Your letters to the Editor: Friday August 3

Christianity message forced on captive kids

This issue is not about atheism versus religion. The Secular Education Network includes Christians, Jews and Buddhists. It is about fairness and equality to society as a whole.

Section 77 of the Education Act (1964) affirms that teaching in primary schools is to be secular. How is it then that these groups are able to preach to children? Here enters the sneaky "Nelson Clause".

In order to ignore the secular nature of the act the school "closes".

The doors are open, teachers and students are still there, but it is "closed". Allowing evangelical Christians access to a captive child audience.

It is important to note that there is only Christian viewpoints being pushed here.

There are no Mormon, Muslim, Hindi, or Buddhist groups coming in to provide a viewpoint in line with the religious makeup of our society.

Why is it that, when close to 50 per cent of New Zealanders are Non-Christian these programmes are still in state schools? Cool Bananas website states the programme is Bible-based and that they finish with a prayer.

This is not religious education, but religious indoctrination, and against the spirit of the Education Act. Remove the "Nelson Clause". Sunday Schools for religion, schools for education.

- Paul McIlwee, Tauranga

Own view pushed

The SEN group referred to on the front page of the BOP Times (August 1) is merely pushing another viewpoint of faith ... one that states that everything in this world and the intricate details of nature happened by pure chance.

That belief takes more faith than I have.

I find the biblical viewpoint far easier to believe and have faith in.

- Bruce Wills, Bethlehem

Bible educates

I like the comment Robert Hyndman, the head of the Western Bays Principals Association, made at the end of your August 1, front-page article. He points out that an atheistic point of view is still a "religious perspective". He states something clearly not considered by many people, that secular humanism and rationalism are belief systems about the meaning of life; you could well say a religion! They may not espouse a belief in God, but belief systems they are!

I find it interesting that Des Vize says that teaching a Christian values-based programme is "not education".

Find me a book of antiquity any more historically accurate, or incredibly unique than the Bible! What can be more educational than learning some of the ageless values from a book like no other on earth?

I think our society is wise to continue to have Christian values-based education in our schools. I support the work of Cool Bananas in our city.

I have children who have benefited from the programmes that they provide in our community.

- Patrick White, Tauranga

Values ageless

I agree with Robert Hyndman when he says it is important to teach some form of religious education in schools.

Schools are where the learning seed is planted. We give children the basic information, if they or their families want to know more, then they do it together.

Cool Bananas is a great environment for young ones to learn the important values in life, and if that means a few stories about Jesus, so be it.

After all, Jesus himself was the master teacher and taught about love, honouring your parents and neighbours and more - what is so wrong with that?

We need this teaching in our society.

I have also been involved in Bible in Schools. I read a lot of Max Lucado stories and Bible stories to the children ... Yes, values, religious or not, the children loved them.

This invites children to start asking questions and making their own minds up. Questions plus answers equals knowledge.

Religious studies or Bible in schools, or Cool Bananas, whatever it is called, didn't do my children (now adults and parents themselves) or myself any harm. If anything, it gave us all something to hold on to.

- Claire Anderson, Tauranga

- Bay of Plenty Times

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