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A number of members of Parliament who are supporters of the Bill to authorise the reading of the Bible m State schools met yesterday morning to consider the text of the measure as drafted by Mr Tanner and Mr Downie Stewart, with the result that certain amendments were made. A print of the Bill as amended was being circulated during the afternoon. It consists of three operative clauses, two of which are as follows :—(2) " The school committee of any school district already, or which may hereafter be constituted under "The Education Act, 1877,' may sanction the daily reading, without comment, of a portion of the the public school or schools m such district within school hours, and such reading shall be m accordance with the schedule attached to this Bill; (3) the time during which such reading shall take place shall be at the beginning or at the end of the meeting of the school, and shall be inserted m a time-table, to be approved of by the committee, to be permanently and conspicuously affixed m every schoolroom m which such reading shall take place. Any scholar may be withdrawn by his or her parents or guardian during such reading without forfeiting any of the other benefits of the school." The point of difference, and it is an important one, between the Bill as now framed and as originally drafted, is that the provision permitting of "comment," subject, however, to the stipulation that such comment must be of a non-sectarian character, has been struck out, the measure, as it now stands,, merely enabling school committees, m their discretion, to permit the daily reading of such port ons of the Scriptures as are mentioned m the schedule, without any comment thereon. As the selections named m the schedule are limited to historical pasages, devotional psalms, the life history and teaching of Our Lord, and incidents m the lives of the Apostles, with the Ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer 3 there is surely nothing to which even the most ultra-secularist can take exception, the more especially as the reading of the Scriptures is to take place either before or after the secular work of the clay, and it is optional on the part of parents and guardians as to whether their children shall take part mit or not. We think the friends of the Bill have done wisely m bringing its proposals within these limits, and feel sure that it will receive larger support on the motion for the second reading, which is set down for Wednesday next, than it has done on previous occasions. We, however, hardly expect to see it added to the Statute Book this session, but anticipate that its proposals will receive very large support at the approaching general election.

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Bibliographic details

THE BIBLE IN SCHOOLS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2459, 5 July 1890

Word Count

THE BIBLE IN SCHOOLS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2459, 5 July 1890