The argument about ethics classes in New South Wales schools is getting dirty, with allegations that powerful church forces are effectively branch stacking in an effort to thwart the plans.
It is not every day one of Australia's biggest Christian denominations is compared to a political party machine, but it is an accusation being levelled at the Anglican Church by NSW Greens MP John Kaye.
Mr Kaye says an Anglican Church organisation is trying to encourage its supporters to join Parents and Citizens associations in order to protect existing religious education classes.
He says the Church is using the same tactics Labor's right wing "is famous for".
"They're trying to stack the P and Cs with parents who will oppose the ethics trial. This is highly unethical behaviour in order to destroy the ethics trial," he said.
The ethics trial is a test run in government schools of what are known as ethics classes.
They are meant to provide an alternative for students whose parents would prefer their children not to take part in weekly religious education classes.
With the Government's trial proving popular and signs it may be expanded statewide, the church is mounting a counter campaign.
The Church's community organisation, Youthworks, has set up a website and is urging parents to get involved by joining their local P and C Association to campaign to keep religious education classes.
The head of the Anglican Education Commission, Bishop Glen Davies, says he has no problems with the website.
"I don't see anything wrong with encouraging people to be part of their local P and C," he said.
"In fact, we've been doing that for years. I've regularly done that. One of the aspects of being a Christian is actually being involved in society.
"I think at the moment it may well be the case - it would appear the debate is being hijacked in some local P and Cs."
The NSW Federation of P and C Associations is helping run the ethics trial.
President Di Giblin says the Church does not have anything to worry about and does not need to initiate a P and C takeover.
"The first part of [their] campaign's great because we encourage everybody to become part of a P and C because we need to be inclusive by nature and we value everyone else's opinion," she said.
"But I think to deny the young people who don't have a faith base to their values and beliefs and don't have the opportunity to examine them in that period of time - I think that is very unfair and it is very discriminatory in its manner.
"I think we need to look at public schools as being inclusive and ensuring that every child has the same opportunities, and by orchestrating against an ethics-based program for those kids who opt out of scripture is being discriminatory and unfair."
But Bishop Davies says the Church is not advocating the parents overthrow their school committees and refuse to host ethics classes.
He says parents who support religious education should make sure their voices are heard.
"Seventy-four per cent of the population, according to the ABS, have some form of religious faith," he said.
"Therefore the way in which the ethics proposal has been put forward ... I know for example there's been little consultation.
"In one P and C that I'm aware of there was a debate heard and the question was asked would they consult the SRE teachers with regard [to] the ethics trial and they said they wouldn't.
"That's an appalling breach of justice and fair play.
"People think ethical instruction - as if the ethics trial is about ethical instruction. It's not about ethical instruction at all.
"It's not about distinguishing between right and wrong. It's more about ethical inquiry or metaethics.
"It's a philosophy of ethics, and if you've seen clips of children in classes, they're trying to express their point of view and they're welcome to their point of view, but there is no education of right and wrong.
"It's just what I think in my situation."
Trial classes have been held in 10 schools across the state throughout the current school term, which ends in a fortnight.
The Education Department will then prepare a report and consider whether the program should be expanded.
So far parents' groups are continuing to support the Government trial.