What a sublime, or perhaps obscene, irony that Prime Minister John Howard has ordained chaplains for state public schools at the same time as the Church of England is selling off properties to pay for the psychological scarring its paedophile priests inflicted on the young. The Roman Catholic church also has been immersed in similar compensation requirements.
And yet ---
Howard has put up $90 million to put God-botherers into schools - $20,000 per school - asking state governments to match the funding.
Of course, Howard has said that the chaplains don't have to be religion-specific. But who ever heard of a Muslim chaplin, a Hindu chaplain, a Buddhist chaplain...? Indeed, a chaplain is:
1. A member of the clergy attached to a chapel.
a. A member of the clergy who conducts religious services for an institution, such as a prison or hospital.
b. A member of the clergy who is connected with a royal court or an aristocratic household.
3. A member of the clergy attached to a branch of the armed forces.
We had better now add to this definition "a member of the clergy embedded among the impressionable young" - and hope that yet more accusations of paedophilia do not follow.