Close the schools as well?

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has published its sixth report: Legislative Scrutiny: Sexual Orientation Regulations. (pdf) If the recommendations of the Committee are accepted, it is difficult to see how Catholic schools could continue in Britain. Here are two key extracts from the report. The first makes it clear that Catholic schools will not be exempted in any way from the regulations:
65. We welcome the Government’s acceptance that the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation should apply to all schools in both the maintained and the independent sectors, without any exemption for particular types of school such as faith schools. In our view, it follows from the fact that protection against sexual orientation discrimination is rooted in recognition of the equal dignity of every individual that there should be no exemptions for faith schools.
The second extract makes it clear what will be required:
67. We do not consider that the right to freedom of conscience and religion requires the school curriculum to be exempted from the scope of the sexual orientation regulations. In our view the Regulations prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination should clearly apply to the curriculum, so that homosexual pupils are not subjected to teaching, as part of the religious education or other curriculum, that their sexual orientation is sinful or morally wrong. Applying the Regulations to the curriculum would not prevent pupils from being taught as part of their religious education the fact that certain religions view homosexuality as sinful. In our view there is an important difference between this factual information being imparted in a descriptive way as part of a wide-ranging syllabus about different religions, and a curriculum which teaches a particular religion’s doctrinal beliefs as if they were objectively true. The latter is likely to lead to unjustifiable discrimination against homosexual pupils. We recommend that the Regulations for Great Britain make clear that the prohibition on discrimination applies to the curriculum and thereby avoid the considerable uncertainty to which the Northern Ireland Regulations have given rise on this question. We further recommend that the Government clarifies its understanding of the Northern Ireland Regulations on this matter.
The wording has been deliberately muddied in order to present Catholic teaching in a crude manner. Our faith does not teach that "homosexuality" itself is necessarily sinful, it teaches that it is disordered. It is homosexual acts that are sinful.

However, I hope that nobody is foolish enough to try to make a compromise based on that point. The people who framed this guidance will not accept our teaching that homosexuality is a disorder nor that homosexual acts are sinful. They have the bit between their teeth. Although the direction in which public policy has been moving is obvious enough, I am a little surprised at the pace it has now picked up.

Make no mistake - this proposal will make it illegal for Catholic schools to teach that the Catholic faith is true.

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