New Zealand State School Offers Bible Classes Under the Guise of Values Education; Some Parents Protest October 23, 2014

New Zealand State School Offers Bible Classes Under the Guise of Values Education; Some Parents Protest

[Corrected as noted below]

Who doesn’t like “values”? Values are what those of us with kids would probably most like to impart to them. But whose values?

That’s what Roy Warren, an Australian New Zealand father, is asking a state school after his five-year-old son was subjected to a values curriculum. The teaching is, to say the least, a little one-sided.

The program is run by the Churches Education Commission, which acts on behalf of Christian churches to teach religious education in state schools. …

[Says Warren:] “I went through the 18 lessons and every one of them is about God. For 18 weeks these children are being told to believe in God. It’s evangelistic.”

Families can opt out of the program but Warren did not want to isolate his son. “I thought it was very unfair to take him away from his classmates and get him sitting by himself coloring in and making him feel ostracized,” he says. “And then have to explain to him he hasn’t been bad or naughty, but it’s just against what we believe in as a family.

Warren says there are around a dozen parents from St. Heliers School who support him and at least one other parent is laying a complaint with the Human Rights Commission [as he has].

The matter is now in mediation.

Simon Greening from the Churches Education Commission believes that

… it is good for children to learn about religion and that school boards should have support systems for parents who opt out.

The school doesn’t seem too fazed by the whole thing. Following Warren’s complaint, it put the matter up for a vote among parents, and a two-thirds majority of those who voted wants to keep the come-to-Jesus program.

Only 41 per cent of parents voted. Of those, 67 per cent were in favor, 18 per cent were against and 13 per cent were neutral.

(Image via Shutterstock)


Correction: The case is playing out in New Zealand, not Australia as I originally wrote. Having visited both countries, I do know the difference (most of the time 😉 ). My thanks to the reader who pointed it out, and my apologies to all for the error.

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