Posts by Emma Hart

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  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    On the grounds that they are Christian festivals, and you are not Christian, this is not a Christian country etc etc…because, as “Danielle” says…

    Danielle's name is Danielle, "Rosemary". Maybe exercise some basic good manners?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4379 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Tell me that they are not allowed exposure to Tolkein, Rowling, Grimm, Lewis, Mahy,

    Nobody tells them that it's true.

    Teaching them to be respectful of ALL knowledge, ALL beliefs, ALL lifestyles

    Which Bible class absolutely does not do.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4379 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Also, my dedicated evangelist cousin takes the view that “hell” is not so much the fiery lake of burning sulfur (Revelations 21:8), as the discovery, upon death, that God exists, but that you will be forever “shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

    Yes, God exists, but you are kept from his presence. Which means that fudging intermediaries like Limbo suddenly make no sense. If Hell is the absence of God, then Limbo, where unbaptised babies get sent, is Hell.

    The issue is that the Bible is internally contradictory on the faith vs works thing. In one place, Jesus specifically says that Pagans can go to Heaven if they're good people, but there are plenty of other verses that say belief is absolutely necessary. And this kind of complexity and debate is one reason I don't find religion particularly suitable for children.

    But because Bible in schools is for the most part taught by people from evangelical organisations, it's a particular kind of Christianity that gets taught. It was not, for instance, my mother's Christianity.

    There's also weird stuff that goes on inside kids' heads when they're given information like this, regardless of the intention or nature of the teaching. I can remember a Sunday School lesson focused on teaching us the meaning of omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. That was the nature of God. A few months later, when I was molested by a stranger in a park? God saw, he knew, he was in control, ergo he did it. And as it was awful, he must have done it to punish me for being bad. By thinking about sex. so he showed me what it was like.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4379 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to Mellopuffy,

    Emma was quite clear that this is being taught as part of +Social Studies+

    No, I wasn't, because it isn't. Comparative religion should be, and its influence on society. If you're teaching about Christianity in that context, you also mention the negative side. It's not exactly small. Witch-trials. Crusades. Persecution of women, POC, LGBTI people.

    The bible is just another book, albeit a book of massive cultural influence and importance, but still just a book that among a lot of down right absurd and freaky shit manages to present a bunch of positive ethics in a relatively easily and successfully consumed format.

    Again, only if you cherry-pick it. The Bible also preaches a lot of hate. It supports slavery, murder and rape. If you were educating and not indoctrinatng, you would mention that. It's also central to Christian doctrine that non-Christians go to Hell, so if that's not being taught to kids, again, that's cherry-picking.

    The fact that some of the "teachers" are very poor is intrinsic to the system, because Bible class is not taught by teachers.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4379 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to Mellopuffy,

    My son’s school doesn’t have Bible class. But it does teach this set of values, under the auspice of ‘character education’.

    I hate the fact that I am always wary of 'character education' or 'values education' because of the way it's sometimes used to smuggle in Christian teaching. It's not like atheists don't have ethics (and I'd prefer it was called ethics). But... it's like those Ian Grant parenting courses, which never mention in their promotion where they're coming from. You have to be old enough to remember The Herd.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4379 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    I’m not sure Secular Education Network ( is as hardline as you think. I think religious indoctrination is child abuse.

    I never said they were hard-line. I pointed out the one area where I disagree with them, which is on Bible class on school grounds outside of school time. I listened to a guy from SEN debating a guy from MinEdu on NatRad, and he was very clear that this was totally unacceptable.

    "Child abuse", however, is a pretty hard-line position. It reminds me of the people who would consider the LGBTI-friendly upbringing I've given my children to be child abuse. However, there is some evidence that being raised religious interferes with a child's Bullshit Filter.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4379 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to oga,

    I can’t remember ever going to a Bible class at school (during the 70s/80s). Is this a new thing?

    Bible class ran in my primary school in the 70s/early 80s, and wasn't new then. I had to attend, because it wasn't up to me, it was up to my mother. And besides, the three or four kids who didn't spent that time cleaning the library and scraping gum off desks. When I was ten I had a huge argument with our Bible class 'teacher' about evolution, during which he became furiously angry and screamed at me. We were both back again the next week.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4379 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Never mind the quality ..., in reply to steven crawford,

    I did special votes more than once, because I was out of my electorate. I know it’s a lot to ask but could there please be some clemency for those who are so slack, they don’t enroll but decide on the day that they do in fact want to vote. Drivers license, passport, or another ID that allows 18 year olds to buy alcohol, should be serious enough.

    We want you to vote, okay? We do everything we can to ensure that it's as easy as possible for people to vote, and we count every vote possible. So, just quietly, if you turn up on the day with nothing, but you can give us an address, we will let you CAST a vote, and try to verify your eligibility later. The most important thing is address, so we can try to make sure that you're not, by casting an invalid vote, missing the chance to cast a valid vote in your actual electorate.

    Our whole system, when it comes to the process of casting a vote, is basically the polar opposite of the US, and I'm pretty proud of that.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4379 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Not doing justice, in reply to Danielle,

    Did it ever occur to you that not everyone needs to rabbit on about their salt-of-the-earth working-class bona fides all the fucking time?

    Can I, just for a minute? My mum worked part-time in a laundry of an old-folks home, and she was in every Shakespeare performed in Timaru for twenty years. I was in The Merchant of Venice when I was sixteen. My boyfriend was in Richard III: he worked in a bookshop. I could go on, but it would be boring and try-hard.

    What you're doing, Tom, is perpetuating a bunch of really harmful stereotypes about working-class people, and erasing a whole bunch of people I grew up loving in the process.

    I'm now a solo mother living off my ex-partner's benificence, but I still have a fucking degree in Shakespeare.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4379 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The silence of the public square, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Are such papers, whether they’re spoilt or left blank, actually counted? Do they have any effect on the outcome?

    Yes, and no. So any paper whose voting intent can't be easily distinguished for any reason is put in a pile during first count, on election night, and the number of papers in that pile tallied, because the overall count of papers has to agree. But no distinction is made at any point as to whether that paper has been deliberately spoiled to make a political statement, or stuffed up because someone ticked two boxes, or drawn all over in crayon by a bored child.

    Likewise, the percentage of people who don't vote is also counted, and is being used as a number of significance this time around. But in both cases, there is absolutely no way to determine whether the action is out of apathy, ignorance, bloody-mindedness, or whatever. As a political statement... I absolutely support anyone's right to choose not to vote for any reason. But as a political statement, it's a very quiet and muddy one.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4379 posts Report Reply

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