Read our stories
Despite having opted our seven-year-old son out of his school’s religious instruction class, he was either sent to the new entrants’ class or kept at the back of the classroom, where he was still exposed to the class... read more
The Secular Education Network is not anti-Christian; it includes dozens of Christian people, including myself. I used to teach bible studies, and spent many years as a Methodist preacher... read more
I understand both sides of the argument for secularism, having been a practising Christian before becoming an atheist... read more
When door knockers come to my front door, as an adult I can engage with them on a level field. When similar people preach to our youngest school children in class, any such balance is sorely missing... read more
I removed my 8-year-old son from Wellsford School because I was unhappy volunteers were teaching the pupils their beliefs as if they were fact... read more
When I first heard that Religious Instruction was happening in schools here, I thought to myself, surely that must be an anomaly. My children were only pre-schoolers at this point... read more
I became worried about evangelical intrusions into schools after becoming aware of the overt ambitions of a certain church to the access through Bible in Schools as a means to proselytize to children for the purposes of gaining new converts... read more
I feel that my son was excluded from normal school learning during the ‘Bible in schools’ sessions. He had to sit in the library listening to the principal read books to children aged 5-12... read more
My two boys, 8 and 10, go to our local school which as far as I know does not push religious instruction. Then, one of their teachers, a Christian lady, began to come across as rather righteous... read more
When my son started school, I was very surprised to see that religious instruction was part of his day at his secular, state school, and keen to learn more... read more
My twin daughters were opted out of Bible Studies throughout their primary school years at their school. In their final year, they were forced to attend the classes whenever the teacher supervising the opt-out children was unavailable. They were instructed to research the birth of Christ and the Christmas story, […].. read more
I was in a rural state school that taught RI years 1-6 starting 1997. My brothers and I had the good fortune of being excused from these classes, but that was a battle hard fought by my ideological parents... read more
When I was five years old, my public school taught scripture once a week which you had to pay for. This wasn’t known by my parents... read more
As a child my school offered religious education and my parents opted out. I had to sit in a corridor for over an hour each Friday morning. On several occasions, the RE ‘teachers’ sent my friends to get me, with promises of lollies and pleas that they needed help with the singing to encourage me to join in against my parents’ wishes. Indoctrination pure and simple. I wonder what values they thought they were teaching?!
Leith (An experience in 1987-1990)
My child was at a school where the bible session was optional, but when I said he was not religious, and he wasn’t to go I was told he had to as there was no one to supervise him. I offered and after 6 weeks I had 20 children in the library with me of 130.
I cried myself to sleep for a year, thanks to a Bible in schools teacher telling my class that we were basically all going to burn to death. Not great for anxious kids… and not even great for Christianity’s goals.
When our daughter was 6 we had to allay her fears that Mummy and Daddy would be going to hell because we don’t believe in Jesus…. I was so angry, we opted her out the next day… what kind of values is that? Scaring little children.
We often hear in church about the 10-40 window for evangelising people in the world. For me it’s a 9 to 3 window.
They definitely taught us about Hell when I did it in primary school. They said that we would burn in fire unless we were saved by Jesus.
My son would come home very upset that he was put back into the classes despite them knowing I had opted him out.
My son used to come home and check behind every door to make sure God wasn’t hiding there. He was terrified of God.
My daughter came home, asking if I would be going to hell and if she had to as well. I would far rather, given our changing society, to have my children taught about different religions, tolerance, to ask questions without fear of reprisal or judgement, and to gain an appreciation for other cultures and beliefs, than the current state of affairs.
My 8-year-old was too scared to go to sleep. He had been a bit naughty and thought he was going to die and burn in the fiery hell.
It was a member of her church who saw nothing wrong with teaching my then 5-year-olds class all about hell alongside ‘but if you believe in God you get to go to heaven.
In my 5-year-old’s class, pick up sticks were thrown over the floor and the kids were asked to pick them up. When they were finished, the instructor looked up and said “Good job kids. The reason we did this was to learn that, girls, if we work really hard we will get a good husband.” She turned to me and said, “Isn’t that right!”
I’d get in trouble with a lot of my fellow Christian ministers, but in schools, we don’t need Christian religious education, we need people to be literate about the religions that are in New Zealand.