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Editorial: Catholic schools anti-gay petition scandal shows faith school system must be overhauled

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  1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Apr 2012, 7:48pm

    Unfortunately, it IS the goal of some faiths, particularly three of them, i.e. Anglican, Roman Catholic and Islamic to jeapardise progress. That is their mission during the equal marriage consultation. My only fear is that the government do NOT cave in. We must not let this happen. My other fear is that there are a considerable number of Tory MPs of the Karl McCartney ilk who will do all they can to thwart any progress. None of us know who exactly in the Tory Party supports equal marriage. We’re hearing more from the opponents than we are from the supporters lately.

  2. Simply another reason why faith schools should not receive ANY government funding – if parents want this then they should send children to an independent faith school. Also, disestablishment of the church across state services should happen sooner rather than later. The UK should be a secular country with protected freedoms for practising one’s religion which has absolutely no place in the government of the country.

  3. I agree Robert – if DC wants to show how his party has changed then he should have a 3 line whip on this….

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Apr 2012, 9:00pm

      Exactly right! I would like to see a national movement take root to disestasblish the state religion which would get it out of the House of Lords too. I’m not sure if HoL reform is a good thing though. That they are unelected is wrong, but if that changes it could mean the end of the Parliament Act which would be the lifesaver if equal marriage passes in Parliament but fails in the HoL. I don’t know why we need an HoL for anyway. Parliament should always have the last word in my view since the Commons are elected by the people.

  4. Reminds me of Bare, a musical involving two gay teenagers at a catholic school struggling with their identity.

    Anyway, hopefully, this hatred will be stamped out over the next few years, but taking on catholic schools directly will prove to be a HUGE challenge. I hope things work out but I’m not optimistic.

  5. Craig Denney 27 Apr 2012, 8:59pm

    I have been researching how much money goes to the religious community (majority of which goes to RC schools) in the county where I live because the council claimed it could not spend any money on the LGBT community because of the recession.

    In the first 12 months 6.7 Million was spent on religionists and nothing was spent on the LGBT community and I have another 12 months to add to the list of religious spending and preliminary checks of the next 12 months shows once again no spending on our community.

    Once I’ve finished the research I will put it to the Council that they are homophobes and they will have no defence.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Apr 2012, 9:01pm

      That would be interesting to see, Craig. Look forward to it.

  6. We can hope but they resist changing that one liner in the education act (which applies to all schools) which says pupils are to be taught the importance of marrage to family life and bringing up of children. We’ve had CPs for 6 yrs and gay couples also have children but it seems impossible for them to add us into that one line.

    One argument they keep bringing up against marriage equality is that by default we would be included in that one liner.

  7. Mystic Clegg 27 Apr 2012, 10:37pm

    So basically it’s this: while other schools all around the world are trying to bring about an end to bullying, ostracism and misery for a percentage of their pupils, Catholic schools are being urged to step up the villainy against some children. How do these people sleep at night?

  8. Great editorial.

    Good to see your strong and moral stance on this.

    I hope Gove does see pressure to launch an investigation into the events at the RC school in Sutton.

    Its time church and state were separated. That does not mean RC parents can not have faith schools – just that they will not be state funded.

  9. The Catholic church is a Hate Group, end of story.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 28 Apr 2012, 12:09am

      I agree! When it describes our sexual behaviour as intrinsically evil, disordered, how can it deny it doesn’t incite hatred? It most certainly does. But it is not alone. So are the the majority of the Anglican hierarchy and Islam, as well as orthodox Judaism. If anything is intrinsically evil, its them. Just look at their history, not exactly a stellar track record, in fact quite appalling. Christianity actually supported slavery up until the 19th century, in keeping with biblical tradition.

  10. “Nobody chooses to be LGBT, just like nobody chooses to be born a Catholic”

    NO NO NO

    Nobody is born with a religion. They might be born to parents who have a religion, but religion is not a heritable condition. A religion is a kind of cultural hobby, the ideas and propositions of which must be taught, and any individual can choose to assent to or reject them. One might as well say that children are born Labour voters or Ornithologists or lovers of Vanilla ice cream.

    It is precisely the fallacious notion that one inherits one’s religion as one inherits one’s skin and eye colour that has led to vast amounts of religious tribalism, indoctrination, miseducation, social division and child abuse. That’s what the bigoted religious lobby want us to think, but it just isn’t true.

    1. Perhaps they’ve changed the wording since you posted this comment, but it actually says “Nobody chooses to be LGBT, just like nobody chooses to be born into a Catholic family.”

      1. aha. It does indeed appear to have been changed. Complaining works!

  11. Craig Denney 28 Apr 2012, 1:46am

    I once worked for a Catholic family and one of the family worked part time in a newsagents and she put pins through condoms so that they would fail and she bragged about it! It was 20 years ago, but if I came across someone doing it now, I’d call the Police!

    For more info about Catholics and condoms :

  12. Can I just ask if any of you writing a comment on here is Catholic or had to attend a Catholic school? I did, and whilst it was correct that we were not taught about LGBT issues directly we did cover it within RE looking at the standpoint from different religious perspectives, including Catholicism, and their attitude towards homosexuality. At no point, however, were we told that the Catholic point of view is the correct one which must be followed. Furthermore we have only heard of this occurring in a handful of schools, so before we tarnish the whole Catholic education system, please remember that not all of them are like the one we have read in the past couple of days.

    1. How does the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales fit into this?

      Wasn’t it an instruction from the CESEW to ALL the Catholic schools?

      The instruction was sent out to over 300 schools. I’m assuming each school does what the CESEW tells them to do, why do you say only a handful of schools acted in this way?

      I had an A grade in my RE “O” level from my Welsh comp and we weren’t taught LGBT issues at all in RE….were you set an exam question on homosxuality for your RE course? I admit I did my o level a long time ago but it’s interesting that a Catholic school thinks that homosexuality should only be taught in a RE lesson, in a religious context. That’s not balanced!

      1. Yes there was a question set on my GCSE RE paper on the matter of homosexuality. And furthermore GCSE RE contained more than just religious dogma but also a number of citizenship issues. And what I’m saying is there is no evidence that the rest of the 300 Catholic schools followed this, we cannot assume that all Catholic Schools followed this, so we should try to have all the facts before painting all the Catholic Schools with the same brush. I agree that what was said was hugely offensive and completely the incorrect way to go about the situation and yes there should be an investigation into this, however I think that the call to overhaul the entire system is going a step too far.

    2. I have just become a Catholic

      1. Yeah and I just painted the Sistine Chapel.

        1. well done…the Church does have a lot to offer…any religion does…but alot of it is man made….and sadly they do not practice what they preach….

        2. Dr Robin Guthrie 28 Apr 2012, 11:05pm


          That was Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni.

          A very talented GAY man.

    3. I went to a catholic primary and secondary, I did consider myself catholic but I’m not from a paticularly religious family.
      One of our RE teachers was a wonderful knowledgable woman, and one hell of a teacher (she could read hebrew and a couple of other biblical languages I believe); she was a catholic but not at all a bigot (I remember she definitely wasn’t a homophobe). They made her reteach a lesson with another class because she deviated from the church’s teaching. I lost a lot of respect for the school and faith schools when I heard about that. She was an intelligent woman and exactly what a christian should be and she was shown no respect and punished just for applying a bit of rational thought to biblical teaching. Catholic schools aren’t good.
      I don’t even consider myself catholic anymore; the church’s intepretation of the example of Christ is obviously completely different from mine (I actually think he championed love and social justice), do still believe in God though.

  13. johnny.33308 28 Apr 2012, 3:03am

    In this one area, the US is ahead of the UK….the state cannot fund religious schools, as it is against Constitutional law here in the US. Some states try to get away with it but it is eventually ruled illegal and done away with. The respective religions fund their own schools here….it should be that way in the UK as well….why should taxpayers who might be athiest or Buddhist pay for Catholic schools, or Islamic schools? It could be against their religion. or beliefs to do so…it seems rather unfair to fund any religious school with tax money at all….

    1. David Waite 29 Apr 2012, 2:40am

      No, Johnny, it’s just that the mother country is more honest than her daughter. Here in the US, every charter school which bills itself as a “Christian Academy” accepts school tuition vouchers, which are entirely funded by taxpayers to the detriment of our public school system. Every Catholic or Baptist or Methodist college or university which accepts research grants, whether directly from our government or from tax-exempt foundations, is directly or indirectly funded by taxpayers. Those are just two different examples of taxes-funded religious education. There are others; it would take a column to elucidate them all.

      Just as almost every Commonwealth nation which has harsh anti-homosexuality laws and cultural attitudes can trace those laws and attitudes back to the British Empire, in non-Commonwealth but English-speaking cultures one finds similar ways of integrating religious rights and privileges and allowances into the cultural fabric.

  14. “We recognise that there are many liberal Christian, Jewish and other movements that actively embrace LGBT people. But there are far too many faith groups that take a decidedly un-Christian approach in their actions.”

    I’m glad you don’t tar us all with the same brush! But ‘liberal’ is what they call us. We think we’re actually mainstream and it is they who are, as you rightly say, completely “un-Christian.”

  15. Matt Westwood 28 Apr 2012, 8:43am

    “But unlike changing sexuality or trans status, people can and do change their religion.”

    Point of technical accuracy here: it is not unknown for people to change their sexual inclination. Apologies if this si a heretical thought to some of you hard-cores out there, but I thought it worth mentioning.

    And in case a whole army of you come out fighting (sorry for being so defensive, but this has happened before), I can’t see why it is such a controversial issue. People change. So what? Live and let live.

    Apart from that minor point: spot-on article.

    1. Provide proof please. Official studies carried out and verified by the scientific community only please. Not a crackpot study carried out by organisations that obtain funding from religious organisations.

    2. Dr Robin Guthrie 28 Apr 2012, 11:52am

      Event though there is zero evidence to support your claim, WHY should people change to suit people like you.

      Why don’t you become an EX-Bigot, or even better an EX_Heterosexual.

      The 1st is plausible the 2nd is not.

    3. Nonsense. There is no scholarly study nor credible peer-reviewed research that says that the changing of sexual orientation is anything other than fiction. And a dangerous fiction at that.

      Prove otherwise or shut your mouth before you make a bigger tool of yourself.

      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 28 Apr 2012, 10:58pm

        I see the troll is going around with its friend to “red mark” everyone down…….

        How sadly pathetic.

  16. I liked the NUS press release on this

    ““The Catholic Education Service should not be seeking to influence pupils to sign petitions against gay marriage. This entirely breaches the spirit of the Equality Act. ………..Discrimination on the grounds of sexuality or marital status should have no place in any of our schools. The CES should think again and stop promoting this petition in schools”.

  17. It is now quite obvious what a Catholic education on sexuality produces – a lot of nasty, dishonest, psychologically dysfunctional clergy and followers.

    This is using the guise of education to continue the manipulation and abuse of children and young people.

  18. Jock S. Trap 28 Apr 2012, 10:49am

    The systems is seriously flawed but so too is the petition. Therefore if any action is taken due to such petition it would be made by immoral, corrupt means.

    That’s religion for you.

  19. Not only should faith schools be overhauled [preferably to the point of abolition] but the relationship between churches and the state also needs to be examined. If the churches insist of political campaigning then they should be treated as businesses rather than charitable organisations and taxed accordingly.


  21. George Broadhead 29 Apr 2012, 5:34pm

    “The issue of faith schools is a difficult one.”

    It is not. They are divisive.

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