[Will there soon be a Pledge of Allegiance to similar “American” values?]
DEC 21ST 2016 BY DEACON NICK DONNELLY
The UK government is proposing that all office holders and employees of the State swear an Oath of Allegiance to British Values, in a move that evokes dark memories for Catholics of the Oath of Supremacy and other anti-Catholic oaths. These penal oaths were only finally repealed in 1910. Such oaths were imposed to punish and exclude Catholics for refusing to swear allegiance to British protestant values. The UK government is now considering legally imposing swearing allegiance to British secularist values.
Sajid Javid, Prime Minister Teresa May’s Communities Secretary, made the proposal in the Sunday Times newspaper in response to Dame Louise Casey’s independent review into “opportunity and integration”. In her report Dame Casey made the following recommendation to “increase standards of leadership and integrity in public office, by”:
Ensuring that British values such as respect for the rule of law, equality and tolerance are enshrined in the principles of public life and developing a new oath for holders of public office.
Dame Louise Casey’s understanding of British Values would condemn and exclude certain religious beliefs which she labels “regressive attitudes”:
“Intolerance of different sexuality: This is not hidden. In the 30th British Social Attitudes survey (2013), 40% of Anglicans and 35% of Catholics in Britain thought that being gay was “always” or “mostly” wrong. Less progressive views towards sexuality may also be found among older people and those with low educational qualifications. But the trend across society is towards more liberal and progressive views. (7.30).”
“Regressive attitudes. While many people in the UK appear to be seeing religion as increasingly less important and, in some cases, less of a force for good, for others, religion is very important in their daily lives. Within this latter group there appear to be some who are keen to take religion backwards and away from 21st Century British values and laws on issues such as gender equality and sexual orientation; creating segregation and pulling communities apart. (8.23).
Dame Louise Casey also has a definite model of the acceptable “religious leader”, who she describes as “peaceful, tolerant and liberal”.
The government’s Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, wrote in the Sunday Times newspaper that he was “drawn” to Dame Casey’s recommendation to impose an oath of allegiance to British Values because it was impossible for people to play a “positive role” in public life unless they accepted basic values such as democracy and equality. “If we are going to challenge such attitudes, civic and political leaders have to lead by example.” According to the UK government those made to swear the Oath of Allegiance to British Values would include elected officials, civil servants, and council workers, but it could also be extended to NHS and BBC staff.
The Casey Report is just the latest example of growing political pressure under the slogan of British Values to condemn and stigmatise Christian beliefs about sexuality, including the reservation of marriage to being a union between a man and a woman, and the grave immorality of homosexual sex acts. Since David Cameron legalised so called same-sex “marriage” there has been increasing pressure to include LGBT rights as British Values that will be legally imposed on UK citizens and taught in schools and colleges. Though the Department of Education has tweeted, “Nonsense to say schools ‘must teach gay rights’. We want schools to teach broad curric [sic] based on British values”. However, Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, has in the past punished Christian schools that its inspectors judged insufficiently taught and promoted LGBT issues.
Would Dame Casey view the following paragraph from the Catechism of the Catholic Church as taking “religion backwards and away from 21st Century British values and laws on issues such as gender equality and sexual orientation”?
“Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (CCC, 2357).”
This paragraph of the definitive Catechism of the Catholic Church is not a fringe belief of extremists but a fundamental doctrine of the Catholic Faith expressing divine revelation contained in sacred Scripture and Tradition.
Dame Casey’s stigmatisation of religious beliefs about which she disapproves as “regressive attitudes” that “take religion backwards and away from 21st Century British values” already has the ring of accusations of treason once levelled against Catholics during the Penal Times.
If Teresa May’s government goes ahead and frames an Oath of Allegiance to British Values that contradicts the Catholic Church’s doctrines on marriage and sexuality then Catholics would again be persecuted in the United Kingdom. Sajid Javid’s proposal to impose an new Oath of Supremacy could result in Catholics being excluded from important areas of life in this country. In the past Catholics were excluded from the House of Commons and universities, and now there is the threat Catholics could be excluded from all public office, the civil service, local councils, and employment with the NHS and BBC. How long until politicians decide that employment at all levels of education requires swearing the Oath of Allegiance to British Values?