael and Megan get into The Secret Life of Us, a new segment in which they try to figure out what makes the other tick. The topic? How their school experiences have shaped their worldview.

Just FYI: Michael went to North Newtown Public then Trinity Grammar (an Anglican boys school). Megan went to Loftus Public, Ferncourt Public, Campbelltown North Public, Kent Rd Public and Peter Board High. So, let the arguments begin about private vs public schooling.

Moving on to Marg and Dave, Megan chose the much-hyped Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton and called it “one of the great Australian novels”. While the novel takes a good look at the “underbelly of Brisbane society”, Megan said she found it “quite a joyful novel”. Does Michael agree? Listen in to find out.

The book, says Megan, asks questions like, What is it to be a good person? How can I redeem myself? What motivates someone to be good? Listen to Trent Dalton talk about the book’s connection to his life on ABC’s Conversations podcast.


Less aggro, more conversation.

Is it even possible to have a deep discussion without it descending into chaos? Michael Jensen and Megan Powell du Toit think yes, and want to show the rest of us how to do it.

There’s plenty of things they disagree on: free will, feminism, where you should send your kids to school and what type of church you should go to. But there are also plenty of other things that they have in common. They want to talk about all these things with conviction. But they also want the conversation to be constructive. Tune in to find out if that’s possible.

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Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. At the end of each season we dedicate an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for?
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