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‘Government cannot protect teachers from the sack, if they refuse to teach same-sex marriage’

By on Friday, 25 January 2013

Michael Gove                Photo: PA

Michael Gove Photo: PA

The Education Secretary has expressed fears that the Government will be powerless to prevent primary school teachers from being sacked, if they refuse to teach children about gay marriage.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, a senior source in Michael Gove’s department said that the UK was not “in control” and any final decisions might inevitably rest with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The Government’s bill on same-sex marriage was published today and will be debated in the House of Commons on February 5.

But equalities minister, Maria Miller, has tried to reassure teachers that their jobs will not be under threat once the bill has passed.

She told the Today programme on Radio 4: “Look, teachers are able to and entitled to express their views about same-sex marriage and there’s no requirement at all for them to promote it but, obviously, we wouldn’t expect teachers to be offensive or discriminate in any way about anybody.”

She continued: “I think it’s important to say that in the context of talking about religious belief, perhaps in a church school that, there are different views on these matters, that there are views that marriage is between a man and a woman, particularly when it comes to, say, the Church of England, the Catholic church or the Church in Wales.

“You think you always expect our teachers to teach in a balanced way and nothing changed in that respect, but, obviously, it’s important that children do know that there are different beliefs within different religious faiths.”

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    Parents must have a say on what is taught to their children in schools.  It’s absolutely mind-boggling that they have minimum input.  How dare ministers and faceless bureaucrats from on high dictate what is taught to our children. 

    There must be more parent power.  Hands off our children.

    Maria Miller’s statement about teachers not being allowed to discriminate in any way about anybody is very very telling.  Be warned…this measure is tyrannical

    Parents withdraw your children from schools where this sort of indoctrination is going to happen and demand the sacking of the head teacher!

  • Kennyinliverpool

    I can see parents who sent their children to good Catholic schools demanding the ‘good’ school shed its Catholicism but retain its ‘ethos’ … which will be frustrating for the schools. 
    - Church schools should have morning and evening prayer for students / parents and staff before and after school; that’ll give more rationale for the school having a church affiliation … and would also transform the community??? 

  • Jon

    I have 2 relatives who teach in the different Catholic schools in Spain. Neither school has had any problem upholding the traditional Catholic teaching on marriage in a country with same-sex marriage. I would hope that the same will be said for schools in the UK when the marriage law is changed.

  • John McCarthy

    The Minister states that different faiths have different views. But what is the truth in the matter. The Roman Catholic Church has the Holy Spirit to guide it in all truth. The U.K. Governement does not!

  • Cestius

    I think before the government goes ahead with this gay marriage act, it really should rip up the existing equal rights legislation and write it properly, this time giving a proper and equitable balance between the rights of gays and those of religious minorities with a guarantee of free speech. Otherwise the “human rights” lawyers will be able to challenge any guarantees the government might put into the gay marriage act, and take an opportunity to silence and persecute Catholics, evangelicals and anyone else who dares to defend the idea of marriage as being between a man and a woman only..

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    Remember…..it is we the people who pay teacher’s wages.  The government (and head-teachers) might like to ponder that before sacking any teacher!  My bet is that most parents do not want same-sex marriage taught to our children.

    Time for us parents to stand up and be counted.  How dare they go over our heads!

  • Kevin

    Has there ever been an “equalities” commissar that monitored Catholic teaching on divorce?

  • Sh3LLz2

    Since when is “marriage” a course in school anyway?

  • majorcalamity

    Thank goodness for that fact. The last thing we need is Catholic “Truth” penetrating into Government policy. Their views get aired often enough in the House for them to be well known and considered.

  • Arden Forester

    Maria Miller is VERY selective in her wording of statements. She is a woman to be watched because she is not telling the truth. We already have Catholic adoption agencies targeted by securalists and supported by supine statists. Next it will be teachers, then priests. In Canada such attacks are beginning to appear as commonplace.

  • whytheworldisending

    Teachers should simply tell the truth, which is that sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is wrong – a sin. If parents don’t agree then they should send their children to a school for atheists, and not a faith school. Parents have a legal right to have their children educated according to their wishes. Many non-catholics agree with Christian values. They too should be able to ask for teaching that reflects traditional British morality. The government isn’t going to alienate all such parents by forcing their opinions on children without regard for their parents’ wishes, and they are not going to sack every Catholic (or Muslim, or Evangelical etc) teacher who teaches in accordance with their conscience and with the wishes of th eparents who have opted to send their children to them. And what was that about FREE schools? Plan A: Defeat this obnoxious Bill. Plan B: If the Bill somehow slips through, then all this coalition’s bluff. It is incompatible with the Human Rights Convention as it unnecessarily and disproportionately interferes with the Convention rights of parents, children and teachers, and does so in a discriminatory way. IGNORE IT and if necessary take the coalition to Strasbourg.

  • Cgladys

    Surely, my dears, the Thing to do if you object to gay sex is to STOP WATCHING IT!

  • Cgladys

    Surely, my dears, the thing to do if you object to gay sex is to STOP WATCHING IT!

  • Parasum

    ‘Government cannot protect teachers from the sack, if they refuse to teach same-sex marriage’

    ## “Teaching same-sex marriage” is a phrase which could mean anything. When language is used in this singularly unhelpful way,  a reasoned exchange of ideas becomes impossible.  Words are suppsed to communicate meaning & clarify ideas - not confuse and obscure them. One appreciates that this is now a nation of semi-educated Yahoos, but really :(

  • Parasum

    The Holy Spirit is of no more legal importance than a unicorn - Divine Persons (supposing them to exist, which not everyone believes) are not human, and cannot be involved in everyday life in the way human beings can be. So Divine Persons, however real to their adorers, are legally & socially irrelevant. Which is just as well, because men have worshipped thousands of gods; there would be no way to adjudicate between the competing claims of these deities.
      
    “But what is the truth in the matter. The Roman Catholic Church has the Holy Spirit to guide it in all truth.”

    ## That is your opinion. A Jew would not agree. Nor would Sikhs, Muslims, Baptists, Methodists, Raelians, Scientologists or atheists. What Catholics believe cannot be made a rule for the rest of society, because Catholics are only one interest group out of many in it. The theological truth is of no importance in law. Hindus are as convinced of the importance of Ganesh as Christians are of that of Christ. Ignoring the competing convictions & equally fervently-held but incompatible beliefs is the only way a multi-cultural society can survive. Unless the religious notions that divide man from his neighbour are ignored, the common good of all, irrespective of religion or lack of it, becomes impossible: society cannot be a good society, if it built on ideas that are not shared.  

    The UK government doesn’t need a god to be a just society – virtues are more useful than religion for social life. Gods & religions are optional extras. Loss of confidence in the ability of society to be a good thing is dangerous. And a theocracy is no better.

  • truefaith

    Throughout the 1980′s & 1990′s Section 28 prohibited teachers from ‘promoting’ the homosexual lifestyle . I do not recall catholics, or other religious groups, raising so much as a whisper. Teachers who were found to be in violation of Section 28 were also at great risk of losing their jobs, but little was done to protect ‘their’ rights. I am a practising catholic and a teacher. If any of my students were to ask my opinion on homosexual relationships, or ‘gay marriage’, I would happily sit and discuss their concerns. I would not, under any circumstances, tell them it was ‘wrong’. Instead I would encourage a balanced discussion which included religious viewpoints. Not all Catholics ‘fear’ this new proposed law. I have my beliefs & I agree that I should be allowed to express them – openly & in a balanced way. Do not use religion as a tool for prejudice. Haven’t we had enough of that?

  • Parasum

    If and when it is changed, what’s the likelihood that the Church in the UK  will deny it was ever against gay marriage ? Very high, IMO. 

  • Paul

    Parasum, please stop the blasphemous nonsense.  The truth revealed in Scripture is not a matter of opinion and it is not subject to discussion against other opinions on an equal footing.  We believe because the revelation came to us by the word of God.

  • Paul

    The time seems to be coming, if it has not already arrived, when the churches need to go underground again.  I do not have children in Britain; if I did I would be looking at home schooling options.  If I were a teacher I would have a plan B in preparation for the day when I would be fired for the ‘crime’ of preferring the word of God to the anticipated judgments of the European Court of so called Human Rights.

  • Parasum

    “Teachers should simply tell the truth, which is that sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is wrong – a sin.”

    “the truth, which is that sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is wrong – a sin.”

    ## By Christian or Jewish standards – but not by everyone’s. Besides, sin is a religious category – not a legal one. Teachers are welcome to object to the practice as a sin, but unless they are  teaching in a religious school, its alleged sinfulness is beside the point.

  • Nick

    Maybe those fired teachers could go open and Bed and Breakfast somewhere!!

  • Nick

    And why would churches such as the Quakers, the Unitarians, the Liberal Jews and even most of the C of E need to go underground?

  • Nick

    What a balanced reasoned approach. I have never understood the notion that teachers will be sacked for believing in what is being referred to as ‘traditional marriage’.
    Surely, as you say, teachers have a duty to explain things to their pupils in a balanced way and without bias. You don’t have to ‘promote’ same sex marriage in order to explain that it exists and why. Neither do you have to agree with it.
    Wouldn’t it be sufficient and indeed truthful to say something along the lines of “Marriage has traditionally been between a man and a woman and most often it still is, but sometimes it can be between two men or two women”. That would be factual wouldn’t it – and sufficient to allow the pupils to think about it for themselves and then ask any questions they wanted to ask.
    The personal feelings or beliefs of the teacher shouldn’t come into it and neither should they be compromised.
    A Barrister is duty bound to defend their client to the best of their ability – they might not like what that person has done and may believe them to be guilty, but its a question of being professional about it – isn’t it?

  • Nick

    “If the Bill somehow slips through” – It’ll pass with a thumping majority – have you seen the number of MP’s supporting it?!!

  • Nick

    What, you think there are going to be lessons in same sex marriage?
    Like between 2.00pm and 2.45pm every Wednesday the lesson is same sex marrage?
    Don’t be ridiculous.

    There aren’t lessons in opposite sex marriage, so there’s hardly likely to be lessons in same sex marriage.And given 60% of the population (COMRES poll) support equal marriage, it seems logical that parents would want their children to be aware of it. After all, kids will be aware of it anyway – they’re not stupid you know and don’t live in an antiseptic bubble. So and as with all matters of this kind, isn’t it better they hear about it from an informed source rather than by other means?

  • Nick

    Yes but we live in a representative democracy, not a theocracy.
    And if the Roman Catholic church has the Holy Spirit to guide it, what do other faiths have?
    You trying to tell us the Catholic church has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?
    Was the Holy Spirit guiding the Catholic church when its priests were abusing and raping children?

  • Nick

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear….
    If ‘God’ is all seeing and all knowing, he knew before he created the world how it was all going to end – which rather begs the question why did he bother in the first place!!Ah but hang on – of course – there is no god – he doesn’t exist.So as for the truth in the scripture, well that means –

    Eating shellfish isn’t an abomination. (Yum yum, prawn mayo sandwiches)

    We don’t need to sell our daughters into slavery.
    Those who work on the Sabbath don’t have to be put to death,
    It isn’t ok to own slaves from
    neighbouring nations.
    There’s no problem wearing mixed fibres (I love my poly / cotton shirts)

  • Nick

    “Hands off our children” – Did you say that to the priests when they were buggering them senseless?

  • Paul

    Nick,   It is better that the ‘informed source’ tell them the truth.  And it is better if they can tell them the truth without fear of being fired, or having to appear in court.

  • Paul

    Thanks Nick.  I already knew what you would say.  But thanks all the same. 

  • Paul

    Nick, have you read the First Letter of John?  It answers your questions so clearly that I don’t think I have anything to add.  See for example Chapter 4 verses 1-6.
      The truth revealed in God’s word is so liberating it pains me, honestly, to see people still in darkness, still oppressed by the trickery of our spiritual enemies.
      You think you are going to find the Holy Spirit elsewhere than in Christ?  You still don’t get it.

  • Paul

    Parasum,  No, we are talking about the Creator’s standards.  He tells us about it clearly in the biological facts, and in his word.  No need to sectarianise it.

  • Paul

    Nick,  You forgot to mention the fastest growing Christian group in the world today, the Evangelicals.  Are you going to send them underground as well?  They are already underground in China, and they have been doing astonishingly well there.

  • Paul

    The hygiene provisions in the Mosaic Law brought great benefits to the OT Jews, helping them to a life expectancy several decades longer than their neighbours.  Breaking them did not incur the death penalty.  Contrast with the penalty to sodomy in Leviticus 20:13.
      The guff you present here is often rehashed in these discussions.  Look at Scripture as a whole and you will find it much easier to see what God is saying in the parts.

  • teigitur

    Very stange that everone who disagrees with you is simplry” ridiculous. “

  • teigitur

    So good you had to say it twice. Hopefully this low comment will be removed.

  • teigitur

    Three times…lol you really are a hoot.

  • teigitur

    We are so glad you feel strongly enough to come onrt this Catholic site to “air” your views.

  • teigitur

    I think your probably just a troll, with nothing real to add to any debate.

  • teigitur

    Remind us again the numbers signing the pro and anti petitions?

  • teigitur

    You really are bitter for some reason.

  • Deacon_Augustine

    If God is so irrelevant to a just society, why do our courts still ask people to place their hands on the bible and swear to tell the truth by it?

    Don’t you find it ironic that when Catholics will be brought before the courts for their contempt of sodomitic laws that they will be swearing on the same bible which condemns sodomitic acts as abominations?

  • Deacon_Augustine

    ” I would happily sit and discuss their concerns. I would not, under any circumstances, tell them it was ‘wrong’.”

    In that case you would be failing to serve the truth and committing a sin against faith.  Look up in the CCC the number of ways we can be guilty of participating in the sin of another.

  • Nick

    Why would Evangelicals need to go underground – their view is changing and I see Steve Chalk a leading Evangelical minister has come out in favour of conducting same sex marriage in their churches!

  • Nick

    Minority rights have never been a majority issue – because in a civilised society we would never put the rights of the minority in a position whereby they could be cruched by the majority.
    But the last poll (by COMRES) showed 60% of the population in favour.

  • Nick

    Not in the slightest. Its just most people aren’t bigoted like the majority on here.I’ve got no problem with people disagreeing with me so long as it isn’t for ignorant prejudiced and bigoted reasons.
    You forget all of the courts of law agree with my position on same sex relationships and always find against yours – every time.

  • Nick

    Yes I agree – the turth that a same sex relationship is as normal and as valid as an opposite sex one – which is the whole point of there being equal marriage. So that nicely completes the circle. You seem to forget that 60% of the population agree with equal marriage.

  • teigitur

    I don t forget at all, there are plenty of laws I disagree with, and will never agree with eg the abortion one. Are you familiar with the phrase ” the law is a ass” ? Well guess what, it sometimes is.
     I have no doubt this will go through, we shall have to learn to live with it, but never accept that marriage is anything else than between a man and woman.

  • whytheworldisending

    Sin means “missing the mark.” Without putting too fine a point on it, homosexual activity is one of the simplest examples of sin you could hope to find. The wages of sin is death, and again, it is hard to find a better example. Christian and Jewish standards reflect the objective truth, just as Scientific enquiry seeks to. Those who choose to ignore both Science and Scripture are to be pitied. Unfortunately, pity can not be chanelled into compassionate action if the truth cannot be taught. I agree that Faith schools are the place where the truth will be taught, but it is sad if children in other schools are to be left at the mercy of those who will indoctrinate them into evil, and sadder still for society when those children put what they have been taught into action.

  • Nick

    Paul I don’t read fairy stories.
    I gave up on that when i read that people who work on the sabbath must be put to death. That eating shellfish was an abomination. That it was ok to sell daughters into slavery. That it was ok to own slaves from neighbouring nations. That the wearing of mixed fibres is somehow displeasing.So I’m sticking with my prawn mayo sandwiches and poly / cotton shirts!!”

    “The truth revealed in God’s word is so liberating” – Erm yeah right!
    Its the most bigoted, barbaric nonsense I have ever come across.
    And that’s before we consider that there’s no evidence to suggest any ‘god’ type person actually exists.Where there is 100% proof positive that gay people exist.Thus it seems fairly obvious whose ‘rights’ should take precidence.