Tag Archives: New Zealand
SECULAR SYSTEM? Violet McClintock, 9, with her parents, Lisa Reynolds and Jeff McClintock.DAVID WHITE/Fairfax NZ
A father is taking his child’s school and the attorney-general to the High Court in a landmark case over school Bible lessons.
Things turned sour between the school in Red Beach, a suburb on the Hibiscus Coast, and Jeff McClintock after his daughter, Violet, now nine, was placed in Bible classes without parental permission.
One of the Bible class teachers from Life in Focus Trust, a volunteer who was not a qualified teacher, said parents did not need to be notified because the classes were “history lessons” as the Bible was factually correct.
The school operated an “opt out” system, but McClintock said despite opting out, Violet was repeatedly put back in.
After numerous complaints, McClintock was bringing his case against Red Beach School Board of Trustees for breaching its duties under the Education Act 1989 and against the attorney-general for passing legislation that was inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights.
Board of trustees chairman Antony Wentworth said the legal action was a “frustration” and a “distraction from core business”.
The first hearing was set down for March 26 at the High Court at Auckland.
– Sunday Star Times (New Zealand)
Jedi still believe in the Force despite census snub
BEN HEATHER – THE DOMINION POST
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2013
The Kiwi Jedi are being purged, with nearly 20,000 followers of the force still not enough to qualify as a legitimate religion.
Figures released on Thursday show 19,089 people put down Jedi as their religion in the 2013 Census. They make up more than two thirds of 28,300 people who professed faith was deemed an invalid response by Statistics New Zealand and recorded as “out of scope”.
On the face of it, there are more Jedis in New Zealand than Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Brethren.
And while the number had dropped sharply from 2001, when a global campaign convinces 53,000 Kiwi to claim to follow the Jedi way, they appear to have stabilised, dropping only slightly from the 20,262 recorded in 2006.
Wellington Jedi Renee Lee said it “sucked” that Jedi were not recorded as followers of a legitimate religion, particularly given it had more devotees than some more accepted faiths.
“Jedi is definitely a valid thing,” she said.
“The idea started from a story, but you could say a lot of religions started that way.”
Ms Lee has always been a Star Wars movie fan and converted to Jedi a few years ago.
She has tattoos that include Jedi master Yoda and Princess Leia.
As a faith, it was mostly about being peaceful, kind and fighting the dark side, she said.
She and several friends all put Jedi as their religion on the census, although most did not take it as seriously as she.
“I just think they are cool principles to live by.”
Craig Thomas, formerly of Auckland, ran unsuccessfully for council on a Jedi platform in 2010, promising to bring “wisdom and balance”.
He now lives in Australia, and continues to follow the Jedi way.
He was disappointed Jedi did not make the census list of religions. He said the Church of Scientology managed to get on the list with 315 devotees, and was similarly based on science fiction.
“Jedi is just aslegitimate, if not more so.”
Statistics New Zealand last did a full review what religions it deems within scope in 1999. Several appeals to include Jedi were received in 2005 but were unsuccessful.
Broadly, Statistics NZ counts a religion as any set of beliefs and practices, usually involving a higher divine power, that people use to guide their lives, practically and morally.
Political beliefs, such as Marxism, or lifestyle choices, such as vegetarianism, do not make the cut.
Census manager Gareth Meech said many of the 28,300 “out of scope” religions – including beer and rugby – were clearly people being silly.
There were no plans to review the classification in the short term but there was no reason why Jedi, or even Pastafarianism, could not eventually qualify.
But Victoria University Professor Paul Morris, who specialises in religious studies, said Jedi and Pastafarianism still had a long way to go.
While some devotees might be genuine, many treated the notions almost as religious satire rather than a set of beliefs about the real world.
“Star Wars, for all its glory – and I am a fan – is still in a galaxy far, far away.”
On the other hand, Scientologists were generally genuine believers in a complex mythology and their church was an established institution.
The story of the birth of Jesus told by the people of Bethlehem. Made by St Paul’s Church, Auckland, New Zealand.
By James Ihaka Saturday Aug 24, 2013
An outspoken Auckland vicar says the Anglican Church is in danger of becoming a moral dinosaur and is increasingly seen as irrelevant with the passing of the Gay Marriage Bill.
Reverend Glynn Cardy said that with the passing of the law, the state had moved well ahead of the church.
The colourful and often controversial vicar of St Matthew-in-the-City, who will today speak at a conference addressing the issue at a Remuera church, said Anglicanism was unable to adapt and change and is increasingly seen as irrelevant in public ethical debates and to the spirituality of younger generations.
His comments come a week after the Weekend Herald revealed that the head of the Presbyterian Church asked its ministers to consider a temporary ban on gay marriages to preserve the church’s “peace and unity” as the same-sex marriage law came into effect.
The vicar said his comments were in relation to the church’s position on gay and lesbian people getting married or ordained when they have partners.
“It’s really about when the church gets out of step with society and society loses confidence in the church as having a strong moral compass.
“I think that society and science have said that gay people should be treated like anyone else and if the church continues to discriminate the confidence society has in it will diminish.”
He said the church could be left behind “as a relic” and needed to change to have society’s confidence as a moral body to be listened to.
The vicar has made an application to become a minister with the Presbyterian Church.
He said St Matthews had been a leader in fighting for the rights of sexual minorities, dating back to 1974 when they hosted the country’s first congregation explicitly for gay and lesbian Christians.
Anglican Church spokesman Lloyd Ashton said he didn’t want to comment because Reverend Cardy “says what he says” and he didn’t want to engage with it.
Ray Coster, moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, said: “By upholding the historic Christian understanding of marriage as the loving, faithful union of a man and a woman, we are being faithful to what we understand Christ is calling us to as a church.”
Glynn Cardy is speaking at the Sea of Faith conference at Somervell Presbyterian Church, at 497 Remuera Rd in Auckland, today from 9am to 4pm.
Pokarekare Ana – a Love Song:
- History In New Zealand: Marriage Passes (joemygod.blogspot.com)
- NZealand is 13th country to legalize gay marriage (sfgate.com)
- NZ parliament erupts in song after passing marriage equality bill (boingboing.net)