21 May 2015

Father opposed to school bible classes back in High Court

1:01 pm on 21 May 2015

An Auckland father has been back in the High Court in the latest chapter of his landmark case against bible instruction in schools.

no caption

Protester Margaret Coe. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

About a dozen people from the Secular Education Network held placards outside the High Court in Auckland supporting him before the hearing started.

Jeff McClintock launched the case after moving to exclude his daughter from lessons at Red Beach School, which she has since left.

He said in 2012 that he enrolled his then seven-year-old child but chose to not have her take part in the school's Values for Action class.

He said the school put her in a separate classroom and in the corner during religious studies, and that it was as if she was on detention.

David Hines wants all beliefs including atheism to be taught in schools.

David Hines wants all beliefs including atheism to be taught in schools. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

A spokesperson for the Secular Education Network who was at the High Court, David Hines, said the school had "abused" Mr McClintock's daughter.

He said it had done this by "putting her in the naughty-corner" for opting out of the bible lessons.

"They are bad news for anybody that is not a Christian. They teach that all our values come from Christianity, which annoys people.

"They teach that you have to believe in God to be a good person... They don't mention Islam in any of their lessons... we want all beliefs to be taught in schools, not just Christianity," he said.

Mr Hines said schools should teach both religion and atheism, but not have "Christian missionaries".

Mr McClintock thanked the supporters from the Secular Education Network as he made his way into court.

Today's hearing at the High Court in Auckland was procedural, with the Churches Education Commission seeking to take part in the case.

Secular Education Network protestors outside Auckland High Court.

Secular Education Network protestors outside Auckland High Court. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs