Government closing on Catholic schools

A week ago, our new Prime Minister set up three new Government Departments to replace two previous ones (DfES and DTI). In addition to the "Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills" (DIUS) and the "Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform" (DBERR), there is the new "Department for Children, Schools and Families" (DCSF).

The new minister in charge of the DCSF is Kevin Brennan. He has certainly wasted no time in showing us what the priorities will be for this new department entrusted with policy for schools and families - he has been to visit Stonewall's Education for All conference. There is an article and the full text of his speech in the Pink News article Government committed to stamping out gay bullying. (Brennan moved the Sexual Orientation Regulations in the House of Commons on 19 March this year.)

He speaks a great deal about homophobic bullying without defining what that means. And he makes it clear that the new guidance to be issued will "apply to all schools - including faith schools." To help you out, here is a definition of homophobia from the Department of Health's 2004 document on Challenging Homophobia in Schools:
Homophobia is a dislike or fear of someone who is lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). At its most benign it involves passive resentment of LGB men and women. In its most destructive form it involves active victimisation. Such attitudes can also affect anyone who is perceived to be homosexual or who does not conform to stereotypical standards of masculine or feminine behaviour.
This is a poorly worded statement by any standards. Presumably they ought to have written "a dislike or fear of someone because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB)" but we all know where this is going. This is not about stopping children calling each other nasty names or picking on a weak individual - as the Catholic Education Service have pointed out, existing anti-bullying policies already deal with those issues.

The drive here is to try to force faith schools (he means Catholic schools in particular) to avoid expressing the teaching of the Catholic Church that that homosexuality is a disordered condition, that homosexual acts are gravely sinful, that the family is the fundamental unit of society and that sex is only morally licit between a man and a woman who are married to each other. This teaching will itself be regarded as homophobic, and a form of bullying.

A lot of what Brennan says hinges on the issue of culture change. He compares the "homophobic language" of today with the racist language of the 1970s which few people now find acceptable. The culture change that Brennan is trying for force through in schools (and perhaps also by inspecting homeschooling families) is to make it wrong to deny that homosexuality as much a part of a person's natural make-up as the colour of their skin.

This policy is being driven by Stonewall and the National Secular Society. They hate our schools and want them either handed over to the state or forced to deny Catholic moral teaching. Quoted in the NSS article Catholic Church not fit to run schools, says GALHA), George Broadhead of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association makes it quite clear:
“It’s terrible to think that there are gay children in these establishments being bullied not only physically but also psychologically by the message they are getting from the Church authorities. Somebody has to speak up for them, and I am pleased that the Government recognises that gay kids are at particular risk in Catholic schools.”
Note that well - "bullying" is not just about physical or verbal abuse but the teaching of the Catholic Church.


PS - I was talking to Hilary White of LifeSite News about all this earlier. I see she has now posted her article - UK Minister Pledges Government Collaboration with Gay Activists in Stopping "Homophobic Bullying" in Schools

See also my previous post NSS and DfES show the next step which has links to other relevant sources.

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