Teach all major religions in schools

About 250 Methodist Church ministers and lay people voted at its national conference in Blenheim on Tuesday to ask the Ministry of Education to have all major religions taught in schools

Methodist Church director of mission Trevor Hoggard said the church wanted details about objective religious teaching in schools.

“With all the troubles we’re seeing all around the world today, [we feel] New Zealand children need to have a basic grasp of all the major religions.”

“We’re all global citizens….That’s the context in which our children are growing up in.”

Victoria University professor Paul Morris’ reviewed two Churches Education Commission (CEC) syllabuses obtained by the Secular Education Network called Launch 1 and Life Choices.

He found the  material was unsuitable for non-Christian, non-evangelical students.

The organisation’s website said volunteers who went into New Zealand classrooms to teach the CEC material were to use phrases like “Christians believe” rather than stating religious beliefs as fact.

However, Morris said the statements on the website do not honestly reflect CEC’s viewpoint as it is expressed in the syllabuses.

CEC’s use of prayers to God and Jesus were “inappropriate and likely objectionable” to secular, non-Christian and non-evangelical parents and students, he said.

The prominence given to Christian scriptures, heroes and practices were not suitable for non-Christian students.

Referring to the CEC’s website, Morris said “I do not consider that the assurances to parents and [school] trustees are sufficient to make the content clear or honestly reflect their minority viewpoints”.

He also rejected CEC’s claim that the values in their lessons supported those of the New Zealand Curriculum.

Morris said “religious formation” as used by CEC was appropriate for a religious community but not for a state school.

Morris said knowledge of Christian traditions and churches in was essential to appreciate New Zealand’s artistic, musical, legal, moral and political traditions.


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News category: New Zealand.

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