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Encouraging religion to "beget" off!

Religion in Schools – a Role-Focus Analysis: The Authority Martyr

This continues the series A Role-Focus Analysis of Religious Arguments.

The third category of theistic support for religion in schools is a very common and well-practiced one. It comes from the “Tradition Martyr”. This type of argument resorts to a defensive appeal to power.

Role \ Focus




Martyr But we are teaching values! Christianity has values. What are we doing wrong? You secularists are causing the trouble.  Why can’t we just all get along like we used to? It is intolerant to not want Christian RI in schools. We’re being oppressed.
Preacher Religion is what gives us values.  It’s in the stories. Religion prevents the breakdown of society. Christian RI is necessary for our religious freedom.
Crusader The Christian religion must be taught, because the Bible says so. New Zealand law, culture and heritage are Christian.And the Bible? Bestseller! The majority rules!  Stop complaining, or go to another school.

Objection 3 – The Authority Martyr (defensive appeal to power)

It is intolerant or bigoted to not want Christian Religious Instruction taught in schools.  Help, help, we’re being oppressed.


  1. “Peter Harrison says “something covering common values of tolerance, love and integrity… can be taught without referring to some archaic document”. Where is the tolerance he speaks of in referring to the Bible as some archaic document? If this group doesn’t want what the Bible programme teaches or their children exposed to it, isn’t this the perfect opportunity to teach their kids that people are different in their beliefs and “and our family believes such and such” and in that way the family teaches tolerance.”
  2.  “…what made me laugh was Mr Harrison’s comment that he wanted secular values taught, like tolerance. Tolerance for everything right, except a little religious education? Funny how religion is so often accused of intolerance and yet so often the victim of it. Mr Harrison goes on to say other values should be included like “love and integrity … without referring to some archaic document”. That’s cool, but we better not look into the history of those values; it might be that archaic document had a part to play? We can’t tolerate that.”
  3.  “Mr Harrison, who supports keeping religion out of schools, asks for values “like tolerance” to be taught. He is not modelling tolerance when he calls the Bible an “archaic document” and is calling for the Values in Action programme to be removed from schools.”
  4.  “The larger issue appears to be that having the option to opt-out of something we don’t agree with is no longer enough – we now have to campaign to have that which doesn’t line up with our beliefs, expunged entirely from existence. This harks back to many nasty periods of mankind’s history…”
  5.  “The issue around school closure and the Education Act is it’s really never been tested in terms of what that actually looks like. The Courts have never given us a definitive answer of what it means for a school to shut down“ – Simon Greening , CEO of Churches Education Commission (CEC) interviewed on Radio Rhema, Wednesday, 09 May 2012.


  • It is not intolerant to want fair treatment for all.
  • It is intolerant to expect people of different or no faith to exit the room while your faith gets special treatment.
  • It is intolerant to impose the teaching on the classroom so that some children are forced to opt out.  It should be an opt-in scheme outside of school hours.
  • Teach values by all means, but not the spiritual aspects of religion. That’s up to each family and individual to choose for themselves.
  • State primary schools are, as the name suggests, run by the state for everyone’s benefit. For that reason they must remain religiously neutral (that is, secular) and not take sides – for everyone’s benefit.
  • Your objection is completely disingenuous! You are merely pretending religion is the victim here. What you really want is to infiltrate religion into a secular institution to infect another generation of kids with this mind virus.
  • If the school is unlocked, the school office is open, there are cars in the car park, the teachers and pupils are at school, and the teachers are getting paid, I would say that the school is 100% open, wouldn’t you? Why would you need a court to explain that to you, unless you were being deliberately perverse?



One response to “Religion in Schools – a Role-Focus Analysis: The Authority Martyr

  1. Pingback: A Role-Focus Analysis of Religious Arguments « Cyberguy's Blog

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