Encouraging religion to "beget" off!
Religion has hit the headlines on Auckland’s North Shore. First there was this article on the front page of the North Shore Times on April 20, 2012 – Bible classes get a bash – which highlighted how parents of public school children say they are effectively being punished for opting out of religious classes.
Then there was a follow-up story on May 3, also front page – Religion or nothing – which describes how parents are questioning the legality of religious classes in public primary schools.
Of course this has prompted howls of outrage from the religious lobby about how it is intolerant of the non-religious to criticise religion. They use the time-worn kludge of conflating criticism of an idea with intolerance of any person holding that idea. They even throw up the “Christian nation” argument.
Letters to the editor (free registration required for these links) had comments like:
“As our nation was founded historically on the Bible in our negotiations with Maori and we have come forth from a Christian European background, it is a suitable reference for the children whose parents agree to the programme and a gift to those parents who want to show tolerance to other beliefs.” – Kaye Gilbert – Letters, April 26 2012
“Funny how religion is so often accused of intolerance and yet so often the victim of it.” – Martyn Pearson – Letters, May 1 2012
“…to ditch our Judeo-Christian heritage because we are living in a multi-cultural society is not the way forward. We do not expect the many immigrants who enter this country to renounce their beliefs. Instead we protect their right to religious freedom.” – Ann Bailey – Letters, May 1 2012
To counter these sort of silly arguments I have created a resource to parents – What is wrong with Bible Class in school?
It is in a pamphlet format in case anyone wants to distribute it to others in a convenient way. As I always mention – when printing, print double-sided and if your printer can do it for you set it to flip on the short edge. Then fold in the traditional way.
It is a companion to my earlier resource, 10 Easy Things You Can Do To Keep Religion Out Of NZ Schools.