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BIBLE IN STATE SCHOOLS LEAGUE OF NEW ZEALAND., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXII, Issue 4414, 21 July 1914
BIBLE IN STATE SCHOOLS LEAGUE OF NEW ZEALAND.
What is the Bible in State Schools League I
The League is a Union entered into by the Church of England 41 pT csnt ; Presbyterian Cheiroh 23 per oent, Methodist Church 9 per cent.; and the Salvation Army 1 per cent; in all 74 percent of the population. In addition, many Baptists. CoDgregationalists Lutherans, and members of the Church of Christ are members of the League.
What, in the Object of the League 1
To restore to the National system of Education the Bible and its teaching by a method known as the Australian system, which has existed in New South Wales since 1866, in Tasmania since 1868, in W.A since 1893, in Norfolk Island since 1906. in Queensland since 1910, and WHICH IN THOSE STATES HAS PROVED A BULWARK OE THE NATIONAL SYSTEM, SAFEGUARDING IT AGAINST ANY ATTEMPT TO DES TRQY IT IN FAVOUR OF DENOMINATIONAL EDUCATION. T c fact of its permance in two States for nearly half a ceatury, and since its introdujtton iaaipniog States is proof that it gives satisfaction to the vast ni tjority of the psople.
What is the League's Proposal I "Lessons read in school hours by the c!>- Idren themselves from Borh'trr3 Books provided by the Education Department; State School teachers supervising the reading, but not giving sectarian or dogmatic teaching ; Visits during school hours by ministers or nccredited teachers from the Churches, instructing the children in the fauh of their father- ; Connoience clause by whk-h the patent has complete control of the child's religious instruction in th j publiH school," The L°ng ■<■ is no; a*kin- fur cw.v cletuil of the system, but for THE PRINCIPLE THAT EVivttY CHILD sHaLL HAVE 'i.'tifci KIGHJ? TO READ THE BIBLE AND HAVE HE OfPOtitUNlfi.' OF DEFfNIIE RELIGIOUS TEACHING BY HIS OWN CHURCFI, BOTH IN SCHOOT HOUli-.tlie ptrent-not the teacher or Chu* oh—to' da' cide how much, if any, religious instiuoiion the child t-ball have. As tho details in apply ing this principle vary in the Australian •• tales, so they oan be varied ia New Zealand to fit local conditions.
7 Why is a Referendum Sought ?
Because IN A REFERENDUM EVERY OPPONENT WILL BAVE AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY WITH SUPPORTERS Or? A DIRECT VOTE. The subject ia one which is of immediate concern to every parent, and of hardly less concern to every vo'er. It ia a question which oan be settled best by,a Referendum inasmuch as members of P.»r. liarhen-'would be affected by a number of other issues having no concern with tbe question of religious instruction. Direct settlement at the ballot box of this question allows it to be decided on its own merits without any other question becoming.involved, Tbe precedent* of the tettletnent of the question by Referendum are numerous; Switzerland (the home of the Referendum), South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland having regarded it a« the most suitable way of pseemining the will of the pe.iple on the matter. The question Bibltor no Bible; religious instruction or > o religious instruction, is distinct from pol't'.cal and party issueß.
Why Should I Support the League's Proposals ? Because the CHURCH lis REPRESENTING THE * VAST MAJORITY OF THE rrOPLE HAVE COME TO A.N AGREEMENT IN THE COMMON INTERESTS OF THE CHILDREN, and a great proportion of the eleotors have endorsed Ihe action of those l hurehes by signing indiv.duully their agreement with the proposal. Plainly, therefore, THE LfeAGUE\S PROPOSAL IS THE ONLY ONE LIKELY TO BE ACCEPTABLE'j TO THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE OF THE DOMINION.
Why shov'd there be litigious Instruction in irchoo'.s ?
Because education is net compete which does not make provision for'-he teaching of morality, and morality canuct'be taught without a religious foundation. Tbe religious foundation for >, Chr.ttian country is found in the Bible.
Why Should the Stale School System include Religious Teaching ?
There is no more leison why the State should exclude Bible lessons and minister;-' visits from the State Scr.oyls than from our Industrial Sqhoolß, our hospitals and our prisons, where the State allows religious instruction to be given. The Stat« recognises tbe Chri6tan religion in every important phase of life from the King and tbe Governor, down ihiough Parliament, with tbe Judges in the making of laws, in the celebration of man* aje in the Defenoo Foroe, aDd in the giols—it is excluded from the primary schools only.
WiU the Bible be an Innovation in the School s!
Not, -o. It had i ; s place in the provinqial systems of education up to 1877 Pro vision toe Bible reading and prayer wab made by Mr Bowen, Minister of Education, in his Natioi.nl Bili'in 1877, when ihe p o/inces were aboli bed, but the cNuse was struck out asai-ist Mr Bo*, n's with, without any direct consultataiion of the people. Only in New Zealand and tv»o other Engli.-h jp sking *• tateß in the Empire is the Bible excluded from the primary, schools. THE INNOVATION lb THE EXCLUSION OF THE BIBLE from tho curriculum, Our schools are thus non. Christian Anti National and Anti-British. WE WANT this blot r* m ved and THE BIBLE RESTORED,
Is the Bible a Necessary Part of Education ? Yes, certainly, if we purport to gve the children an education in English'- How can they understand the history (1 their'race or their literature, without a knowledge, if only from a literary point of view, Of that Book without which ihe history of England could not be written ; and without which her literature, her poet-, her historians, her Acts of Parliament, her great writers and even her newspapers to day would be unintelligible ? Is it True that the League Proposes Multilating the Bible I 1 ( ertainly not The same prinaiplo is followed oui in every Church of selecting the most suitable passages of Holy Scripture for pabbo use, Tbe Roman Catholic Church itself shows a clear example in this respect. usin<> choio portions of Scripture for reading at Mass, and similiarly selecting portions to be read daily by its clergy- Th* charge of mutilation of the Scriptuies brought against the League oould equally be brougut against every Church, and the Roman Catholc Church in particular, Is the State Teacher to be Asked to Teach Rtligion ? Only in the sense in which he is teaching it now. The official syllabus of 1912, page 48, specifies in nearly 100 particulars the moral duties of life. * These,are to be tiught by examples taken from history, biography, poetry, fiction, ancedote. allegory and fable. The League'B proposal would add the Bible to the curriculum. Teachers are asked to treat the Bible lessons in the saraa way as they treat any other historical or literary lesson; and as they already do with lessons on Mohamet, Confucius and caioal references to the Christian religion and the Bible, which appear in the school literature. For tens of years thousands of/teacbersjhave been giving Bible lessons to tens of thousands of children in Australian States. Not one case has ever been on record of any teacher raising difficulties about these lessons ; even when as in tbe case of \Vestsrn Australia, Norfolk Island an I Queensland, the system was introduced after the education system had been in existence for some years. It is incredible that the teachers of New Zealand would find difficulties where their colleagues do not.
Are Teachers Unfit to Give Bible Lessons?
THIS CHARGE IS MADE BY OPPONENTS OF THE LEAGUE. On the othe r hand the League is prepared fully to trust the teachers of New Zialmd as wcrthy of the same confidence as the teachers of New South Walts, Tasmania, Western Australia, Norfolk Island, and Queensland, where "no such charge of unfitness is ever heard of.
Will this System be Unjust to Roman CathoKcs 1
It will be UDJust if the proposal denied them the same opportunities as any oiher Church. Roman Catholic priest 9 and other accredited teachers will have the sam 6 right as any other Cbuich of eon g into the schools and teaching their own children in school hours. In New South Wa es an aye-age of 1000 visits a year by them is a proof that they can avail themselves of the opportunity. In New South Wales the Education Department reports that the number of children withdrawn from the Bible lessons under the State School teachers is so small a3 to be negligible for statistical purposes, oonsequently it follows that parents of 31,940 Roman Catholic children in the State Schools find no difficulty in their children reading the Bible lessons. There can be no injustice in offering tbe Roman Catholic parents in New Zealand that of which Roman Catholic parents elsewhere avail themselves.
Will the League's Proposal Lead to State Aid to Denominational Schoo's ?
It will not, because the Roman Catholic Church—which demands State aid both where there is no religious instruction and also where it exists—is effectually pre vented in the latter caße from forming with r<ny other Choroh a combination which could obtain State aid. Practically all the Churches save the one desiring State aid are so satisfied with the system of religious instruction which the League advocates, that they have definitely dropped the policy of State aid for their schools preferring to support the National system of education when it includes the system advocated by the League. That the clergy of every denomination, including the Roman Catholics, will bave the right of entry into the State Schools for the purpose of giving relig ; ous instruction to their own children leaves no just ground of complaint, inasmuch as the responsibility of refusing to teach children lies with the Church that declines, not with the State. It then cannot legally be pleaded that the children are brought up without religious instruction, as is now urged by THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WHICH CLAIMS WITH ALL ITS STRENGTH STATE AID UNDER THE PRESENT SECULAR SYSTEM.
Who Own the State Schools I . The People of New Zealand, who pay for them, Therefore, the People have the light to say what shall be taught in the People's schools: The Referendum will allow tbe People to be master in their own house.
Why did not Hit League Adopt tht Nelson System ? It is clear that the Churches, after practical experience of the Nelson system, did not regard it as a satisfactory or permanent solution of the problem of religious instruction in State Schools. It has been tried for many years, and many of those working it declare it to be inadequate as a national solution of the problem. The system advocated by the League is accepted as finally satisfactory by practically all the churches, save one, in Australia.
Why is the Nelson System an Inadequate Solution oj the Problem"!
Becaure as it excludes all those ministers of religion who will not agree to give undenominational teaching, it is manifestly unfair to suggest it as a national system of religious instruction when it would not be open to all equally. The Aua'.. alian systPm is open to all denominations equally, special privileges being accorded to none. Where ministers prefer" to teach their own children only they can do so, though where they prefer to arrange with other ministers for common teaching they can do bo. But instead of the latter method belDg compulsory and tbe only available way, as in the Nelson system, it is optional under the League's proposals.
Docs the Nelson System Beach all the Children'!
Very far from it. Out of 181,444 s obildren in average attendance in New ZeaianJ, the warmest admirers of the Nelson syslem only claim 16,000 children, that is to say, 9 per per cent, as reoeiving instruction, after 20 years' trial. Whereas in Queensland, two years' working of tna system advocated by the League for New Zealand resulted in 30,596 children receiving minicters' visits, equal to 39 per cent of the daily average attendance according tcra statement made by the Queensland Minister of Education, October, 1913. Moreover, while tbe 9 per cent represented all the children receiving any religious instruction in r- ew Zealand State Schools, every child in Queensland had the opportunity of having Bible leseons (in addition to ministers' visits) given by tbe State school teacher; so that the League's system places the Bibb within the reach of every child in the schools, and, moreover, does it without penalising him,
Is the Ntlson System Bible in Schools or Bible out of Schools ? Tbe Nelson system is clearly Bible out of schools, inasmuch as it is outside the official Echool hours reported'to tbe Education Board. The Secretary of the Nelson Education Board wrote (Ist May, 1913) :— " The Board has not at any time given permission for religious instruction to be given IN schools."
And (30th May, 1913):— " Section 143 (b) of the Education Act provides that the instruction must be entirely of a secular character " No one would-say that arithmetic was taught IN the school if it were said that the Board had not at any time given permitsion for arithmetical instruction to be given in the schools, even if some well meaning people visited the school outside official sohool hours ones a week and taught tha children the multiplication table. Further, the League |stands for the principln that jthe Bible as iueh mu&t have a reeog-is«d place in the schools' curriculum, and not be trtated as an extra, Tbe Nelson
system impresses upon the children that iha Bible is ai extra, is njt to be part of thiir official school life, and therefore is of less importance than reading or writing.
Hew Far is the Nelson System Practicable ?
After all the years and the strong advosacy it has received, it proves practicable only io towns, as a rule. Consequently the ohildren who most need re igious instruction —those living in country parts where churohss, (Sunday schools and ministers are fewdo not reoeive any benefit. In the home of the Nelso-i systen. out of 121 schools under tbe Nelson Education Beard, only lof them are^ reached by iha Nelson system, and of these only five are in the country. In Western Australia, a huge territory nine times the size of all Npw Z-aland, with about one-third its population, out of 536 schools, 314 we c visaed by minut rs m school hours. Out of an average atlendanoe of 82,95!) childien, 19.823 nceiv«d mini sters' visits, under the League's system. And in addition every child in the West Australian schools had the opportunity of direct lessons frou the Bible given, by the teacher.-'.
Would the Nelson System Favour Stale Aid ?
Yes, most distinctly co, because it would preclude many—certainly Lloman Cv holie*— from taking a snara. Roman Catholic eh ldren are not allowed by their Churab. to attend the classes of religious instruction held by miuinstera of other Ohucit-ri. a* no instance has been foun-1 under the Nelson system of Roman Catholic cleigymen taking a share with, other m nisteis in addreseing children of other Churches, there i- no doubt they would continue to refusa to do so. Consequently tbe exclusion of the Koman Catholic Church from any share in the working of a religious instruction system set up by law would give that Church ground for State aid. Whereas in ih>} Leai/uu's proposal of the Australian system, they could take their own children and teacti th-m their iaith as any other church can do. Thus, having equal opportunities with ail, ar d of which that Üburch has availed itself elsewhere, wo .id h*ve, v der he League's propo-dl, m claim for exceptional favours, monetary or otherwise,
Does the Nelson System Becoqnhe the Teachers ?
So far from doing thi3, those now actv >vcating the Nelson system as a permanent s-ilution of the problem of religious instruction claim thai tna te.vuhertj shall be excluded from ar y part of it. ThH is nothing short of an insult to the leach'ug pro fetsion of New Zealand, inasmutch as, exoept in New Zealand and in t\v> other states, every English.speaking part of the Empire regards the teacher • ns sufficiently honour able to be trusted with Bible lessons for the Children. The Jbeagure is prepared eqjally with Australia and other part 3 of" the Empire to trust the teachers in New Zealand The Nebon system, if made law, would proclaim to the world that the people of New Zeoland would not trust their own teachers.
Why hag the Nelson System Not Proved Practicable ?
Because it is inconvenient 1 oth to children and ministers in being outside School hours. Both Education Boards and also school comn-ittees bave repeatedly refused 1.0 give facilities for such meagre opportunities as the Nelson system has hitherto affotded. Amongst other Boards refusing are Auckland and Wellington. These two Bjarda alone control the education of 62 426 children. An exampie < ccurred in tbe case '..f Newtown School Committee (March 1914), The Ministers' Association of Wellington South desired permission to give leliniou inttmcticn, because they believed that by demonstrating the feasibility ot the Fchema other schools would adopt it- The Committee not only refused to grant the permission, but tbe Chairm.ni of the School Commit cc publicly Btated that he questioned if ihe minsters were in earnest.
Loss the Nelson System Provide a Permanent Settlement ? Very far from it, because not only has the permission of the Board to be obtair.ed but tbe permissiun of each seperate committee in addition-permission which being only temporary, may be revoked at and moment. Further, the election of a fresh school committee raises the question anew each time, and compels tho<*e who favour tbe Nelson tystecn and those who are opposed to any religious teaching in the to make the election decide the question, thereby creating a continual feeling of unrest. Tne proposes to submit the quettion oncd and.fjr all to the whole people of the Dominion, and let them settle it, instead of havi"g it as a perenriil disturbing factor in school affairs
I Itthe Nelson System Fair to the Child?
Tne choice for a child under the Ndton system is-pipy outside or lessons wi bin— ■» method which would not be regerd-d ad ndtquate fur teaching any ollur sutject, the League's system, if th* child does not have the Bible les3on from bis teacher or .have a minister's visit, the caild simply goes on with some other lesson—probably another reading lesson. Is the Nelson System Appoved in its Home Inasmuch as the majority of'those giving th- lessons-are members of tbe Bible in Hiate Schools Leagure, they oan be counted as finding the Nelsm >ystem inadequate Tie Church of England Synod, Nelson, and the Methodic S;nod of Nelson pa.-.-cd ■■; their sense of the inadequacy of ihe Nelson system, and urging i-upjort oi. m« League's platform as "a means calculated to remedy the present serom de eon v* the education system. "No more Btiiiing t'stimony oould be p oduod as to fa. u- d if-:-,. Nelson system than the evidence of those woo actually work it in its home an i who aiv fully familiar with its details. ....-,
BIBLE IN STATE SCHOOLS LEAGUE OF NEW ZEALAND., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXII, Issue 4414, 21 July 1914
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