Religious Indoctrination in Secular Organisations

A friend describes their partner as a militant atheist - that fits me too.  

I'm not anti-religion, you're free to wear your colander and pray to the flying spaghetti monster, but I must be free from your beliefs being imposed on me and my children free from being preyed upon.

It really is as simple as that.

I actively write, comment and oppose religious indoctrination in Playcentres, Kindys and primary schools.  

I don't take my child to Playcentre, Kindergarten or school for religion - if I wanted religion in their life I'd take them to church.

New Zealand is NOT a christian nation. 

From the 2013 census 

72% of people under 29 are atheist.

42% of people identify as having no religion and the remaining 58% is made up of all the religions not just christian. 

I'm so sick of Christian religion being imposed on children at Playcentres, Kindys and primary schools. So much for so called 'christian morals', they take the unconsented opportunity to prey on kids at every chance. 

State primary schools in New Zealand are legislated as secular, there are of course exclusions, but people choose to go to integrated religious schools, and unless you choose to home-school you're prosecuted if your child does't attend school, so they have a captive audience.

Religion is illegal in state schools while the school is open.  Section 77 of the Education Act 1964 says, "teaching in every State primary school must, while the school is open, be entirely of a secular character".  Religious instruction is a decision made by the school board, the school is 'closed' and untrained 'teachers', usually from the Christian Education Coalition, come in and teach their evangelical program for up to 20 hours a year. 

In 2017 Fenwick School's board chair was a pastor who in a sermon broadcast online, informed his congregation of the evangelicalism he described as '... schools need to be infiltrated with the kingdom of heaven.'  After complaints, Pastor Goodsir has resigned as the bible in school teacher and the school has moved the RI class to outside of school hours. 

Inappropriate information given to young children by bible in schools volunteers resulted in 3 stand-down's in 14 months and another 6 complaints that this person being interviewed has been involved with.  An interesting denial of official complaints being lodged (they most certainly were) for telling children they were going to hell.  Although CEC claim to be there to educate not evangelise the CEC also describes schools as an "under-utilised mission field".

The content of the CEC 'lessons' is also of concern. Couched as 'fun' children are told stories such as the farming parable, about 'hearing the word of god and good people listen and become christian and thus grow strong and tall, but those who don't become christian or their Christianity falls by the wayside, they are like seeds falling on the road or infertile soil. As seeds they are pecked by crows, or grow but are choked by weeds, wither and die'.

The fun songs all have a theme to roll over and yield to Christianity, 'this is a commandment that god has given you...  You've gotta love the lord with all your heart and mind and soul...'

How schools inform parents of CEC's bible in schools program is also of major concern.  Some parents find out there's a religious class when their child comes home from school telling them they're not good people because they don't love the lord Jesus, or develop fears because they've been told god is always watching them and yes children have been told they'll go to hell.

So when you find out about a CEC class in your school and you opt your child out, as is your right.  Only to find your child is punished by having to sit outside the classroom by themselves, or wash dishes in the staff room, or pick up rubbish.  I read of a child who was told to just cover her ears while the RI went on.  One story, when opted-out kids returned to the classroom, the RI kids had been given lollies and told not to share with the heathens and in another, children were asked by their teacher why they had opted out, they were told in front of the class that their parents had given “silly excuses” for opting them out.

How do they justify their impositions and segregating children based on their parent's religious, or lack of, beliefs?  Some schools even 'charge' in the 'voluntary' school 'donation' for the bible in school component, surely this has to be completely illegal - the school isn't even open!

New Zealand is a bi-cultural society in partnership under the Treaty of Waitangi with Māori and the only place in the world where both Māori and Pakehā people come from. It is vital that te reo Māori and tikanga is upheld in all of our Playcentres, Kindergartens and schools, but there is no need for karakea to include Christianity.  

Ngaire McCarthy's fantastic article on Māori ritual and Christian indoctrination in New Zealand speaks of pre-European karakea that is a ritual chant, free of the colonial missionary imposed christian religion, took karakea to be a prayer which became another tool of colonisation.  Customs and traditions of course evolve to meet the changing times, but she speaks of a few elders who embraced Christianity and misrepresent karakea. 

"In New Zealand, the religions of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and others, have the privilege of state funding for their private schools and buildings of worship, but it seems that those privileges are not enough for them." N. McCarthy. 

NZ has a diverse society and Playcentres, Kindergartens and primary schools need to ensure they are inclusive of our broad range of people by leaving religion where it belongs - at home.

What I don't understand is how we're considered the 'weird ones' because we don't believe in this 'magical thinking' and voice opposition to the indoctrination of developing minds. 

There's more information:

Secular Education Network (NZ) on Facebook

If you feel how we do write to your school principal, the board, the Ministry of Education, the Minister of Education (



  2. This could be could be another tactic in our battle to have actual Secular Schools. I don't think it is unreasonable for parents of children in schools where Bible programs are run to ask for proof the correct procedures are followed. The story attached discusses how 'music teachers were managed informally, meaning they didn't go through police checks before teaching children' despite the Act being very clear that all people who have contact with children undergo Police checks.

    Listen to an RNZ interview with Richard Aston, former chief exec of the Big Buddy group.


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