Christians in Australia are accusing national education officials of "Christian cleansing" in response to pending changes in school books that would remove references to the birth of Jesus Christ.
The government would replace the terms BC, Before Christ, and AD, Anno Domini, with non-religious language. The new terms will be BCE (Before Common Era), BP (Before Present) and CE (Common Era).
A spokesman for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority told The Herald Sun that the new terms were an increasingly common standard for the representation of dates.
Peter Jensen, the Archbishop of Sydney, told The Daily Telegraph that taking references to the birth of Jesus Christ out of school books was an "intellectually absurd attempt to write Christ out of human history."
"It is absurd because the coming of Christ remains the centre point of dating and because the phrase 'common era' is meaningless and misleading," he told the Sydney Daily Telegraph.
Fred Nile, a minister in New South Wales, told the newspaper it was "an absolute disgrace" and the "final insult" to Australian Christians.
"The direction of the national curriculum is towards almost a Christian cleansing to remove from our history any references to the role Christianity had in the formation of Australia and still has today," he told The Telegraph.