Public money funding to keep children ignorant

Written By: - Date published: 11:58 am, May 10th, 2010 - 65 comments
Categories: education, religion - Tags: ,

The nutty anti-science, anti-women’s rights, homophobic, Luddite-like sect  that secretly spent a million dollars trying to get National into power in 2005, the Exclusive Brethren, is back in the news. This time for the practices at their schools, which receive millions in government funding.

First there’s the “teachers must disclose their “personal circumstances”, forgo union membership and agree that evolution is a falsehood. ”

Funnily enough, it’s perfectly legal to not hire a teacher who acknowledges that evolution is a valid scientific theory – there’s an exception under the Human Rights Act. Isn’t that nuts? There’s a specific exception in the law to allow the bigoted to pass on their ignorance to their children. More than that, insulate their children from the enlightenment that education can offer when parents can’t.

The Employment Relations Act, section 8 says: “A contract, agreement, or other arrangement between persons must not require a person (b) to cease to be a member of a union or a particular union; or (c) not to become a member of a union or a particular union” but apparently there’s an exception in some other law that allows the Exclusive Brethren to ban workers in any of their businesses from unions. That seems like a draconian restriction on the fundamental right to freedom of association to me and should be changed.

The law even allows the Exclusive Brethren to not hire gay teachers, or people having relationships outside of marriage. See, if you or I did that it would be illegal but if you dress you’re bigotry up as religion, it’s fine and dandy.

The lengths the cult goes to in an effort to keep their children ignorant is astounding. Everything is censored. Books in school libraries have pages torn out and passages blacked out.

A former teacher describes how the rulers of the sect kept an eye on the teachers (the teachers are nearly all ‘worldies’, non-sect members, because the Exclusive Brethren are too uneducated to teach themselves):

“They would pull you up on anything they found, and children were encouraged to tell if we said anything considered improper. Anything they remotely considered immoral was vetoed. You couldn’t get anywhere with requests for material … they don’t want students thinking too much.”

Ignorance is strength. All conservative movements realise they need to restrict knowledge and debate to prevent change.

65 comments on “Public money funding to keep children ignorant”

  1. deemac 1

    I see no reason why these schools should get a cent of public money. If parents want to opt out of the state system they should pay for it themselves.

  2. Tigger 2

    Most interesting in the article (mentioned it elsewhere but will repeat, without trying to offend QTR!) is this: “Associate Education Minister Heather Roy said independent schools were free to set their own curricula and have their own distinct ethos as the Government is not directly involved in running them.”

    All well and good Ms Roy, but should the state be supporting these schools? By giving them state money aren’t you saying that it’s okay to push these views that, as Marty notes, if some of us practiced we’d be done for discrimination?

    I was raised in a strict religious environment. I know how religion dresses up prejudice with a bow and calls it ‘belief’. I have no problem with the Brethren teaching their children whatever they choose. I object, however, to having to pay for that.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      I have no problem with the Brethren teaching their children whatever they choose.

      I do, especially when what they’re being taught is provably wrong.

  3. prism 3

    Ignorance is strength, surety, focus on what’s real and good? Independent schools can distort children’s learning and understanding. Like using a telescope that expands the chosen area and cuts off peripheral vision. Turned round the wrong way it presents an even smaller circle of content. People doing this are called ‘being one-eyed’.

    And religious leaders take to themselves a God-like stance which is actually forbidden by the Bible. You have to die and be one of the chosen ones to do that. So how can religious leaders spout God’s word as if they sit on his right hand? Answer – achieve dominance of a useful and malleable group, and by preventing knowledge and discussion of other ways and thoughts, stay in a prominent and important position.

    If those who become religious leaders had the proper humility that Godly people should have, they couldn’t run authoritarian sects providing pseudo education. Too many religions have people who are self-worshipping, not Christians, but using the bits of the precepts and religious ambience that suit them for their own ends.

  4. but apparently there’s an exception in some other law that allows the Exclusive Brethren to ban workers in any of their businesses from unions.

    Actually, it only allows them to ban union representatives from visiting their workplaces. It does not permit them to discriminate against employees on the basis of union membership. Their discrimination is unlawful, and they should be prosecuted for it.

    • Bright Red 4.1

      the article has the union rep saying it’s legal – shrug?

      • Idiot/Savant 4.1.1

        Yeah, I was a bit boggled by that. I’d be interested to see their reasoning. Moutning a public attack on the lawfulness of their behaviour is one way of doing this.

        • Zorr 4.1.1.1

          “none of the employees employed in the workplace is a member of a union;”

          A union rep would be able to visit IF there was a union member there… but seeing as they never hire those we come back to the point that they should be prosecuted.

  5. ianmac 5

    And is it right to indocrinate the kids? I know churches do this in order to maintain their structures, but it is a matter of degree.
    Let them free! Let them go! And if you won’t let the go stop taking taxpayers money!

  6. Lew 6

    Thanks Marty. Good post. Been meaning to write on this, but no time. The Herald has done good work on this after the Shakespeare story.

    L

  7. uke 7

    Eek. The comparison with Orwell seems very apt.

    I also wonder how these wealthy Brethren remain so self-righteous in light of the Bible passage about how a camel has more chance of passing through the eye of a needle than the rich getting into heaven. Jesus said a true Christian cannot worship two Gods.

    (Wonder what avowedly-Christian Bill English would say too.)

    • prism 7.1

      That humble poverty thing for Christians is really out uke. The new thing in USA is prosperity churches. If you do right, God loves you and will shower you with his beneficence sort of stuff. Who wants to be a Christian loser in a materialistic consumer society? I think Brian Tamaki’s outfit comes within the franchise.

  8. the sprout 8

    that figure of $1 million is commonly quoted, but estimates i’ve heard, including from one gloating EB, is that they spent closer to 10M during the 2005 campaign.
    the 1M was just what was easily proven.

  9. prism 9

    No the well known John Cleese.

    • uke 9.1

      I’m sure Cash and Cleese would have agreed with the sentiment. But no closer to home, Brethren-speaking, Jesus the man himself.

  10. PK 10

    ***Ignorance is strength. All conservative movements realise they need to restrict knowledge and debate to prevent change.***

    Heh, it’s not just conservatives who are against evolution.

    “It’s a widespread view, but true in only a narrow sense. People who say they are against teaching the theory of evolution are very likely to be Christian fundamentalists. But people who are against taking seriously the implications of evolution, strongly enough to want to attack those who disagree, including those who teach those implications, are quite likely to be on the left…

    Nonetheless, I think there is a pretty clear pattern. Almost everyone on the left believes that he believes in evolution. Yet I find it hard to think of any proposition popular on the left that is deduced from that belief. And, as I think I have shown, important dogmas of much of the left are inconsistent with it.”

    http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2008/08/who-is-against-evolution.html

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Ah, a racist dog-whistle put forward as an argument.

      • PK 10.1.1

        Did you read Friedman’s post? What do you disagree with? Surely he’s right that the implications of evolution are something that many prefer not to know about.

        • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1.1

          I did. What are the policies that lefties so rigorously oppose, the rejection of which can only mean a denial of evolution?

          He doesn’t actually say. Which is what makes it a dog whistle.

          He seems to think that if evolution is true, then racial and gender theories about intelligence are true. This doesn’t follow of course, and it isn’t policy in any case.

          The giveaway when racial intelligence differences, and the ‘science’ around them is discussed, is that it always comes down to ‘let us find out if blacks really are dumber than whites’, with simplistic testing of poorly understood issues being the tool.

          I’ve yet to see any proponent of this crap work from any alternative assumption. Here’s something we should test. Are white people that evilest, most racist, most paranoid, most prone to society level violence mutherfarkers on the planet. If so, should they be allowed the vote?

          There you go, study, and policy.

          • PK 10.1.1.1.1

            ***I did. What are the policies that lefties so rigorously oppose, the rejection of which can only mean a denial of evolution?

            He doesn’t actually say. Which is what makes it a dog whistle.***

            He refers to implications of evolution, not policies.

            ***He seems to think that if evolution is true, then racial and gender theories about intelligence are true. This doesn’t follow of course, and it isn’t policy in any case.***

            Again, he’s referring to attacks on those who consider those implications – not policies.

            He does refer to dogmas. Peter Singer discusses some in ‘A Darwinian Left’.

            “A Darwinian left would not:

            • Deny the existence of a human nature, nor insist that human nature is inherently good, nor that it is infinitely malleable;

            • Expect to end all conflict and strife between human beings, whether by political revolution, social change, or better education;

            • Assume that all inequalities are due to discrimination, prejudice, oppression or social conditioning. Some will be, but this cannot be assumed in every case;”

            http://www.utilitarian.net/singer/by/1999—-02.htm

            • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1.1.1.1

              But the implications are assumed to be true as a method for objecting to policy. If he wants to wank on about ‘the left’ then he’s talking about politics. Hence, policy implications.

              If someone sought to explain the fact African Americans having a lower standard of living in the nineteenth century by talking about some inherent trait, and saying that any objectors just didn’t have the courage to face up to the implications of evolution, then laughing them off the stage is entirely appropriate. Some times, racism is just plain obvious.

              • PK

                ***but the implications are assumed to be true as a method for objecting to policy. If he wants to w@nk on about ‘the left’ then he’s talking about politics. Hence, policy implications.***

                He’s referring to the left to highlight how different groups can oppose evolution or implications of evolution because it contradicts their beliefs. He could refer to the right too. The book ‘Origins of Wealth’ actually discusses some implications of evolutionary psychology that go against some neo-liberal economic assumptions.

              • Pascal's bookie

                No, he’s claiming that ‘the left’ oppose evolution because they oppose policies based on an idea that could be an implication of evolution. He offers no reason to believe that evolution does imply what he says though. We know that there is more genetic variation within Africa that outside it, for example. ‘Race’, is a useless concept.

                Even if the idea was true however, and we have no reason to believe it is, then it still wouldn’t hold that the policies would be just.

              • PK

                *** Pascal’s bookie
                10 May 2010 at 5:49 pm
                No, he’s claiming that ‘the left’ oppose evolution because they oppose policies based on an idea that could be an implication of evolution.***

                He doesn’t say this. As I said below, he is referring to instances of academics being attacked as Summers was.

                ***We know that there is more genetic variation within Africa that outside it, for example. ‘Race’, is a useless concept.***

                This is known as the ‘Lewontin Fallacy’. It ignores the correlations.

                http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/14/opinion/14leroi.html

                ***Even if the idea was true however, and we have no reason to believe it is, then it still wouldn’t hold that the policies would be just.***

                I agree, that is the ‘naturalistic fallacy’.

            • wtl 10.1.1.1.1.2

              Those who a quick to cite ‘Darwinism’ as having certain moral, political or other implications are usually those who know nothing about evolution. Instead, ‘evolution’ is conveniently used (and bastardised) to support their particular point of view. For example, many of the findings by ‘evolutionary psychologists’ and the such are usually based on pre-conceived ideas about human nature and thought poorly of by those with proper training in the field of evolution (i.e. evolutionary biologists). I can’t be bothered reading what Friedman or others have to say on the subject, but the points you raised are easily dealt with:

              Deny the existence of a human nature, nor insist that human nature is inherently good, nor that it is infinitely malleable
              You seem to be implying that is a ‘single’ human nature. Surely this would be too predictable (by enemies and such) and be selected against? On the other hand, I doubt anyone on the ‘left’ denies that there is a range of common ‘human natures’, and that people have the capacity to behave both ‘good’ or ‘bad’. In addition, there is no requirement that it be ‘infinitely’ malleable for people to change the way they act, but instead it need only be malleable to an extent.

              Expect to end all conflict and strife between human beings, whether by political revolution, social change, or better education;
              Expecting an end of all conflict to actual occur is ridiculous and will never occur. But that does not mean we should not STRIVE to make the best world possible for all. I have no idea why evolution has anything to do with this as it seems to be a purely philosophical argument.

              Assume that all inequalities are due to discrimination, prejudice, oppression or social conditioning. Some will be, but this cannot be assumed in every case;’
              Of course ALL inequalities are not due to the environment. Of course genes can influence the behaviour of an individual. But most people then seem to jump to a deterministic viewpoint which is clearly incorrect.

              For example, I could say the genes are important for determining if someone is a murderer because almost all murderers have hands, and there are genes that are important for proper hand development in the foetus. But does it make sense to say that because someone has the genes for hands that the person is or will be a murderer? This is an extreme argument, clearly, but it does show the fallacy in thinking behind those who have a fetish for linking behaviour to genes. The reality is that there is a complex interplay between genes and the environment. While it is a no brainer that genetic makeup will effect intelligence, behaviour and what not, simplifying it to the level of saying that genes ’caused’ these behaviours is ridiculous. Even more so when that is that argument is placed at the level of groups of people (i.e. this or that race behaves in such a way because of their ‘genes’). Firstly, is it possible to predict these traits based on other genetic traits such as skin colour? Why would these traits necessarily be linked? Secondly, even if there are genes that influence the behaviour that are more common in the group, many in the group will NOT have those genes. Finally, even if there is such a link between genes and behaviour in one environment and even if these differences are apparent in terms of gene frequencies and the average behaviour of a group, it does not mean that the same differences will be manifested in a different environment.

              At the end of the day, whatever ‘evolution’* may say about human nature, behaviour, race etc., it says NOTHING about the ‘right’ way to treat people or any policies that we should have in our society. The latter is a philosophical argument, not an ‘evolutionary’ argument. (Unless I’m mistaken, this is something Steven Pinker said in a lecture I attended.)

              * quotation marks to convey my lack of faith in the research of this subject

              • PK

                ***it says NOTHING about the ‘right’ way to treat people or any policies that we should have in our society. The latter is a philosophical argument, not an ‘evolutionary’ argument. (Unless I’m mistaken, this is something Steven Pinker said in a lecture I attended.)***

                Yes, as I pointed out above that would be the naturalistic fallacy – something Peter Singer also mentions in the article above.

                Where did you see Pinker? In the States?

              • Quoth the Raven

                At the end of the day, whatever ‘evolution’* may say about human nature, behaviour, race etc., it says NOTHING about the ‘right’ way to treat people or any policies that we should have in our society. The latter is a philosophical argument, not an ‘evolutionary’ argument. (Unless I’m mistaken, this is something Steven Pinker said in a lecture I attended.)

                I agree with all you say, but what was it you said about evolutionary psychologists? Because Steven Pinker is an evolutionary psychologist.

              • Lew

                Great comment, wtl. Cheers. Moral and ethical matters are not strictly subject to positivist verification. They do not (contra most of those who cynically misuse the social sciences to their own ends, whilst simultaneously claiming they’re a waste of time — you know, like objectivists) proceed as a matter of natural logic from observed facts. There’s interpretation and evaluation in between, and those things are necessarily philosophically bounded (not scientifically bounded).

                L

              • wtl

                I saw Pinker when he gave the Robb Lectures at Auckland Uni several years ago. He was a good speaker. As far as evolutionary psychologists go, he would obviously be one of the better ones. His arguments are well constructed and I was pleased to hear his statement that I paraphased – he appeared to understand the limits of his research and made an effort to emphasise how it should not be viewed as evolved=natural=’right’ (yes, the ‘naturalistic’ fallacy) .

                My main beef with evolutionary psychologists is that they are trying to interpret modern behaviour in evolutionary terms. In most (all?) cases they are assuming that this or that behaviour would have been advantageous without ever being able to prove it. Evolution is complex enough as it is and attempting to determine what behaviours were driven by human evolution without actually being able to observe the evolutionary process is reaching too far. While some of their findings are ‘fun’ and often quoted in the media, it is important to realise that the evolutionary interpretations they provide are are purely theoretical and can never been proven or tested. Furthermore, theories are too easily biased by current thinking and stereotypes, and in many cases this is painfully apparent – that why I would argue that you should take all their findings with a grain of salt – especially those that are reported in the newspapers!

              • PK

                ***I saw Pinker when he gave the Robb Lectures at Auckland Uni several years ago. He was a good speaker. As far as evolutionary psychologists go, he would obviously be one of the better ones.***

                Yes, I enjoyed his book ‘The Blank Slate’ and have read parts of ‘The Stuff of Thought’. He wrote quite a funny article about swear words, which is on his website.

        • Descendant Of Smith 10.1.1.2

          Be interested how those that play the genetically superior white race card feel about this recent development:

          Humans trace their origins out of Africa into the Middle East and then on to other parts of the world. The genetic relationship with Neanderthals was found in people from Europe, China and Papua-New Guinea, but not people from Africa.

          Seems us white people are descended from unwashed hairy beasts not our African brethren. No pun intended in any way shape or form.

          Apart from that I firmly believe in the separation of religion from the state and don’t think that any religious schools should get any state funding. If in our wisdom we do fund them then they should have to follow the same curriculum that state schools follow using the same texts and without any censorship.

          • PK 10.1.1.2.1

            ***Humans trace their origins out of Africa into the Middle East and then on to other parts of the world. The genetic relationship with Neanderthals was found in people from Europe, China and Papua-New Guinea, but not people from Africa.***

            Ironically, although neanderthals are seen as backwards they actually had larger brains and may have passed on some useful genes. University of Chicago geneticist Bruce Lahn suggested this a few years ago.

            “Lahn’s team found a brain gene that appears to have entered the human lineage about 1.1 million years ago, and that has a modern form, or allele, that appeared about 37,000 years ago — right before Neanderthals became extinct.

            “The gene microcephalin (MCPH1) regulates brain size during development and has experienced positive selection in the lineage leading to Homo sapiens,” the researchers wrote…

            “The D alleles may not even change brain size; they may only make the brain a bit more efficient if it indeed affects brain function,” Lahn said.

            http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15611031/

  11. Ron 11

    It’s hard to know what Friedman’s argument is as he doesn’t clearly state the oicies about which he’s talking.
    However – one kinda knows where it’s going. “Brown people re dumber than white people. Poor people deserve to die out. blah blah”
    Which makes him (and you PK if you go along with him) as dumb as the evolution deniers, really.

  12. PK 12

    ***Here’s something we should test. Are white people that evilest, most racist, most paranoid, most prone to society level violence mutherfarkers on the planet. If so, should they be allowed the vote?***

    I don’t think they would be. Compare the immigration policies of say, Japan or Mexico with most european countries. Also, compare level of foreign aid etc.. I think you’d find they’re the most altruistic if anything.

    • Pascal's bookie 12.1

      I’ll see your Japanese immigration policy and raise you the holocaust, the gulags, colonialism, manifest destiny and the european history of interfaith dialogue.

      • PK 12.1.1

        Steven Pinker on ‘A History of Violence’:

        “At one time, these facts were widely appreciated. They were the source of notions like progress, civilization, and man’s rise from savagery and barbarism. Recently, however, those ideas have come to sound corny, even dangerous. They seem to demonize people in other times and places, license colonial conquest and other foreign adventures, and conceal the crimes of our own societies. The doctrine of the noble savage—the idea that humans are peaceable by nature and corrupted by modern institutions—pops up frequently in the writing of public intellectuals like José Ortega y Gasset (“War is not an instinct but an invention”), Stephen Jay Gould (“Homo sapiens is not an evil or destructive species”), and Ashley Montagu (“Biological studies lend support to the ethic of universal brotherhood”). But, now that social scientists have started to count bodies in different historical periods, they have discovered that the romantic theory gets it backward: Far from causing us to become more violent, something in modernity and its cultural institutions has made us nobler….

        Yet, despite these caveats, a picture is taking shape. The decline of violence is a fractal phenomenon, visible at the scale of millennia, centuries, decades, and years. It applies over several orders of magnitude of violence, from genocide to war to rioting to homicide to the treatment of children and animals. And it appears to be a worldwide trend, though not a homogeneous one. The leading edge has been in Western societies, especially England and Holland, and there seems to have been a tipping point at the onset of the Age of Reason in the early seventeenth century.

        At the widest-angle view, one can see a whopping difference across the millennia that separate us from our pre-state ancestors. Contra leftist anthropologists who celebrate the noble savage, quantitative body-counts—such as the proportion of prehistoric skeletons with axemarks and embedded arrowheads or the proportion of men in a contemporary foraging tribe who die at the hands of other men—suggest that pre-state societies were far more violent than our own. It is true that raids and battles killed a tiny percentage of the numbers that die in modern warfare. But, in tribal violence, the clashes are more frequent, the percentage of men in the population who fight is greater, and the rates of death per battle are higher. According to anthropologists like Lawrence Keeley, Stephen LeBlanc, Phillip Walker, and Bruce Knauft, these factors combine to yield population-wide rates of death in tribal warfare that dwarf those of modern times. If the wars of the twentieth century had killed the same proportion of the population that die in the wars of a typical tribal society, there would have been two billion deaths, not 100 million.”

        http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/pinker07/pinker07_index.html

        • Pascal's bookie 12.1.1.1

          Who was talking about pre-state societies? Not I.

          • PK 12.1.1.1.1

            ***Who was talking about pre-state societies? Not I.***

            I think you have to look at history if you’re going to look at what counts as evil or particularly bad human behaviour.

            • Pascal's bookie 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh I think those things I listed qualify easily enough.

              So far you’ve got the Japanese immigration policy, which I’ll note bears some resemblance to the sort of policy many in the west would like. Are those westerners predominantly white and right wing? Needs further study I guess.

              • PK

                ***Oh I think those things I listed qualify easily enough. ***

                Obviously they would. But as Pinker points out, it is those european countries that you consider the most evil, which have actually lead the way in creating more stable and peaceful societies. The particularly interesting thing is this quote:

                “According to anthropologists like Lawrence Keeley, Stephen LeBlanc, Phillip Walker, and Bruce Knauft, these factors combine to yield population-wide rates of death in tribal warfare that dwarf those of modern times. If the wars of the twentieth century had killed the same proportion of the population that die in the wars of a typical tribal society, there would have been two billion deaths, not 100 million.’

  13. PK 13

    ***It’s hard to know what Friedman’s argument is as he doesn’t clearly state the oicies about which he’s talking.***

    Ron,

    Why are you talking about policies? He isn’t discussing policies. Friedman is highlighting the irony that many who claim to believe in evolution are deeply uncomfortable with its potential implications. And there may be good reasons for that. But for the religious they may also have good reasons to avoid teaching evolution.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      Of course he isn’t discussing policies – that would prove that what he’s saying is wrong.

      • PK 13.1.1

        ***Draco T Bastard
        10 May 2010 at 5:39 pm
        Of course he isn’t discussing policies that would prove that what he’s saying is wrong.***

        By attacks, he’s referring to attacks on the likes of Larry Summers at Harvard. I don’t see how discussing policies has any bearing on that.

    • Ron 13.2

      Yeah – my point is, PK, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Ipso facto – neither do you.

      • PK 13.2.1

        ***Ron
        11 May 2010 at 7:53 am
        Yeah my point is, PK, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Ipso facto neither do you.***

        It’s fairly meaningless to just assert he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Can you say why he doesn’t know what he’s talking about?

  14. Ministry of Justice 14

    In the same way that some people might object to being taxed to partially fund Brethren schools there might be some Brethren that object to being taxed to fully fund public schools.

    It would be wrong for the Brethren to interfere with what other schools teach and in the same way it is wrong for some people to interfere with what Brethren schools teach.

    • RedLogix 14.1

      It’s called ‘obeying the law of the land’.

      If you want to live in any civilised land you have to abide within the range of acceptable ethical, social and legal norms.

      There is a fair amount of wriggle room, and it varies from period to period…but ultimately there are boundaries. Step over them blatantly enough and you get hammered.

      I really loath ignorant fundie bigots, but I’ll accept that the CB’s manage to just skirt within the limits. Does this give them a free pass? Hell no, in my book it puts them on notice to be really, really careful about their act.

      • Ministry of Justice 14.1.1

        I really loath ignorant fundie bigots
        Do you see the irony?

        • RedLogix 14.1.1.1

          Fundamentalism is a cancerous perversion of real faith. Every major religion has been blighted it to varying degrees. It’s hallmark is wilful ignorance and superstition, it’s bitter fruit is narrow minded-bigotry. I call it as I see it.

          And no I’m not prone to falling into the ‘all things are equally ok’ blackhole of cultural relativism.

        • Bored 14.1.1.2

          I see the irony, but its a little dissingenuous. I dont give a monkeys for sophist arguments on rights, morals, evolution etc but I would not for one minute suggest interfering in Brethren schooling. Except to say, if anybody takes state education funding they should fall in line with the curriculum, its course materials, and any relevant employment laws.

          • Ministry of Justice 14.1.1.2.1

            Bored –
            If Brethren refused government funding for their schools then they would be paying twice for their kids’ education.

            It’s not right that government only provides partial funding for them and it’s not right that anyone dictate what they should teach their children.

            • Lew 14.1.1.2.1.1

              Tough for them. Opting out of society is not zero-cost. Their options are to convince the country to support their particular educational pecadilloes, or to suck it up and pay for it themselves.

              They have chosen the former, and that makers them answerable to the rest of society.

              L

              • RedLogix

                Thanks Lew…that’s exactly what I was trying to say, but it’s late and I’m in a peevish mood.

                Time for an early night.

              • Lew

                Heh, cheers RL. I was going to give you a poke about the line between harmless belief in the Skybeard and dangerous fundamentalist obsession, but then reflected that although I’m an atheist and you’re not, we’re probably in general agreement on where the line is.

                L

              • Ministry of Justice

                Tough for them. Opting out of society is not zero-cost.
                The Brethren don’t appear to be complaining about paying more than public school parents.

                Their options are to convince the country to support their particular educational peccadilloes, or to suck it up and pay for it themselves.
                The options they have are to not hire teachers that might undermine their beliefs and to modify the official curriculum so that it doesn’t undermine their beliefs.

                It’s those that want to impose their beliefs on the Brethren that have to “suck it up.”

              • Descendant Of Smith

                Since 1877 state education was secular. That as why the Catholics set up a network of schools. They opted out of secular state education.

                No religious schools should get state funding and state education should remain secular.

                There is a world of difference between religious tolerance and actively supporting religion to flourish and prosper. The former I support, the latter I don’t.

              • Lew

                MoJ, if they choose to discriminate against teachers on the grounds of their beliefs, or modify curricula to conform to their beliefs, then it’s society’s business since society is funding it. Where such discrimination conflicts with society’s stated requirements, society gets to object. No sucking required.

                L

              • Pascal's bookie

                On this,

                If Brethren refused government funding for their schools then they would be paying twice for their kids’ education.

                That’s not the way it works. We have a publicly funded education system, available as of right to anyone that wishes to use it. They have that right, should they choose to exercise it. They don’t get it by virtue of paying taxes, but by virtue of being residents.

                The taxes they pay, just like the taxes I pay, or the taxes people without children pay, have nothing to do with it.

                The Brethren don’t appear to be complaining about paying more than public school parents.

                I’d guess that the state funding they get for their schools didn’t happen by accident. I’d wager they asked for it.

              • Ministry of Justice

                The way it works…

                The law allows private schools, like the Brethren schools, to become “state integrated” and receive partial funding.
                The law protects the “special character” of state integrated schools.
                The law allows religious schools to discriminate when appointing teachers.

                Therefore members of society that want to impose their beliefs onto Brethren schools have to “suck it up.”

        • felix 14.1.1.3

          How’s the blog coming along, MoJ?

          You were days away from the big launch a few months back, weren’t you?

          • Ministry of Justice 14.1.1.3.1

            Felix –
            Well… long story short… my own blog isn’t the main point of setting up a blog; My preferred blog engine is Drupal; I was modifying version 6 to suit my purposes (one installation with multiple sites); I had finished the version 6 mods (with some minor bugs) then version 7 alpha was released; The mods I made to version 6 won’t work for version 7; I don’t want to convert my other sites twice so I’m redoing the same mods for version 7 rather than finishing the work on version 6.

  15. Jenny 15

    Ignorance is strength

    War is peace

    Freedom is slavery

    Great post Marty. Have you considered doing a couple more themed posts with headings taken from George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel?

    War is peace;
    In the novel Orwell spoke of a society that was involved in an endless and unwinnable war fought in some remote third world part of the globe. Maybe you could detail Squid’s determination to keep New Zealand forces fighting in this officially admitted unwinnable endless war.

    Freedom is slavery;
    In the novel the eponymous hero Winston Smith lives in a society were every aspect of his life is electronically monitored and snooped on.
    On this theme you could detail the sort of state surveillance and snooping that is being considered under the new Search and Surveillance bill. Strongly lobbied for by Broad Brother.

  16. Jenny 16

    P.S.

    Talking about Christian fundamentalists. Today’s stuff.co.nz/business gives time and space to the self described “Christian lobby group” the Maxim institute.

    The Maxim Institute are calling for tax cuts for higher income tax bracket people, ie Rich people, like themselves.

    From Stuff.co.nz

    The Maxim Institute, “has previously criticised government spending and is described as a Christian lobby group”

    At a time when genuine Christians are calling for more funding of government agencies to deal with all the damage done to society by all the machinations of the money changers.

    For the wealthy Christian right wing fundamentalists of the Maxim Institute, charity begins at home.

    I wonder, if a self described Moslem business lobby group had called for tax changes that directly benefit themselves, would they have got quite the same billing from Stuff?

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