Christianity Today, a leading tone setting magazine in America for the Christian Right, profiles the plum set up that Evangelicals in Australia have managed to create by getting the Commonwealth to direct hundreds of Millions of dollars though Evangelical Faith Organizations to hire and staff Chaplains in the Government run schools.
As far as organizational strategy goes, Australia’s Evangelicals are world leaders in using state support for their mission.
The new wave of Parachurch youth service vendors such as Scripture Union, YouthCARE, Genr8, ACCESS Ministry – are all basically flying under the radar, carefully positioning themselves as being there to help kids.
It is amazing that the teachers and principals put up with this … as we’ve shown time and time again, this is clearly seen as a great way to “reach kids” with a particularly shallow evangelical message.
So far, the only serious challenge to the program has come from the Australian Psychological Society. The advocates of Chaplaincy, though have landed on a message fit for public consumption:
Rebekah Robinson, a primary school chaplain in Brisbane, Queensland, says that on genuine mental health issues, she and other chaplains are trained to “refer, refer, refer,” generally to the principal. Much of a chaplain’s job, she says, is not under a counselor’s purview.
“You can’t tie up a professional psychologist on a professional psychologist’s wage with, ‘He stole my pencil and I want it back.’ “
Tassie is a bit behind the curve, and hasn’t yet gotten the memo that you can’t brag about this kind of thing: