Groups Furious U.K.‘s Faith Schools, Parents to be Given Exemption for Mandatory Explicit Sex-ed Pro
By Hilary White
LONDON, April 29, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The British government announced this week that it will adopt the recommendations of homosexualist activists and pro-abortion groups to make explicit sex education a compulsory part of the national curriculum for all schools from primary school onward. The plan, however, has angered some of these same groups by allowing "faith schools" to teach traditional Christian sexual morality and allowing parents to remove their children from morally offensive classes.
Earlier this week, Children’s Secretary Ed Balls said that, starting in 2011, personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) will become a compulsory subject for all students in British schools from age four through the end of high school. Lessons will include those on "different types of relationships including same sex and civil partnerships" starting at age eleven. Previously schools were obliged only to teach lessons in human reproduction, contraception and puberty in science lessons and could opt out of the PSHE courses.
But some groups are outraged that the regulations will include an option for Christian schools to apply the "context, values and ethos" of their religion to the lessons and for parents to withdraw their children on religious grounds. Currently, about 0.04 per cent of children are withdrawn from sex education classes by parents and the government said that while the opt-out will remain in place, it will be kept under "constant review."
Terry Sanderson, head of the National Secular Society, called it "unfortunate" that the government is not forcing faith schools to teach the normalisation of homosexuality. The Society, an open opponent of Britain’s religious schools, calls it one of their "primary aims" to completely abolish all religious education in Britain’s education system.
Sanderson said, "The provisions for faith schools to tailor sex education to their own ethos will give religious zealots in schools a free hand to defame homosexuals and withhold essential information about contraception and abortion from children.
"It is unfortunate that the government didn’t have the courage to face down religious demands, and the result will be that many children will be given a distorted view of sex and sexuality posing as religious doctrine."
Sue Sanders, a major figure in the homosexualist lobby, said that parents should be forced to have their children to attend the classes. Sanders, the founder of the campaigning group Schools Out and LGBT History Month, said, "It’s fudging. It is supposed to be compulsory so it should be compulsory.
"It is the schools’ duty to enable pupils to learn about diversity and equality but they can’t do this if parents are permitted to remove their children from lessons. It is giving kids a double message."
Julie Bentley, chief executive of Family Planning Association, one of Britain’s foremost abortion promoters, lashed out specifically at Catholic schools, saying that while religion and sex education are not incompatible, schools should not be allowed to interpret the rule "to mean they can tell young people, for example, that contraception isn’t a matter of choice, [but that] it is simply wrong".
"We would like further assurances that when [the curriculum] becomes statutory, all schools will teach it responsibly, ethically and factually as a core subject," she said.
Simon Blake, national director of Brook, an abortion-promoting charity that lobbied to have the curriculum become compulsory, said, "Young people need to understand the law, that you can get contraception, that you can have an abortion, and understand the health benefits of practicing safer sex." Blake continued, "It would not be right for anyone to tell them that this is wrong, but it is OK for them to be told that some people believe it is wrong."
This is in line with a previous report by the government’s Joint Committee on Human Rights that said religious schools, under the Sexual Orientation Regulations of the Equality Act, should not be allowed to teach Christian sexual morals "as though they are objectively true."
But the opt-out provisions in the new regulations are not enough to assuage the concerns of Christian leaders, who have warned that more, more explicit, and more "gay friendly," sex education for ever-younger students will result only in more family breakdown, higher teen pregnancy and abortion rates.
Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said, "It is difficult to see how teaching children as young as 11 about same-sex relationships and civil partnerships fits in with a study of personal wellbeing. And many parents will be very concerned about the prospect of such lessons being imposed over their heads."
Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute said that "pressing the virtues of homosexuality" could lead to more "harmful" experimentation by children.
He said, "What we don’t want to see is vulnerable young people being exploited by outside groups which want to normalise homosexuality."
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
UK Contraception and Abortion Promoters calling for Sex Ed for Four Year-Olds
UK: Religious Schools May Not Teach Christian Sexual Morals "As if They Were Objectively True"
Parents Shouldn’t Tell Kids What’s Right or Wrong about Having Sex: U.K. Gov’t Pamphlet