Religion

Mother Questions Religious Teachings in Primary Schools

| by Kendal Mitchell
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One New Zealand mother is speaking out against the Bible teachings her daughter’s school teaches students after reading the content of the course.

Kristen Simpson, a Bay of Plenty resident, said she researched the Bible in School materials on her own after the state school officials in her area did not give her access to the course. Simpson added that she wanted to be aware of what her 6-year-old daughter would potentially be learning in class.

Simpson was surprised by how the materials' content differed from what she had been told.

"I was told that the classes were pretty harmless and consisted of 'tell a story, sing a song and teach some values,' however this material tells a completely different story," she said.

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While on a search online, Simpson said she ordered materials from the largest provider of faith-based education, Churches Education Commission.

CEC aims to teach religous programs in New Zealand. It currently provides religious instruction to around 670 schools.

Simpson said she found the lessons from the CEC as potentially problematic.

One teaching states, "Christians believe the bible is trustworthy, reliable and true." Another says that, "the bible talks about real places and real events...The bible talks about real people as well."

Simpson said she worries children as young as 4 will read these lessons and not be able to discern between scientific fact and religious doctrine.

A spokesperson from CEC said the information provided to schools does not solely instruct on creationism, but focuses more on the basic tenets of Christianity.

"Students are taught about the Christian worldview and they are not asked or expected to claim it as their own belief," said Dominic Hoeft, CEC general manager.

He added that the CEC gives parents brochures and pamphlets that outline the lessons taught to students.

Simpson said she fears that other parents may be unaware of the strong language associated with the lessons and wants to make the teachings more transparent.

Sources: stuff.co.nz, Churches Education Commission / Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons