Scott & Sarah Kennedy

Friday, June 10, 2005

An Example

Recently I have been looking into education on my blog. Dan pointed out an example of what I’m talking about to me this morning. Seatoun Primary School in Wellington has banned a Christian-Based club which has been running in the school since 2002. The club is not compulsory for children to go to, but parents who want to, allow their children to attend it.

The board of trustees spokesperson, Bob Roche has told the media that the board has legal opinion supporting their decision to can the programme. The board also claims that parents support the decision. On parent claimed; "If I wanted my children to be religiously educated I would send them to a religious school".

This report comes at an excellent time. We have just been discussing who God holds responsible for the education of children. We have also recently discussed the lack of neutrality in education.

In this example we see a traditional view of state schools is held by the Board of Trustees, and the parent quoted. They see the state school as devoid of religion. Religion is outside the realm of the state. But these are naive statements, as we have demonstrated in earlier posts. State education is by definition religious, because it makes religious claims. It claims God either does not exist, or does not have anything to offer in education. This is a religious claim. Christians who claim as this parent did, that religion should not be taught not in state schools, are utterly misguided. There is no such thing as a non-religious school. You can't escape religion. Our beliefs, or our worldview if you like, are always present behind our teaching. Worldview always impinges on practice. As Christians we should know this. We must not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds in all aspects of life.

The second and possibly more disturbing aspect of this whole case is the fact that it takes responsibility away from parents. The school trust board spokesperson claimed this: - "We're going to consider ministerial advice that we're getting, we're going to consider advice from the School Trustees Association and when we've put all those things into the mix we're going to come up with the best decision for the community.”

Why should we worry about this claim? We should be extremely concerned by it’s content. In this claim, Bob Roche sets the opinions of the trust board, ministerial advice, and the Schools Trustees Association over the opinions of individual parents. They, not parents, will decide what is good in children’s education. They know what is best for the community. Really? What utter piffle. If our state education system knows best, how is it that since they have dabbled in sex education, teenage pregnancies and STD rates have only got infinitely worse? No my friends, they do not know best. Parents should be able to decide these things. Why should anyone stop this club which is a voluntary lunch time club, and which parents decide put their kids in? If parents are unhappy with it, their children do not have to attend. Education is the responsibility of parents, not the state.

You may laugh now, but this is a warning to us. Friends, this will not be an isolated case. A precedent is being set, and soon this type of thing will happen all over New Zealand. When will we see what is happening to our New Zealand? When will we wake up? How long will it be before our government starts telling us that certain beliefs are not in the best interests of the community and will be banned? Will we fight, or will we sit in the stupor of apathy on our comfortable couches and let it all wash over us?

Edit 1:10pm 10/6/2005 - New information came to light on the time this club was held.
See also this article.


  • Great Scott!! That's great, Scott!

    Mr Bob Roche seems to think that his successful-lawyershipness, along with the better-knowingness of an increasingly-abstractive government department can determine what is best for children. And not just the children at his school either; I believe he would be intending to set a clear precedent for schools anywhere.

    Dangerous meddlings, I say.

    How can he claim that his religion is better than anyone elses?

    You know how much I dislike the issue of 'Human Rights', particularly at the expense of personal and social responsibility, but here I agree that this decision to ban a Christian group where attendance is voluntary and acceptable to parents, is in clear breach of the Human Rights Act. I believe Mr Roche will find this a difficult issue to resolve.

    By Anonymous Dan, at 11:56 AM, June 10, 2005  

  • Here is another article that looks at this same issue.

    By Anonymous Dan, at 11:58 AM, June 10, 2005  

  • Me again...

    the link in my first comment should have been ...I dislike the issue of 'Human Rights'...

    By Anonymous Dan, at 12:05 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • Scotty, this is a good analysis, and well explained. You are exactly right: there is no such thing as a non-religious school.

    I wish more Christians were awake to the hood-winking performed by language that designates everything except the 'secular' as 'religious'.

    By Anonymous Aaron, at 1:59 PM, June 10, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home