(LifeSiteNews) – A teacher in Ireland has been jailed as part of the fallout for refusing to address a student by a transgender pronouns.
Enoch Burke, a Christian and a teacher at Wilson’s Hospital secondary school in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath – which is a Church of Ireland school – was arrested on September 5 for contempt of court, in a case which has emerged from his refusal to call “a boy a girl” in the classroom.
RTE News reported that Burke was sentenced to Mountjoy Prison after breaking an injunction issued against him and will remain in prison for an unspecified period of time.
Burke is at the center of a disciplinary process which was begun against him after he refused to address a male student – reportedly in the process of “transitioning” – as a girl, and also refused to use the pronoun “they.”
Burke reportedly refused to comply with the school principal’s May 9 order to use the new name and pronoun and was consequently placed on paid, administrative leave August 22 while the school board held a disciplinary process.
UPDATE (26th January 2023):
Enoch Burke is facing severe fines of €5000 per week if he backs down in his stand for the truth about gender ideology.
SIGN: We stand with this brave Christian in his defense of the truth
Burke is facing a daily fine of €700 if he does not obey a court order barring him from attending the school he was fired from.
Having spent 108 days in jail last year for his refusal to abide by the court order, he was officially fired last week by the Church of Ireland (Anglican) Wilson’s Hospital School in Co. Westmeath, Ireland.
Responding to High Court Justice Brian O’Moore’s decision to fine the teacher €700 per day from Friday unless purges his contempt of the court order, Burke told reporters that the judge “wants to fine me for the profession of my religious beliefs.”
“What has become of us as a nation, to fine somebody for their religious beliefs?,” Burke asked. “We’re at a time in this country where people are at their wit’s end, with the cost of everything as we know...and Brian O’Moore, a judge of the High Court, has sat down and said to himself that not only will you have to pay for all those things, but you now have to pay for your religious belief.”
“He’ll make you a pauper for the profession of your religious belief,” Burke added.
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The teacher declined to answer questions on whether he would continue to attend the school and face significant fines, or purge his contempt of court.
An Evangelical Christian who taught German, history and politics at the school for four years, Burke has consistently maintained that to use transgender pronouns would violate his religious beliefs and that his subsequent suspension by the school, and the court orders against him, were therefore unjust.
Jailed on September 5, 2022, Mr. Justice Brian O’Moore released Burke on December 21st, despite the teacher’s unwillingness to purge his contempt of the court order barring him from the school’s property.
Mr. Justice O’Moore said today that he hoped the prospect of paying almost €5000 in fines every week would “end his (Burke’s) utterly pointless attendance at a school which does not want him on its property”.
The judge warned however that the fines could be increased if they do not have the desired effect.
Burke was fired by the school last Friday and has shown up at the school grounds for work each day this week, despite being arrested and released on Tuesday.
He has until 2pm GMT on Friday to officially purge his contempt before the court or the €700 daily fines will begin to be applied.
Mr. Justice O’Moore admitted today that it was not “immediately attractive” to jail the Christian conscientious objector again as he theorized that Burke had exploited media attention surrounding his imprisonment last year for his own ends, while the judge also considered the schools suggestion to sequester the teacher’s assets to be futile.
Prior to his imprisonment, Burke told the High Court that “transgenderism is against my Christian belief.”
“It is contrary to the Scriptures, contrary to the ethos of the Church of Ireland and of my school,” the teacher added. “I love my school, with its motto Res Non Verba, actions not words, but I am here today because I said I would not call a boy a girl.”
“It is insanity that I will be led from this courtroom to a place of incarceration, but I will not give up my Christian beliefs,” he insisted.
Burke also promised Mr. Justice Max Barrett on September 7th that he would “never leave Mountjoy Prison if in leaving that prison I must violate my well-informed conscience and my religious beliefs and deny my God. I consider it commendable that I chose to obey God rather than man.”
Irish teacher Enoch Burke has been arrested and jailed after refusing to use a transgender student's preferred pronoun, "they", in the classroom.
This insane step by Irish authorities must be called out for what it is: the unhinged intimidation of an educator by demented ideologues.
Please add your name to our urgent message to the High Court today.
SIGN: Enoch Burke must be freed immediately as an educator who upheld the truth
Burke was suspended by his school for refusing to use the transgender pronouns of a student, even confronting his principal about the irrationality of the situation, and defying a subsequent court injunction barring him from performing his teaching duties.
He is now in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin after being brought before a judge on 5 September who found Burke to be in contempt of the injunction by attending work after his suspension.
Burke, who told the High Court “I am here today because I would not call a boy a girl”, made clear that he would not abide by the injunction because it would violate his conscience as a Christian.
“Were I to obey the order of the board of management and the order of the court, I would have to accept that sticking by my belief in male and female is wrong,” he said. “It is not something I will do. It is in violation of my conscience."
“Were I to go into the school and bow to something I know to be manifestly wrong, it would be a shame and a disgrace on my part,” he added.
You can identify as a parrot if want but why should people like Enoch Burke be forced to play along with it?— IrishConservative (@RealIrishCONS) September 2, 2022
This defiant attitude has now prompted Burke's arrest and imprisonment in an Orwellian debacle that should send warning signals to the watching world.
Mr. Justice Burke ordered Burke be "committed to Mountjoy Prison and remain therein until he purges his contempt or until further order of this court.”
Defending himself, Burke replied: “I cannot purge my contempt by holding my Christian beliefs in contempt."
Burke hugged his father and brother before being taken away by Gardaí to Mountjoy Prison.
Please share this petition with as many people as possible - it's clear that leftists will not tolerate dissent on this absurd issue unless we all push back.
SIGN: Enoch Burke must be freed immediately as an educator who upheld the truth
Upon Burke’s continued attendance at the school, he was then handed an interim order on August 30, wrote the Irish Times, to prevent him from entering the school.
Burke, who teaches German, history, and politics, had told the court that he refused “to call a boy a girl” as it was “manifestly wrong” and against his conscience. He continued to attend the school despite the injunction.
The school board was determined to remove Burke from the school and consequently sought the intervention of law enforcement after his rejection of the August 30 order, claiming that he could be disruptive to the students.
The court permitted this in a hearing Friday. Burke was then arrested for contempt of court on Monday, while sitting in an empty classroom in the school and taken directly to the court for a hearing.
“My religious beliefs are not misconduct. They are not gross misconduct,” he told the court. “They never will be. They are dear to me. I will never deny them and never betray them, and I will never bow to an order that would require me to do so. It is just not possible for me to do that.”
He added that upholding the biological reality of male and female could not lead to a charge of gross misconduct, and such a charge was the only thing which could lead to a suspension.
“Transgenderism is against my Christian belief. It is contrary to the scriptures, contrary to the ethos of the Church of Ireland and of my school,” the teacher added. “I love my school, with its motto Res Non Verba, actions not words, but I am here today because I said I would not call a boy a girl.”
It is insanity that I will be led from this courtroom to a place of incarceration, but I will not give up my Christian beliefs.
He was sentenced to serve an unspecified jail term, to last until he purges his contempt or until further order of the court.
Many have expressed outrage at Burke’s arrest, with social media users suggesting his refusal to use transgender pronouns was the underlying cause of the arrest.
However, Judge Michael Quinn stated that he was sentencing Burke to prison based only on his contempt of court, not on his beliefs. But, with Burke sentenced to prison until he “purges his contempt” or the court orders otherwise, it is unclear when he might be released.
Please send letters of support to Enoch Burke, an evangelical Christian, given an INDEFINITE prison sentence by Irish Judge Michael Quinn for his Christian beliefs.
Send your letters and cards to:
Mr Enoch Burke, Mountjoy Prison North Circular Road, Dublin 7, D07 YC97, Ireland pic.twitter.com/YNHGyWxqr4
— Nick Donnelly (@ProtecttheFaith) September 6, 2022
Genspect, an international group promoting transgender ideology, were among many who expressed outrage at Burke’ sentencing to jail. Noting how the group did not agree with many of Burke’s “views,” Genspect wrote that “this is irrelevant.”
“We need to protect freedom of conscience and the right to free speech,” the group stated. “Although Enoch Burke is in jail for contempt of court, this case is rooted in the fact that the teacher’s beliefs prevented him from calling a student they/them. As he said ‘it’s plural’. It’s the fruit of the poisonous tree.”
Burke is due to appear in court on Wednesday for a reviewal of the August 30 injunction placed upon him.