UK Teacher’s Guidelines to “Promote Equality and Value Diversity” will Violate Religious Consciences
By Hilary White
LONDON, March 4, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Christians and other religious groups say they are concerned about the implications of a new "Code of Conduct and Practice" for UK schools telling teachers that they must "promote equality and value diversity."
The draft guidelines from the UK’s General Teaching Council (GTC), the professional regulatory body for teachers, say that teachers must "act respectfully towards all children and young people, parents, carers and colleagues, regardless of their socio-economic background, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, religion or beliefs."
But to the requirement to "act respectfully" is added a clause requiring teachers to "proactively challenge discrimination, stereotyping and bullying, no matter who is the victim or the perpetrator; promote equality and value diversity in all their professional relationships and interactions." Christian and other religious groups concerned with education have said that this requirement amounts to an instruction to teachers to act against their religious beliefs and conscience.
Oona Stannard, head of the Catholic Education Service, warned that the guidelines could create a conflict for teachers in religious schools. Stannard wrote to the GTC during the consultation period on the code, calling "understandable" the fear that "the call to ‘proactively challenge discrimination’ could be used to oppose faith schools per se, and the rights that they have in law, for example, to select leaders who are of the faith.
"This anxiety extends similarly to the direction to ‘promote equality’," she added. "It would be unacceptable to expect anyone to be required to promote something contrary to their own faith beliefs and, indeed, it would not be possible for a person of faith to promote another faith - this is a matter of conscience."
The Christian Institute, an interdenominational Christian lobby group that has been opposing government efforts to outlaw criticism of the homosexualist agenda said, "Respect for people as people is not the same as respecting or valuing every religious belief or sexual lifestyle." Colin Hart, director of the Christian Institute, said, "Forcing this on Christian teachers is to force them to go against their conscience."
There are nearly 7,000 publicly funded religious schools in England, of which 2,000 are Catholic. The rest are largely Anglican or belong to other Christian denominations, with 47 belonging to other religions.
Religious groups have been aware for some years of the threat from government efforts to implement the homosexualist lobby’s doctrines under the guise of opposing "homophobic bullying." Government guidelines for teachers have also included warnings against "heterosexist" language in classrooms, which is understood to mean they must avoid any implication in classrooms that heterosexual relations are normative for marriage and family life.
Government ministries and professional regulatory bodies frankly admit to receiving their directives from homosexualist and anti-Christian activist organisations like Stonewall, the National Secular Society and the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA), adding force to the allegations that the government is actively promoting a political agenda openly hostile to Christianity and other traditional religious groups.
The government acknowledges that the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs) of the Equality Act, that have resulted in the closure of many of Britain’s Catholic adoption agencies, are the work of a close collaboration of government with Stonewall activists. Then-Prime Minister Tony Blair was a guest of Stonewall at a banquet celebrating the passage of the Regulations in 2007.
In March 2007, a Commons Select Committee to the Department for Education and Skills (DES) produced a report that singled out Catholic schools for refusing to implement pro-homosexual regulations. Education Secretary Alan Johnson told Stonewall activists the week the report was released 2007 that the government was preparing guidelines for schools to address what was identified in the report as "faith-based" "homophobic bullying."
Christians have pointed out that while real bullying of any kind is not to be tolerated, requiring teachers "proactively" to oppose "homophobia" is indistinguishable from ordering them to promote the homosexual lifestyle as normal and acceptable.
In July 2007, Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced a "crackdown" on "homophobia" in Britain’s public institutions and, at the same time, the Labour government’s Education Minister Kevin Brennan specified that this meant increased pressure on "faith schools" to conform to the new agenda promoting homosexuality as normal. Brennan told PinkNews.co.uk, "The guidance is strong; it has got the full force of the government behind it. We are committed to making sure that every school implements the guidance … We will be monitoring its implementation."
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
British PM Blair Celebrates Passage of Sexual Orientation Regulations at Homosexual Activist Banquet
UK Minister Pledges Government Collaboration with Gay Activists in Stopping "Homophobic Bullying" in Schools
New U.K. PM Gordon Brown Promises Gays "Crack-Down" on "Homophobia"