Media Reports

cartoon religion in schools

religious instruction taking over classroom

‘Tapestry of culture’: The future of religious education in schools – (Newshub 5th December 2022)
Professor welcomes religious education revamp, says to be informed citizen requires religious literacy – (Stuff – 4th December 2022)
While a step in the right direction, recommendations for Religious Education from the Religious Diversity Centre still target the youngest children and refused to include non-religious organisations in the preparation of the report. (See article here)

Bible studies ‘opt-in’ clause explained: What the new law means for schools (Stuff – 3rd September 2020)
Parents no longer have to opt their children out of religious instruction.

Bible In Schools Opt-in Clause Spells The End Of Schoolroom Evangelism (Scoop – 31st August 2020)
Religious Instruction classes are now legally required to be opt-in. This is a major win on the road to removing the classes altogether and will mean far less children are affected by religious evangelism in school.

Bible studies case dropped, as ‘opt-in clause’ added to law (Stuff – 31st August 2020)
Rather than removing religious instruction, government shifted the goalposts to avoid a court case.

Ban religious instruction and teach world religions in our schools (Stuff – 20th July 2020)
Although the claim that the Education Act was changed last year is false (It’s a proposed change), the sentiment is admirable.

Religion in schools survey slammed as ‘biased’ by religious and secular groups (NZ Herald – 19th July 2020)
A religious group asks the government if they can do a survey about religious instruction and the government agrees??? Bias not unexpected.

Movement against bible study in schools ramps up with court action and petition (The Spinoff – 6th July 2020)
While opt-in is an improvement on opt-out, any religious instruction in a secular school flies in the face of the right for children to be free of religious faith teaching in their secular state primary school.

Parliamentary Committee Sanctions Religious Discrimination In Primary Schools (Scoop – 17th June 2020)
The Education and Workforce Committee’s report to the House of Parliament on the Education and Training Bill shows that they have failed to listen to feedback on Religious Instruction.

Bruce Logan: Religion teaches us what it means to be human (NZ Herald – 22nd January 2020)
People Like Bruce Logan have the kind of paranoid delusional thinking that produces a word-salad of an article like this. Ironically, he accuses those of us who disagree with his preferred imposition of religion as excessive pride while also wanting to impose his religious faith on others.

Let’s respect all beliefs in schools, including those of non-believers (Stuff – 21st January 2020)
“They can just opt-out can’t they?” – shows an incredible lack of empathy from the very same people who claim to be teaching good values.

Changes planned for religious instruction in state schools (Newstalk ZB – 13th January 2020)
Sonja Farmer from the Secular Education Network comments on the latest announcements from Education Minister, Chris Hipkins.

Changes planned for religious instruction in state schools (NZ Herald – 13th January 2020)
“Education Minister Chris Hipkins told the Herald he believes in secular education and does not believe schools should be offering religious instruction.”

Religion instruction: How do Tauranga schools fare? (NZ Herald – 22nd December 2019)
Pillans Point School reviewed the Cool Bananas, religious instruction programme and decided to remove it because it did not fit with their school policy of inclusive education.

Australian Mother start petition to stop Hillsong’s proselytizing schools tour (Star Observer – 16th December 2019)
Evangelical church targets Australian school kids.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins details changes in big new bill (RNZ – 3rd December 2019)
Will the Government force schools to ask parents to opt their children in to Religious Education instead of forcing them to opt out?

Bible in schools on the line as High Court hearing confirmed (Scoop – 8th November 2019)
A date of 20th October 2020 has been set to hear the case against Bible in Schools in the High Court.

Values and Religion under discussion at U3A (NZ Herald – 7th November 2019)
Dr Krogt commented: “It is important to separate values from religion. Everybody needs values, but not everybody needs to have religion”

‘No religion’ officially overtakes Christianity in New Zealand Census stats (TVNZ – 24th September 2019)
It will be increasingly hard to justify Christian evangelism in schools as Christian affiliation in NZ declines.

Teach, but don’t preach (CathNews New Zealand – 20th September 2019)
Why is it that children get a less biased education about religion in a Catholic primary school than they do in a non-religious state school?

The Place of Religion in Schools (NZ Listener – 17th September 2019)
We worked out over 140 years ago that allowing faith teaching into state schools was a bad idea. Now Mustafa Farouk, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand says we need electives for multiple religions.

Christmas issues strike our schools (NZ Herald – 12th December 2018)
Brian Rudman explains how schools get a free rein to promote religion as they see fit with no oversight by the Ministry of Education.

Simon Bridges says it would be ‘a shame to lose’ religious instruction in state schools (One News – 10th December 2018)
Big surprise! Simon Bridge’s father is a Baptist minister and his sister was caught out teaching creationism in her classroom!

The beginning of the end for religious instruction (Radio NZ – 6th December 2018)
Crackdown on religious teaching not enough for secular group (Radio NZ – 6th December 2018)
Listen to this interview, which includes a mother talking about how her 5 year old daughter was separated from her friends to avoid religious evangelism but due to the isolation, asked to be put back into the class.
Listen to the interview…

End to controversial religious lessons at Auckland school (Stuff – 29th November 2018)
Red Beach School were probably the most aggressive defender of religious privilege in primary schools. They offered a “values” class that was very Christian-focussed but refused to even call it religious instruction until the day they decided to remove it.

Schools could ask for signed consent to teach religious instruction (Stuff – 24th September 2018)
The Ministry of Education have released draft guidelines for religious instruction, when they already have legal advice it is discriminatory… anyone else see a problem with that?

Stoush over Bible lessons in state schools heads to the High Court (Rodney Times – 6th September 2018)
The Secular Education Network await a high court hearing for the case against religious instruction.

Religious Instruction finds its way into 600 secular primary schools (Stuff – 5th September 2018)
Muslim Association president, Ikhlaq Kashrari: “I think schools can be great source of social cohesion. Teaching children about various religions will promote better understanding of other communities, tolerance and remove stereo type assumptions.”

Religious Education row splits Wellington state school community *video* (TVNZ – 4th September 2018)
Watch Shaun Twaddle’s face when he is asked if Khandallah is a secular school. A pregnant pause followed by an evasive answer.

ARISE Church target children at Khandallah School *audio* (RadioLive – 2nd September 2018)
Rabid evangelical church, ARISE, has been targetting schools in Wellington. Once again, a church has infiltrated the school’s board of trustees to promote their agenda. You can read more about ARISE here.

Bible lessons provoke one Mother’s wrath and she is not alone (Rodney Times – 30th August 2018)
Wellsford Mother removes son from local school to avoid Christian evangelism. Apparently, no vote will dissuade the principal who has a religious bias!

decline in Christianity in NZDavid Hines: “What we are objecting to is religious instruction” (Newstalk ZB – 19th July 2018)
The High Court has approved fast-tracking the Secular Education Network case against religious instruction (read the details here). The Churches Education Commission respond with the usual excuses and misrepresentation of what they do as freedom of choice.

Bible in Schools case fast-tracked to High Court, could be heard later this year (Stuff – 20th June 2018)
Parents wanting religion out of state schools have Human Rights Commission backing (Radio Live – 19th June 2018)
Bible in Schools battle on fast-track to the High Court (NewsHub – 17th June 2018)
After nearly 2 years of not even an initial review of the case, our ineffective Human Rights Tribunal passes the buck to the High Court.

Australian School Chaplains Legal Challenge Argues Program is Discriminatory (Guardian – 13th June 2018)
The Australian Government has paid $250 million over the last 4 years to Christian religious groups providing school chaplaincy services in secular state schools.

Why religious instruction in primary schools is a bad idea (Stuff – 10th May 2018)
Peter Harrison, President of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists responds to a Pastor’s attack on Richard Dawkins and scientific thinking. Also, see his article on the Rationalists website.

Religious classes in primary schools set to have published guidelines (Stuff – 27th May 2018)
Glendowie Primary School parent, Stas Kulesh is trying to explain to parents that voting to discriminate based on religion is wrong. They don’t get it. Perhaps MOE guidelines will help.

RDU98.5FM Christchurch Radio host Matt Orchard discusses Religious Instruction with Lawyer Tim MacKenzie

Outdated Blasphemy law to be repealed (Radio NZ – 20th March 2018)
“Religious influence has no home in Swedish schools. The Social Democrats want school to provide all children with a good education regardless of their background, gender or religion.”

Swedish government plans to end religious “free” schools (National Secular Society – 13th March 2018)
“Religious influence has no home in Swedish schools. The Social Democrats want school to provide all children with a good education regardless of their background, gender or religion.”

Christians Petition Chris Hipkins to Retain Religious Instruction (NZARH – 13th December 2017)
I guess they’re complaining that we don’t want them discriminating against non-Christians anymore!

Native Affairs – Religious Education (Maori TV – 7th November 2017)
A fairly brief and not particularly hard-hitting report by Maori TV. The claim that it has been in schools for 140 years is misleading. It was illegal from 1877 until 1964, when religious pressure force Government to include a loophole to allow schools to “close” for Religious Instruction.

Retired lecturer pushing religious diversity in Nelson primary schools (Nelson Mail – 23rd October 2017)
A retired religious studies lecturer thinks primary school children should be taught about religions other than just Christianity.

Should our kids be taught religion in primary school? (NZ Herald – 5th October 2017)
Experienced psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald says that religious indoctrination has no place in primary schools.

Schools, parents unaware of ‘disturbing’ religious education (Newshub – 27th September 2017)
Religious lessons in state schools: ‘It’s Christian indoctrination’ (Radio NZ – 26th September 2017)
Anti-religion in schools group takes message to parents ( – 26th September 2017)
The Secular Education Network are launching a campaign to inform parents about the facts of religious instruction in state primary schools.

No investigation into schools flouting religion rules (Waikato Times – 14th September 2017)
The Ministry of Education know that schools are breaking the law but they refuse to do anything about it…

Waikato Schools Flout Religion Rules (Stuff – 13th August 2017)
Yet again, we find that religious bias in schools is promoting Christian faith at the expense of real teaching.

Korean Christians want Bible classes to continue in schools – (NZ Herald – 24th July 2017)
The title of this article should have been “Patronising Korean Christians want to indoctrinate other people’s kids”

The World’s Newest Major Religion: No Religion (National Geographic)
With atheism growing so quickly in NZ and many other Western countries, it will be hard for governments to justify continued religious privilege.

South African Judge rules against public schools promoting a single religion
It seems obvious. South Africa moves ahead while the NZ education sector sits on it’s hands and pretends there is no problem!

Government knew religion in schools potentially discriminatory (Radio NZ – 22nd May 2017)
Trevor Mallard fluffs an answer to why he didn’t act when informed that Religious Instruction was discriminatory back in 2001. Apparently, RI was magically going to evolve into something it wasn’t…

Interview with Bible in Schools Promoters – CEC Public Relations (Radio Rhema – 10th May 2017)
The Churches Education Commission inadvertently exposes their real agenda – See article about this interview!

Editorial: Religion in the law and in schools (Dominion Post – 10th May 2017)
A really good article, even though it confuses religious education with religious instruction.

Narelle Henson: Bullies come in all shapes, sizes and beliefs (Waikato Times – 6th May 2017)
An (unintentionally) ironic article where Narrelle Henson complains that the people complaining about bullying are bullies and persecuting Christians. She says we should have a wider world view that Christian indoctrination supposedly gives… weird.

Religious education teaching that ‘Christianity is superior’ (Radio NZ – 4th May 2017)
This isn’t exactly a revelation… every religion says the same thing!

Secular Education Network challenging Bible in Schools through Human Rights tribunal (NZ Herald – 3rd May 2017)
New challenge to bible teaching and ‘religious bias’ in state schools (Stuff – 3rd May 2017)
This is a major challenge to the credibility of the Human Rights Commission, who stay silent on religious instruction in NZ Primary Schools.

Newcastle Anglican and Catholic bishops question basis of Anglican scripture material and Bible as historic fact (Newcastle Herald – 28th April 2017)
Religious Instruction classes in NZ teach scripture as fact to children.

Brazil’s educational directive takes gender identity and religious teaching out of school curriculum ( – 7th April 2017)
89% of people in Brazil are Christian and yet they value truly secular education more than we do!

The curious case of religious education in New Zealand schools (The Spinoff – 4th March 2017)
An excellent article by Tina Carlson highlighting the inconsistency between our separation of church and state and the privileged access to primary school children granted to Christians.

Concerns of conflict of interest spell the end of religious instruction at Fenwick Primary School (Stuff – 23rd March 2017)
Slightly misleading headline as they only agreed to move them outside class time hours, which could mean lunchtime. The most interesting thing about this article is the comments below it. There are many people speaking out against RI classes with only a few in support.

Board Chairman Drops Roles in Schools (Otago Daily Times – 16th March 2017)
Damien Goodsir drops his roles as religious instruction teacher and chaplain and claims no conflict of interest as BOT Chairman while voting on RI in the school… laughable.

Does growing up atheist make you a better person? (Stuff – 14th March 2017)
Growing up without a fear of god makes children more tolerant and less worried about conforming, less racist, sexist and homophobic.

Losing our religion: Kiwis losing the faith in record numbers (NewsHub – 6th February 2017)
Christianity is waning in NZ and yet still holds a position of privilege in many NZ primary schools.

Religious education not reflecting NZ society (Otago Daily Times – 27th December 2016)
Given an increasingly religiously diverse society, the issues concerning religion in state schools need to be addressed.

Secular Education Network appeals bible battle to UN committee – (Stuff 15th December 2016)
When the Ministry of Education do nothing about discrimination their own legal team has identified, where do you go?

Parents’ complaints about religious education at North Otago school prompts review – (NZ Herald 15th December 2016)
The local evangelical Pastor is the Chairman of the school Board of Trustees and the school Chaplain and then gives a sermon about how great it is that they have “infiltrated” the school. And people wonder what all the fuss is about???

Why should we subsidise religious leaders and their silly statements? (Sciblogs 22nd November 2016)
Brian Tamaki might be a religious bigot but he was attempting to advance his religious beliefs (tax-free) in the same way that bible class teachers do. Parents and tax-payers subsidise religious instruction classes regardless of whether or not they want them.

Bishop Brian Tamaki blames gays, murderers and sinners for earthquakes (NZ Herald 16th November 2016)
When Brian isn’t bleeding gullible followers for more cash or blaming gays for earthquakes, he’s trying to set up religious schools.

Bible classes fight goes on despite setback (NewsHub 15th October 2016)
This is a new and separate case to Jeff McClintock’s that targets multiple pieces of legislation.

School seeks $24,000 after Bible battle (NZ Herald 14th October 2016)
And now the school, who were obviously in the wrong, are attempting to sue for costs.

Supreme Court denies leave to appeal in Red Beach School Bible class case (Stuff 13th October 2016)
Jeff has been badly let down by the courts. The judge refused to allow the case to proceed unless Jeff came to a full and final settlement with the school and the school would only allow that if they were totally absolved of any responsibility.

Sydney School shames parents who complain about gay teachers (NZ Herald – 26th August 2016)
Religious parents trying to impose their beliefs on schools again…

Appeal court overturns Bible in school ruling (Stuff – 21st June 2016)
There’s a lot going on in the background of this case. It won’t be going away.

Open letter to [UK] Education Secretary: Government must respect children’s rights and abolish collective worship requirement (National Secular Society – 17th June 2016)

Making children attend Christian school assemblies undermines human rights, United Nations warns (The Telegraph – 9th June 2016)
Many New Zealand schools also impose Christian prayer on children in assemblies and disguised as karakia.

Religious instruction in state schools ‘soliciting’ children to Christian faith (Brisbane Times – 6th June 2016)
Queensland Education to review objectionable religious instruction material. This syllabus is still used in many NZ primary schools.

Preacher’s dab hand angers secular state school parents (The Age – 18th May 2016)
This guy is now touring New Zealand. He says he’s a motivational speaker but doesn’t reveal he’s an evangelical preacher until he’s talking to the kids!

Ministry Report: No defence for religion in schools (NZ Herald – 15th May 2016)
When the Ministry of Education’s own legal team confirmed this in writing in 2001, it was ignored and allowed to continue. I blogged about this here.

US Parents home schooling as religion is forced into schools (The Nation – 3rd May 2016)
This is what happens when separation between religion and the state is abused

“The Nation” interviews David Hines from the Secular Education Network and Murray Burton from the Churches Education Commission – (NewsHub – 23rd April 2016)
CEC’s Murray Burton evades questions he doesn’t want to answer…

Bible lessons in schools case thrown out of High Court after missed deadline (Stuff – 23rd April 2016)
Very odd. The judge gave them only a few hours to file papers for the case. They have appealed the decision.

Time to de-fund private school system (The Courier Mail – 7th April 2016)
Should Australia de-fund private schools, including charter and religious schools that are massively subsidised by the taxpayer?

Bible in Schools Court Case Begins (NZ Herald – 6th April 2016)

Action taken against religion in schools (NZ Herald – 22nd March 2016)

Campaigner says Christianity in schools discriminatory (NewsTalk ZB – 4th March 2016)

Bible lessons in public classrooms continue for new school year (Stuff – 21st January 2016)

cartoon religion in schools

‘This is indoctrination’ says campaigner against religious education in schools (Sunday – 28th June 2015)

Is time up for Bible in Schools? What are your rights as a parent? (The Daily Blog – 23rd February 2015)

Playground preacher upsets parents (Stuff – 23rd February 2015)

British Government Finally Bans Creationism From Free Schools And Academies In Secular Triumph (Huffington Post – 20th June 2014)

“Opt-out” system can be struck down (Stuff – 7th March 2014)

St Helier Primary removes RI (Stuff – 7th March 2014)

Milson School removes RI (Stuff – 7th March 2014)

Seven Sharp, TV One. Secular Education Network’s David Hines on St Helier School (Seven Sharp – 4th March 2014)

Melissa Muirhead appearing on Breakfast. St Heliers Bay Primary (“Breakfast” – 27th January 2014)

Auckland father is taking his son’s school to the Human Rights Commission (3 News – 14th January 2014)

‘Go to hell’ class stirs dad (NZ Herald – 23rd Sep 2013)

Secular schools advocate undeterred by threats (Wanganui Chronicle – 6th August 2013)

Editorial: Religious instruction no longer a school role (NZ Herald – 5th August 2013)

Paul Little: It’s Yahweh or the highway (NZ Herald – 4th August 2013)

Teaching should include all faiths (Manawatu Standard – 2nd August 2013)

Passions high over Bible in schools (NZ Herald – 1st August 2013)

Revealed: Hand of God in schools (NZ Herald 31st July 2013)

Parents split over religion classes in primary school (Mahurangi Matters – May 2013)

Parent irked at bible lessons shortcut ( – 28th April 2013)

Church leader opposes Bible teaching in schools (TV3 Online – 26th January 2013)

Bible-class-stance-dismays-father (Otago Daily Times – 4th Dec 2012)

Bible Teachers dropped for preaching at kids (NZ Herald 8th December 2012)

When Teaching Becomes Preaching (Werewolf – October 2012)

Parents say no to religious education (North Shore Times – 18th September 2012)

Spreading the message (BOP Times – 16th September 2012)

Bible classes cut after campaign ( – 7th September 2012)

School wants to teach creationism (Dominion Post – 19th August 2012)

Schools drop Bible as interest falls (NZ Herald – 10th July 2012)

Bibles in schools divide leaders ( – 27th July 2012)

Reading Writing and Religion? Really (NZ Herald – 19th July 2012)

Anglican leader calls for an end to Bible study in schools (ONE News – 17th July 2012)

Church leader wants school Bible ban ( – 17th July 2012)

Church leader opposes Bible teaching in schools (3 News – 17th July 2012)

School Bible lessons ‘un-Christian’ – reverend ( – 17th July 2012)

Keep religion out of schools – Teen (Wanganui Chronicle – 14th July 2012)

Christians target schools in ‘mission’ ( – 24th June 2012)

Is Conservative party leader Colin Craig a creationist? (NZ Listener – 14th May 2012)

The Bible, the law, your kids, their school – (The Aucklander – 24th March 2012)

Christian education programme in false claim row (NZ Herald – April 2009)

What really happens in religious instruction classes? (Open Parachute – 26th July 2006)

Intelligent design – coming to a school near you (NZ Herald – 27th August 2005)






















Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply