REGARDING the question of whether government-funded chaplains should be present in public schools, Bruce Hambour argues that Western civilisation flourished because of Judeo-Christian values (The Advertiser, 19/5/11).
In a way, he is correct. The social, economic and military expansion of Western nations was often driven by a desire to colonise territory, convert souls and accumulate riches for the glory of Christendom. Spanish conquest of the Americas and the numerous crusades launched by medieval Europe are just two examples. He then suggests that democracy cannot prosper in the absence of Christian values. But the strength of Western society comes from shared ideas about freedom, opportunity, respect and compassion, not the narrow dogma of one particular religion. Yes, Christianity has sometimes advocated these values, but it has often strayed from them in spectacularly cruel and barbaric fashion.
Surely, then, we should teach our children that such moral virtues are important in and of themselves, not linked to belief in a supernatural being.
Instead of spending $220 million trying to make them good Christians, we should do everything possible to help them become good people.
BEN ADAMS, Park Holme.
The Advertiser, May 20, 2011.