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Salient. The Newspaper of Victoria University College. Vol. 19, No. 7. June 16, 1955

State Subsidies To Church Schools—The Arguments

State Subsidies To Church Schools—The Arguments

A Part from the passionate tirade of Hickey (Aff.) who "had returned to his University after five years to find that freedom was banished and that dictatorship had reared its ugly head." collars were fairly cool to be under in the debate on State subsidies to church schools.

The points raised were familiar; the only one which had any great novelty was the question of whether or not the individual's lavatory should be flushed by the State. Speaking was not very vigorous, the high point being the stylistic bravado of Bollinger (Neg.). Attractive too was the quiet reasonableness of Dawick (Neg.) and Neazor (Aff.).

Human Rights

Donovan (Aff.) started it off. He read an interesting speech, with constant reference to sources, and invoked that happy hunting ground of debaters, the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights. People had free right of worship, therefore they could have their own religious schools provided that these were not subversive, of sufficient size ("we can't have a yogi school"), and conformed to a minimum qualification. Dawick (neg.) argued that religion historically is not the responsibility of the State. The idea that people should not be taxed for what they didn't use was fallacious, he said. "A lame man must still pay rates to keep the roads in repair." Roman Catholics could use the State schools if they wanted to. Their own were a privilege they had to pay for.

Curse of Sectarianism

Neazor (aff.) said the Church schools performed a service for the State and should be paid for that reason. Jansen (neg.) spoke of abuses of State aid in other countries and of "the curse of sectarianism." First speaker from the floor was Elwood(neg.), who forcefully asserted that "religion and education arc incompatible, and cannot exist together."

Not quite logically. I feel, Larsen (aff.) argued that as adherents of a religion must be trained in that religion, the State, by not giving aid. was depriving them of the training and therefore of the "right to worship." Thomas (neg.), vaguely reminiscent of Mr. Holland on Budget night, spoke of "the good of the community as a whole."

Aid to Communism

Miss Dronke (neg.) contested the principal of State aid as opposed to specific claims. "Communism is a religion. Shall we aid it? And do we give churches aid in proportion to the number or the zeal of their adherents? I.e., does the Church of England or the Salvation Army get more aid?" Then Matherson (aff.) demanded religion for today's "rampart materialism" and Miss Leather(aff.) said that since 82 per cent of New Zealanders were Christians they should jolly well want church schools . . . which just goes to prove Disraeli's quote about statistics.

Lee (aff.) sounded ominous warnings about the next general election. Jansen (neg.) questioned whether parents were capable of deciding what was the best type of education for their children, and Parry (aff.) advocated "Religion for Hutt Valley."

"It has always seemed to me a pity that to make a man do good in this world he must have promise of a reward in the next." this from Bollinger (neg.); and from DcClecne(neg.) the pregnant and profound statement, "I have seen a young woman in the prime of life . . ."

With Dawick's reply, and Donovan, again invoking Human Rights, the debate concluded. Other speakers were Edwards. Robinson, Shaw (aff) and Doogue, Redet, Herron, Hubbard(neg.). The judge's first four placings went to Bollinger, Dawick, Thomas and Elwood.

The motion was won by a vote of the Students' Association members (27-25) and draw by a vote of the whole house (29-29).