"Keep Religion out of Schools"… a follow up

Today, we have an interesting development in the ongoing skirmish between some parents and school boards who have allowed the volunteer-run “Bible-in-schools” Programme into their schools.
The article in question appeared on the Stuff website this morning. You can read it here.

It tells the story of a father who successfully campaigned the Human Rights Commission to have the school move Bible class from school time. The school has moved the class to a lunch time session instead (arguably still “outside of school hours”) but that is not good enough.

The school has abided by the intent of the ruling – if not the letter – and it is still not enough. Being so intent on not having something they disagree with in the school, they’ll campaign to remove the right to choose from the other two groups of people involved – those who want the classes, and those who don’t mind them all. I’d warrant that the latter group is actually the larger of the three..

It would seem, then, that the problem isn’t with the Programme being run inside school time at all but that it is even being run.

Another fallacious argument I have been given is that, by allowing these programmes, it is “state-sanctioning of Christianity” and, here’s the kicker, that “it is discriminatory in that no other religion outside Christianity is permitted to come in and teach at these times.” (This is the single part of Peter Harrison’s comment on my previous post with which I do not agree.)

I have not heard of, nor have I seen any articles regarding, other religions outside Christianity not being permitted to come to schools – at this or any other time. In fact, there was a case of a North Shore school which spent actual school funds building a prayer room for their Muslim students. No outcry from the “Keep Religion out of Schools” folks over that one I might add.

It certainly looks more like the other religions are busy doing things that are important to them rather than wanting to do this and being excluded from entry.

Please, if anyone has some real proof that other religions are not allowed, let me know in the comments below. Oh and, if you feel the need to post some snarky response and that makes you feel better, be my guest.

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"Keep Religion Out of Schools" …. unless it’s my Religion

This morning, I read the article entitled “Kids ‘punished’ for opting out of bible class” over on the TVNZ news site.

I have met Peter Harrison and respect him greatly. He has done (and, no doubt, continues to do) many excellent things for the Free/Libre Software movement in NZ. A man with wonderful debating skills – and a passion for what he believes in.

I must admit, I also thought him to be a much more rational man than the above article would suggest.

Surely if a child is feeling ‘punished’ when opting out of any class – be it religious, sport or whatever the context – that should be the responsibility of the school to correct, rather than whoever is running the programme being opted out of? Should the facilitators of said programme provide the 2nd class for those who’s parents have opted them out? Would those parents not also protest that class?

But no, the answer – as presented by the comments in the above article – is to cancel the programme entirely. To me, this shows some larger motive underlying the comments rather than what you might expect – which is evidenced by Peter’s Facebook group.

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 (some – though not all, and certainly not as many as popularly portrayed – perpetuated in the name of God).

I am certainly not accusing Peter himself of wanting these periods of history repeated, but that does seem the common end to this train of thinking.

(For what it’s worth, I find it surprising that any biblically based teaching would say that “dinosaurs don’t exist” – there are, in fact, many references to ‘dinosaur’ like creatures in God’s “archaic document”.)

[EDIT 5th Feb 2014: Gosh, this certainly generated some interesting comments. I had thought the title of this post was self-explanatory but it appears easily twisted to mean something else. Of course, I was referring to the Secular-Humanism religion which is obviously not the focus of being kept out of schools.

Anyways, I decided to leave all the comments and not delete any of them as I think they tell a good story. There was even one on the Facebook group page from someone saying ‘look – this guy says he’s a Christian – he obviously has an ulterior motive!’. Ironic.

Also, many thanks to Peter for his well reasoned and logical comment – which I mostly agree with – in which he was able to expand on what the media was presenting.]

fleeting moments

Travelling the 45kms or so to work every day, affords some amazing views of two local mountain ranges – among other geographical features. One particular morning, I was marvelling at the light shimmering on the moving wind turbine blades, the snow capping one of said mountain ranges and the mauve sky behind it all.

As the sun was rising behind the mountains – before it was entirely in view, it’s light caught the edges of some clouds on the other side of the ranges. It was an amazing sight – almost like the proverbial ‘silver lining’ but, instead of clouds, it was the mountains that had the silver lining.

An awe inspiring moment of the wonder of God’s creation. It amazes me that some would choose to dumb down the beauty around them …. but that is their choice after all.

Within seconds, this sight had been replaced by the overwhelming brightness of the rising sun – you could no longer see anything in direction. Not any detail at least.

At that moment, I was reminded of some things:
1) How cool that I happened to glance to the east at that precise time!
2) Our lives are as fleeting as that beautiful sight
3) The Glory of God shines much brighter than the amazing sun which He created

I believe we need to live our lives to the fullest – in Him. No matter what beauty is there, it is because we are reflecting His glory – like those clouds were, the sun. And finally, we should make it our goal that it’s His glory that overshadows us – not try and make it the other way around.

God Bless
donkey

a few of my favorite things

I love looking up at a clear night sky. One of my favorite things about where we live now is that the night sky can be beautifully clear. Very little ambient light to cloud the view.

Just the other night, after popping the puppy to bed, a glance at the sky stopped me in my tracks. It was amazing, awe inspiring.

With that, and the time of year it is, I was reminded of a brightly shining star, rising in – what I’m sure must have been – a brilliantly clear middle-eastern sky a couple of thousand years ago – supernaturally lit and placed by the power of God, to point the way to the Saviour.

It struck me then that, as Christians, we are like that star. Placed where ever we are by God, and (by his grace) reflecting His glory and being used by Him to point the way to the Saviour.

The choice then, to follow – and lastly believe – rests with the observer of the star. Just as it was with the oriental kings we read about in the Gospels.

So, as we celebrate Jesus’ birth, remember, the choice is yours.

Merry Christmas.

avoiding strife

Proverbs 20:3 “It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.”

I’m sure we could all do with more of this in the world. Not the cowardly kind of not talking about anything, but just not seeking for strife.

Flavours…..

We (my wife and I) have recently come to the conclusion that we’re not entirely pentecostal afterall.

We’re also not entirely conservative. Perhaps you could say we’re ‘preservatives’.

Certainly goes along with the whole ‘salt’ thing…. 😉