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Faith schools free to preach against homosexuality - Comments

Bitchfinder General's Avatar Comment 1 by Bitchfinder General

If they do it in their extra-curricular Catholicism lessons I have no special objection (only the general objections any reasonable person has to bigotry), but this kind of hatred should be kept out of the sex ed lessons.

edit: reading the article, that's exactly NOT what is happening, the faith-based schools will be allowed to preach hatred during the PSHE lessons. Disgusting.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 06:03:00 UTC | #354548

Estragon's Avatar Comment 2 by Estragon

"You're at our school so you must live by our values for the rest of your life" would be the message.

It's just a fact that you can lead a gay lifestyle in the modern world so faith schools would be misleading their children about the world they are supposed to be preparing them for.

[edit] I've just remembered the story (don't know if this was an actual event) of some headmasters having a discussion and when one said "we want to give children the best preparation for life" a catholic headteacher replied "well we want to give them the best preparation for death".

So maybe they think they're actually preparing people for the "world to come" in which case this is a good example of the "faith ethos" of a school interfering with its educational duties.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 06:06:00 UTC | #354551

littletrotsky13's Avatar Comment 3 by littletrotsky13

First part of sentence: good. Next part: bad.
And repeat.
The UK has the second highest teenage pregnancy rate in the developed world with 28 teenage births per 1000(the USA's still the only one in the middle of the third world=46 births/1000, last time UNICEF made a full league table they did worse than rwanda), so compulsory and comprehensive sex education is vital. But this pathetic values clause is a further protection to a system which, frankly, should have been allowed to die.
This clause needs to be removed.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 06:07:00 UTC | #354552

Stella's Avatar Comment 4 by Stella

It continues to amaze me how hell bent the UK government is on destroying the long-fought-for, hard-won positive aspects of British culture and law.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 06:22:00 UTC | #354557

TCM's Avatar Comment 5 by TCM

another allowing parents to opt their children out on religious grounds.

Perhaps to redress the balance the school should be allowed to opt the kids out of the poisoning bigotry of their parents.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 06:44:00 UTC | #354563

Stephen Fagg's Avatar Comment 6 by Stephen Fagg

It means that all state secondaries in England - including faith schools - will for the first time have to teach a core curriculum about the theory of germs, but teachers in religious schools will also be free to tell them that germ theory is wrong. Germ theory campaigners warned that such an approach could confuse teenagers, but Catholic schools welcomed the move.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 06:45:00 UTC | #354564

nalfeshnee's Avatar Comment 7 by nalfeshnee

Oona Stannard, director of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales, said: "PSHE is a very important part of a child's education and it should be in the curriculum, but the approach to what is taught ought to be in line with the wishes of parents and should uphold the ethos of the particular school."

Well, I guess she can just pray her kids don't become pregnant or contract some horrible STD then, can't she.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 06:47:00 UTC | #354565

BrandySpears's Avatar Comment 8 by BrandySpears

Government sanctioned gay bashing is more accurate than "preaching against homosexuality".

(Their holy books contain death warrants for me).

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 06:55:00 UTC | #354567

Standing Moai 's Avatar Comment 9 by Standing Moai

I totally agree with littletrotsky13 and Stella. My personnel opinion is that this kind of teaching should be left to the parents, but British parents seem not to give a rat's ass about it. So if it is going to be taught at school, I want it to be according to a curriculum that I can check, not according to the personnal view of the teacher (who then becomes a third parent allowed to pass on his own/the school's value to the children. )
as Stella says, a big effort wasted.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 06:55:00 UTC | #354568

flying goose's Avatar Comment 10 by flying goose

Well they used to say, be good and if you can't be good be careful.

Seems like good advice to me. But I would update it slightly.

Be care ful. Remember you have a duty of care to yourself other human beings.

Apart from everything else I would ask people to think for themselves about what that means.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 07:00:00 UTC | #354571

crystalclear's Avatar Comment 11 by crystalclear

We can only hope that the consultation process sorts this one out. It is frankly cruel to preach that homosexuality is wrong - most gays don't choose their orientation and in any case human sexuality consists of a spectrum, not polar opposites. Many of the proposals make sense but yet again the religionites have made themselves a special case so they can preach the indefensible. People, write to Ed Balls if you can.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 07:08:00 UTC | #354574

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 12 by Cartomancer

It's the gay students in the faith schools that I feel most sorry for. Their health, happiness and psychological well-being are being sacrificed so that minority-interest hobby groups can retain the right to lie to them. How dare the government treat these vulnerable young people with such abject disdain that their futures are considered entirely expendable for no valid end?

Furthermore, the gay children of homophobic religious parents are precisely the ones who need to be exposed to a tolerant, supportive secular alternative the most. If they are sent to faith schools which also teach homophobia then this will not happen. Schools should be places where children are exposed to ideas other than just the ones their parents espouse, and particularly to attitudes which will shape them into good citizens of tomorrow. This applies just as much to the non-homosexual students of faith schools as to their gay peers - we must stamp out homophobia for good, and we cannot succeed unless we do so in schools and as early as possible.

I cannot emphasize enough just how damaging it was to my confidence as a teenager to be failed so utterly by the sex education I received. Furthermore, that was merely the complete absence of information fostered by the influence of section 28. I shudder to think how much worse it would have been were my teachers roundly decrying my needs rather than simply ignoring them.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 07:18:00 UTC | #354577

detox's Avatar Comment 13 by detox

Irritated to the point of looking up the legislation:

The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007
3.—(1) "For the purposes of these Regulations, a person (“A”) discriminates against another (“B”) if, on grounds of the sexual orientation of B or any other person except A, A treats B less favourably than he treats or would treat others."

11.—(1) It is unlawful for a person—
(a) to instruct another to discriminate unlawfully,
(b) to cause or attempt to cause another to discriminate unlawfully, or
(c) to induce or attempt to induce another to discriminate unlawfully.

These proposals sound like discrimination. The exemption for faith schools looks illegal. I may be wrong - I'm sure Ed "it ain't just a name" Balls will enlighten me.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 07:19:00 UTC | #354578

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 14 by Dark Matter

"The plans to make personal, social and health education (PSHE) compulsory from the age of five, published yesterday, include a clause allowing schools to apply their "values" to the lessons and another allowing parents to opt their children out on religious grounds."

Thereby making sex education classes worthless and demonstrating once again how the malign influence of religion on the public sphere fosters hatred and divisions in society.

The fact that Ed Balls accepts these plans also shows that the government and the political left is morally bankrupt in its futile attempts at accommodating anti-enlightenment reactionaries. They are as equally guilty as right-wing political parties that cosy up to the fundamentalist believers of Bronze Age fairy tales.

The other day, shallow post-modernist relativist, Terry Eagleton, wrote a very confused article in the Guardian accusing Richard Dawkins and co of being Liberal Supremacists:

The best response to this rubbish was from JoeinRussia who pointed out:

"Eagleton finds Dawkins et al so distasteful because they threaten the notion of faith. As he himself has admitted, his Marxism is intimately and personally related to his Catholic upbringing.

The critical sentence in this article is:

But liberalism should surely be a passionate conviction.

What is the force behind that 'should surely'? What is most threatening about sceptical liberalism to both Marxists and the Religious is the possibility that a good life could be lived without passionate conviction; or even that an attitude of sceptical detachment is even possible.

That liberals might not be especially passionate about their approach, but simply see it as a practical solution to political problems in the absence of anything better, simply hasn't occurred to Eagleton. In this respect he is far closer to that other pseduo Catholic, Tony Blair, than I'm sure he realises."

So in summary, be especially aware of the lethally "unholy" mixture of political idealism (left or right) and "faith" as represented by the likes of Blair, Brown, Ruth Kelly, etc.

The end result is plain for all to see.

Dark Matter.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 07:25:00 UTC | #354579

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 15 by irate_atheist

Typical religious appeasing bullshit from this gutless craphouse of a government.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 07:44:00 UTC | #354582

Celandine's Avatar Comment 16 by Celandine

How can they call it "compulsory" if parents can opt their children out?

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 07:45:00 UTC | #354583

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 17 by irate_atheist

16. Comment #371261 by Celandine -

They can call it "compulsory" because they are a craphouse of a government.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 07:48:00 UTC | #354584

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 18 by Peacebeuponme


Typical religious appeasing bullshit from this gutless craphouse of a government
Indeed. I can't understand how they can see no issue with having a two-tier standard of education. If sex education under a national curriculum is critical, then why is it not so for catholic-school children?

How can they call it "compulsory" if parents can opt their children out?
Our Government does not understand what the word "compulsory" means. Just recently Gordon Brown expressed a preference for "compulsory voluntary work" for school leavers.

...Me neither.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 07:51:00 UTC | #354585

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 19 by irate_atheist

18. Comment #371263 by Peacebeuponme -

Don't get me started...

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 08:00:00 UTC | #354588

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 20 by hungarianelephant

Does anyone else think that the Brown Raj are now just making it up as they go along?

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 08:08:00 UTC | #354589

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 21 by Peacebeuponme


I resent the implication that they ever had a real plan.

In no particular order:

We will/won't* raise the top rate of tax.
We will/won't* let the ghurkas stay here/get a reasonable pension.
We will/won't* have an election.
We will/won't* do anything about the non-dom loophole

*delete as applicable based on sentiment expressed in the national newspapers

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 08:13:00 UTC | #354591

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 22 by Frankus1122

13. Comment #371254 by detox

If it is illegal then it is illegal.

Does that make too much sense ?

The cold eye of the law needs to be brought to bear here IMO.

A gay child needs to stand up and say, "No! I am not an abomination. You must not treat me as one. I have legal rights in this society to be treated as an equal. I demand that I am treated as such."

Let the religious defend their claims in a court of law that uses reason to come to its conclusions.
(I know the objections but I can dream, no ? )

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 08:31:00 UTC | #354605

Sean's Avatar Comment 23 by Sean

hat happens when you have religions that consider interracial relationships to be wrong? Homosexuals are a nice easy target because they don't stick-out so much.

Does the government really consider it fine that a black kid could have to sit through what should be a factual and scientific course, yet warned of the dangers of jungle fever and the consequences of breeding with soulless things.

Opinions like that belong in an ethics discussion, and certainly one in which the teacher is presenting a balanced view.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 08:37:00 UTC | #354615

mbscience's Avatar Comment 24 by mbscience

well faith schools are stupid, well they teach fashism, because you can teach sex without breaking any peoples moral, but when the faith school say that homosexuality and using condoms is bad thats amazing.
Each one has to think the way they like not the way the pope wants to.


Wed, 29 Apr 2009 08:41:00 UTC | #354618

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 25 by Steve Zara

Comment #371293 by Sean

Homosexuals are a nice easy target because they don't stick-out so much.

Hey! Don't generalise. I am extremely flamboyant. I have been accused of leading a gay clique here...

Opinions like that belong in an ethics discussion, and certainly one in which the teacher is presenting a balanced view.

Precisely. There should be no problem with a teacher pointing out what religious doctrine says about homosexuality. The problem comes when a teacher says that the doctrine has ethical weight.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 08:51:00 UTC | #354626

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 26 by hungarianelephant

21. Comment #371269 by Peacebeuponme

I resent the implication that they ever had a real plan.

I may have mentioned that I once did a stint in a London council where my job, as far as I could work out, was to tell people that they couldn't speak to my boss, and catch up on studying for my exams. This was just after Day Zero, and most of the council staff were filled with joy and optimism. At the time, it looked like there was a plan. Admittedly, it wasn't entirely clear what the point of the plan was, except possibly to get re-elected. And there was something rather Heath Robinson about the whole thing, as if it had been concocted to catch Road Runner rather than run a country.

Blair claimed that his top three priorities were "education, education, education", but he never really explained what this meant and how he was going to improve it. First came the reversal of all Tory policies, then the money-throwing exercise, then the targets. I seem to remember one particularly joyful episode where the education minister explained that teachers would be relieved of some of their teaching so that they would have time to do the paperwork. How this didn't cause us all to march on Parliament armed with pitchforks and flaming torches, I will never know.

When that didn't work, he moved to put a bastardised version of the already bastardised Tory plans back into operation. It was at around this time that the backbenchers started getting uppity about the possibility of selection, he panicked and pushed through an ill-thought-through compromise. It was this that created the increase in new faith schools. As I never tire of pointing out, this is not because large numbers of parents want faith schools. What they want is good schools. But almost the only ones that could break out of state happened to be faith schools. It was a complete mess.

Now, why all this is relevant to the topic at hand is because there is a tension between the state and the parents as to who should control what goes on in the schools. This wasn't really discussed at all, except by slogans and shouting. Sensible, rational compromises weren't made - possibly not even in the heads of those who were in charge of the reforms. It was just whatever deal could be made to stick.

I suspect that I would be more inclined than most here to go with running by parents than running by the state. Not least because successive governments, in the UK, have shown that they could not run a bath without ballsing it up, let alone the education of our children. So be it. What is clear, however, is that where the lines have actually been drawn make no sense, by anyone's standards.

Few would deny that it is a matter of vital public policy to ensure that everyone has a decent chance to be educated to a minimum standard, and has certain minimal rights about how they should be treated while they are there. If the national curriculum has any point at all, it is supposed to be to try to uphold those standards. It is nonsensical to talk about exceptions to a national curriculum, by allowing people to opt out of lessons. If something is important enough to go in there, then it has to be compulsory for every child in every institution which purports to follow it.

There are arguments to be had about what should rightly be in the curriculum, and people are entitled to their view, even if it is based on some outdated and irrational philosophy. What doesn't make sense is setting it up and then driving a coach and horses through it.

I seem to remember, in the days of Kenneth Baker, writing an essay opposing a national curriculum on the basis that it could one day be used to push an agenda less benign than his. I have to say that I never imagined that it would be the churches helping to shape it.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 08:52:00 UTC | #354627

glenister_m's Avatar Comment 27 by glenister_m

I realize I'm playing stupid here, but I'm curious what the faith schools do regarding contraception - other than saying its bad (think South Park school counselor). Do they give examples of condoms, the pill, etc. or do they just assume the students will learn the different forms from their peers and/or own research.

If they don't give specific examples to the students, I can see the possibility of a student running into trouble (not necessarily just STD's or pregnancy). eg. Wouldn't a guy having sex with a girl who is using contraception without his knowledge be guilty by association£ Just more psychological abuse/guilt to add to the risk of STD's and pregnancy.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 08:55:00 UTC | #354629

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 28 by huzonfurst

Dark Matter: I read that article in the Guardian and was truly appalled at its overwhelming obtuseness, mixed of course with its unthinking condemnation of atheism as some kind of dire threat to civilization. This guy should be given an honorary doctorate in verbal diarrhea.

Anyway, after following some links I came to this video about how some teachers in the U.K. are handling creationist questions by turning them into an opportunity to teach the scientific method. I thought it was quite good, and hopeful as well:

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 09:08:00 UTC | #354636

Sean's Avatar Comment 29 by Sean

Steve, based on the posts by yourself and Carto, as well as seeing a friend who does a drag act, you chaps do stand out as being witty, occasionally headless, and at times causing strange feelings when they're in basques and stockings.

Right, I'm off to watch some monster truck racing with a six pack of beers.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 09:23:00 UTC | #354639

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 30 by Bonzai

Imagine that faith school are allowed to preach racial discrimination because it is their religion.

Afterall, this guy insisted that he was a Christian

What the fuck is going on in the U.K.? Is it sliding back to the Medieval days?

Homosexuals pay taxes too, why must gay citizens subsidize outfits which preach that they are immoral, and in the case of Islamic schools, probably teach that they should be executed? Why is the government funding religion in the first place?

The article says:

The schools secretary, Ed Balls, accepted the proposals and said they will now be subject to consultation.

Who is he going to consult? Let's hope that the secularists would be invited to the table.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 09:43:00 UTC | #354647