New Zealand Parent Sues To Remove Bible Classes From Public Schools

| by Jordan Smith
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A parent of a pupil at Red Beach School near Auckland, New Zealand, is currently engaged in a legal battle at the country’s High Court to prevent public schools from teaching Bible studies.

Jeff McLintock initiated the challenge after choosing to remove his daughter from the school’s Values for Action class in 2012.

His High Court case will see him opposed by the Red Beach School, as well as New Zealand’s Attorney General.

“They've got professors of law opposing me and three legal teams with at least two lawyers on each team,” Mr McLintock told 3News. "I've got one lawyer.

“The only thing I can say is that if they are taking it this seriously they must be scared,” he added.

The Secular Education Network, a campaign group, backed McLintock with a demonstration outside the court before the hearing.

David Hines, the group’s spokesman, told Radio New Zealand that the school had “abused” Mr McLintock’s daughter by treating her as if she was in detention for not participating in Bible instruction.

"They are bad news for anybody that is not a Christian,” Hines said of Bible classes. “They teach that all our values come from Christianity, which annoys people.

"They teach that you have to believe in God to be a good person... They don't mention Islam in any of their lessons... we want all beliefs to be taught in schools, not just Christianity," he added.

Groups representing other religious faiths agree.

“New Zealand is a very diverse society, covering a wide range of beliefs, and I believe that having the school teach one particular belief as truth is wrong,” commented Dave Moskovitz, a leader of the Jewish community, according to Radio New Zealand.

“I think it is important for the students to broaden their vision, broaden their understanding of different religions, because these days religion is coming into scrutiny and under extreme pressure as well,” stated Sultan Eusoff, from the Federation of Islamic Associations.

Mr McLintock’s case is still under way at the High Court. The hearing last week was only to decide whether the Church’s Education Commission would be permitted to take part in the legal proceedings.

Sources: Radio New Zealand, (2), 3News

Photo Credit: WikiCommons, 3News