by NZ CATHOLIC staff
HAMILTON — A Bible in Schools programme in Hamilton is working fine, and there’s no need to change it, according to All Saints Community Church, a Methodist-Anglican church, which itself provides six volunteer teachers.
All Saints’ Presbyter Ian Croft commented on CRE, a Bible programme promoted by the Churches Education Commission.
It is the unanimous view of the congregation of All Saints Community Church, which supports CRE financially and provides six teachers into five schools, that Bible in Schools is fine, Mr Croft said. In all those schools, CRE is taught as a lunchtime option, similar to various sports and hobby groups.
“There is nothing to stop other religions offering their programmes if they so choose and if schools permit — at least, this is the case in all of the schools at which members of our congregation teach. Nor is there anything to stop the government introducing a comparative religions course or any other form of religious education.
“That the government has chosen so far not to do so may reflect: acceptance that the present scheme does not need replacing, an unwillingness to enter into what could be a controversial area, or apathy,” he said.
Mr Croft said that to suggest children are being brainwashed by CRE is no different than suggesting they are being brainwashed by receiving history, English, Te Reo or rugby lessons, or, as the joke in Touchstone suggests, by fan material promoting Justin Bieber.
“CRE is officially supported by the Methodist Church, and many other denominations,” said Mr Croft. “It is not an evangelism programme. Iindeed, attempts to evangelise have led to teachers being dismissed, not only by schools but also their sponsoring church or para-church organisation.
“CRE teachers are trained and accredited. The CRE teachers from my own congregation are all fully qualified school teachers; one has trained teachers and owns a company offering specialist teaching, another has a PhD. None are simply untrained volunteers.”
The public relations officer for the Secular Education Network, David Hines, said a response on this issue from Catholic parishes would be welcomed.
• David Hines • (09) 376 6583 • (027) 325 1382 •