Religion in Schools

Find an example of a media text presenting an issue.

How might this media text contribute to debate in the public sphere?

Where does this debate take place?

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Now, I know what you’re thinking, how is this media text presenting an issue? This poster came home from school with my brother, age 5, which was kindly provided to him by his school’s “scripture teacher”. Whilst I myself am an atheist, and possess quite a large amount of bias regarding the teaching of monotheistic religions in primary education as fact, I still feel that I am informed enough to provide a coherent and articulate response as to why this media text, given to kindergartners, presents an issue in our public education system.

The debate itself revolves around the teaching of religious studies in our public schooling systems. however, these “religious studies” or “scripture” as it is known in most schools has evolved (no pun intended) into the teaching of monotheistic religion, mainly the beliefs of the Christian doctrine. Furthermore, these teachings are presented as fact, which in my opinion is an issue which needs resolution. We see this debate in America also with the Vice President Mike Pence condemning Evolution and prompting for creationism to be taught in science classes. Pence bushed for a ban on evolution in the schooling systems of America late last year. See the link below if you want to check it out, if not however, I’ll give you some quotes from Pence.

The argument from Mike Pence is that Darwinian Evolution is an atheistic mantra and that we should “protect students from indoctrination”. Now this is where the hypocrisy goes comical. The poster given to my 5-year-old brother demonstrates how through monotheistic teachings of the Christian religion, there is an attempt to indoctrinate the youthful, thus allowing them to present these teachings as evidence based fact whilst they are young and impressionable. The idea that god is all loving, as demonstrated in the poster, is somewhat cherry picked from the scripture and through close analyse I have found many contradictions which unfortunately by the time the children are old enough to understand; and have these contradictions explained to them it is too late. As by then, the religious mantra has been demonstrated as fact and thus their minds already impacted.

To save the critical comments such as “where are the examples” I will provide one quick one here, however feel free to question me in the comments. The idea from the poster that “god loves and cares for the things he has made”, is contradicted by Leviticus 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. This is contradictory if the bible verses are to be believed, as the monotheistic God of the Christian religion created homosexuals and thus is stating that those he is meant to care about are abominations. This to me is abhorrent and immoral.  

 

Current Issues in the Media

What are the current issues involving people and their use of the media?

When asking the question of who controls the media, it is critical to obtain an angle. In this case, the question which arises is the current issue regrading people in relation to their use of media. In my opinion, it is impossible for a news outlet to become completely unbiased to a political agenda, especially when observing the main split in political ideology, such as the debates on climate change, secularism (which includes the gay marriage debate) and immigration. These debates are seen right throughout the media, with the President of The United States, Donald Trump, denying the validity of climate change, criticism of doctrines being conflated with bigotry and racism and finally the Brexit.

Media outlets and the people who promote them are using their platforms to sway public opinion to suit a political agenda, rather than reporting unbiased facts and discussions. It is this use of the media which is an issue. Furthermore, i will discuss this statement in regards to the Brexit.

The idea of the Brexit is one that is disillusioned through the political sway of the UK’s right winged independence parties, one such being the voice of UKIP or more appropriately their front man Nigel Farage who urged the UK that the Brexit was for the best, stating that “we give the EU 350 million pounds a week” which in turn, through the use of media such as twitter, was spread as fact by Farage. Furthermore, this number had been debunked and stood at an estimated 190 million dollars a week. John Oliver had pointed out in a segment, the day after the referendum, that in order to stay within common market, the UK would have to pay a similar amount to the European Union either way. However, here we are in 2017 with the Brexit confirmed. To make matters worse, a CNN poll conducted the day after the Brexit showed the most googled questions surrounding the EU including “what is the EU?” and “what does it mean if i voted to leave the EU?”.

 

Who Controls the Media?

Who ‘owns’ and/or ‘controls’ the media you use to access your ‘news’? Why does this matter?

To answer the question immediately, I access a large range of media outlets, whether its CNN, SBS or ABC. However, whilst I do regard myself as swaying more to the left of politics, I do subscribe to Fox News, simply to see how they portray their stories and how they report on events. I feel as though I would be hypocritical if I just assumed their bias and stuck to my “fake news”.

However, I do not just access mainstream media outlets who associate themselves with the “unbiased” market, as some of the most interesting and thought provoking reasoning comes from news platforms that pride themselves on their political, cultural, social and economic beliefs. One such example, being Russel Brand’s “Trew News”, which is presented on his YouTube channel weekly. You can find updates on issues regarding the Brexit, changing drug laws, U.S policies mainly revolving around Trump, vaccinations and many more current and interesting topics. Whilst this is clear bias,  it also provides critical analyse and thinking on issues which are simply reported on by mainstream media outlets such as CNN and Fox News.

Why does this matter? It matters because information is the foundation of our society. Without information we are left in the dark and it is a human instinct to understand and discover, thus news outlets are provided for us. Therefore, the information that is given to us needs to be analysed for probable bias, as information can be misconstrued and warped to fit a personal or political gain. If you asked a conservative American about media bias, they would most likely say that liberalism is saturated throughout, however statistics would show the Murdoch owns a large majority of the world’s media sources thus debunking the claim. The right winged media bias is constructed as to prevent true liberalism and keep it contained. Furthermore, this is seen more so than ever, with the attack of liberal media in the White House, being barred from entering by President Trump during several of his press conferences . Its starting to look like George Orwell’s 1984.