Christian education in government schools is suddenly controversial, as secularists make it the latest battleground in their efforts to wind back what they see as the malign influence of religion.

A case alleging discrimination has been brought to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission; interfaith groups and a new multi-faith education network of academics want to end the present system; and the Education Department is under pressure over what seems an odd interpretation of the Education Act, arguing that the phrase “may” provide special religious instruction actually means “must” provide it.

This battle is one the advocates of what is called special religious instruction are doomed to lose, because the high ground belongs to their opponents.

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