Secular Education Network takes battle to High Court


A group fighting to have religious instruction removed from our schools is asking for donations as it takes its battle to the High Court.

The Secular Education Network previously planned to argue its case to the Human Rights Review Tribunal, but is switching to the legal system for a faster and more definite result.

That's going to be an expensive business, with organiser David Hines estimating that costs will run into the tens-of-thousands of dollars. The group has launched a GiveaLittle page to raise funds so it can hire top lawyers.

"We've got $1200 in the last week, but we need $30,000, and it could be more than that if it goes to appeal," Mr Hines says.

Around 800 schools across New Zealand currently have Bible in Schools classes.

"We're complaining that Bible in Schools classes are discriminatory, because they completely favour Christianity," says Mr Hines.

"The law that says schools must be secular only applies to primary schools, so we want that law extended so it also applies to secondary schools.

"And we are also supporting the need for monitoring of ordinary social studies classes when they talk about religion, as they can be biased as well, but there's no mechanism for checking them."

The Secular Education Network is working alongside Auckland man Jeff McClintock, who launched a separate case against Red Beach School after his daughter was repeatedly put into Bible classes without parental permission.