New Zealand Government Says No to Church’s Charter School Plans Fearing Religious Coercion of Students December 1, 2014

New Zealand Government Says No to Church’s Charter School Plans Fearing Religious Coercion of Students

When a church applies to run a taxpayer-funded charter school, does anyone seriously trust them to do the right thing? They almost did in New Zealand until the evidence showed otherwise:

A real image from Destiny Church’s Facebook page

Destiny Church’s failed attempt to set up a charter school was blocked in part because of Ministry of Education fears about students being pressured into joining the church.

The ministry discovered irregularities between Destiny’s claim that they were open to non-church members, as school-goers were also expected to attend the church.

“[Destiny] anticipated that those students who were not church members when they joined the school were likely to join the church because of the ‘relational engagement’ that takes place by the school staff with their families outside of school hours.”

Shocking. A church-run school that’s more interested in finding converts than educating children…

The same church’s private school is still hoping to get government funding, which is allowed in the country, but they face the same hurdles:

… The Education Ministry documents were released to the Herald on Sunday as it decides whether to allow Destiny’s private school to enter the state school system, and gain a significant boost in taxpayer funding. Katrina Casey, head of sector enablement and support, said the application process for integration of a private school into the state system was complex.

“Parents have a choice of many different types of schooling but it is not appropriate for schools that are publicly funded to try and make children accept particular religious beliefs,” she said.

A decision on whether to grant Destiny state school status would be made by April next year.

It’s hardly surprising that, despite being turned down as a charter school, the church still wants to run a public school. Either way, they would get funding from the government. How many smoking guns do Ministry of Education officials need before they understand that the church isn’t going to stop seeing children as anything but moving targets for proselytization?

The Ministry caught the church once. Hopefully, they can do it again.

For more information on this issue, check out Save Our Schools NZ, a group that has been tracking this story (among others) for a while now.

***Update***: Destiny Church was in the news again today in connection with that picture I posted above.

(Thanks to David for the link)

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