Fiona Newton has started a change.org petition to prevent the Hillsong Schools Tour 2020 from visiting public schools and indoctrinating students into their Christian beliefs.
She wants the right for parents who choose not to enrol their children in religious educational institutions to be free from insidious religious influence.
“I have a 3-year-old son and am in a same sex relationship, so we are a rainbow family,” Newton told Star Observer. “My son will be starting school in two years and we want him to attend a public school.”
“When I learned that Hillsong have announced that they were doing a school tour in 2020 to proselytise their religion to children in public schools, I was alarmed and felt unsafe.”
According to a statement on Hillsongs website the mission of the Schools Tour is to “strengthen and develop the hearts and minds of students from all walks of life across Australia”.
“This message of hope and freedom would not be contained to the four walls of a church but would light up the darkest places in our schools and ultimately in the lives of young people.”
Scheduled for March and April next year, the national tour will rely on donations to fund travel and other costs. With each tour, Hillsong aims to increase their reach in schools and communities around the country.
“These tours offer a program that is full of life giving, contemporary praise and worship and an inspiring and hope filled message that speaks to young people’s true identity and their longing for connection,” alleges a statement on Hillsong Australia’s website.
“Our prayer is that young people would know that they are ‘Never Alone’– packaged in a fun, relevant and engaging way through activities, games, performances as well as an outdoor festival that rallies school communities together.”
This is not something Fiona Newton wants her child or those of other families to be exposed to when they deliberately enrol them in non-faith based public institutions.
“Hillsong have preached against LGBTI rights,” she told Star Observer. “They encouraged their congregation to Vote No in the Same Sex Marriage Postal Survey, they preach a prosperity doctrine, and they are now asking the schools for $2000 to help them preach their message.”
“As non-religious and LGBTI people we have the right to send our children to school without fear of them being brainwashed into a religion!
“I started this petition to give all the people that felt the same a voice against this and it will be sent to the federal and state education ministers.”
In less than two days her change.org petition has garnered over two thousand signatures and continues to grow steadily as more people become aware of it and the Hillsong Schools Tour.
“We should not be allowing the teaching of this fundamentalist church near our young people,” says Newton. “We have a right to freedom from religion!”