British equalities czar: ‘It is not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage’

British equalities czar: ‘It is not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage’

Steve Weatherbe

LONDON, United Kingdom, January 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Britain’s equalities czar has equated Christian schools with Islamic extremists for teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Dame Louise Casey, a prominent bipartisan expert on social problems who just finished a review for the British government on “opportunity and integration” of isolated communities, told a parliamentary committee this week that Catholic schools were “homophobic.”

Casey said, “We have got to be careful that people can choose, obviously, to live the lives that they want to live, but that they cannot condemn others for living differently.”

This prompted a tweet from MP Edward Leigh: “Equalities czar says we ‘can’t condemn others for living differently’ then condemns Catholics for living differently.”

Casey’s remarks came after she said the so-called “Trojan Horse” scandal involving Muslims taking over Birmingham public schools was being repeated in more schools elsewhere.

“Do I think that some of the dynamics that happened in Trojan Horse are at play in other areas of the country? Yes, I do,” she said before moving on to her general indictment of Catholic educators and then all orthodox Christians.

In a reference to how Birmingham students were told by their Muslim teachers to boycott certain activities, she said, “I do not really have any view on which religion it is that it is promoting those sorts of views, but they are not OK, in the same way that it is not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage. That is not OK either — it is not how we bring children up in this country.”

At least one commentator suggested Casey took her swipe at Catholics so as not to seem to be picking on Muslims. Indeed, Casey went on, perhaps so that she would not seem to be picking on Catholics, to include all Christians who were passing on traditional moral teachings.

“I have a problem with the expression ‘religious conservatism,’ because often it can be anti-equalities,” she said. (“Equalities” is a British catchphrase for social justice or human rights.)

Later, she tried again to broaden the direction of her report, cautioning, “It has to be balanced. We easily want to condemn racists, and so we bloody should! So we should, but we should also condemn people who have other extreme views.”

Nonetheless, the thrust of her report, released last month, is the growth of self-contained and self-sustaining Muslim communities where Sharia law is enforced especially against women aspiring to rights accepted in the rest of the country.

Groups created to defend heterosexual marriage protested Casey’s widely publicized remarks. The Coalition for Marriage called them “astonishing” and “one of the clearest indications” the country’s equalities leadership saw those teaching Christian sexual morality as extremists.

“Believing that marriage is between one man and one woman doesn’t make you homophobic or an extremist,” the Coalition emphasized. “It’s Dame Louise Casey’s comments which are extreme.”

Anglican theologian Adrian Hilton took to his Archbishop Cramner blog site to say, “Louise Casey – whose whole political mission is virtuously dedicated to integration and social cohesion – has just jabbed another finger (not quite the middle one) at all those who call themselves religious conservatives, for ‘often’ they invoke that very term to cloak their anti-equalities bigotry in a shroud of holiness.”

Hilton continued, “In fact, all faith-based schools are now tarnished with the ‘Trojan Horse’ association, for what do religiously conservative teachers seek to do but propagate religious bigotry? And so religiously conservative groups are only free to ‘do God’ in free schools provided they don’t propagate a robust apprehension of moral orthodoxy.”

Casey’s comments have reminded some of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s recent observation about the government’s “religious illiteracy.” Said the archbishop: “The Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defense, our government generally, is desperately trying to catch up, to understand a world in which they have no grip on what it is to be religious at all.”

He continued, “They can’t see really the difference between an extremist Muslim group like the Muslim Brotherhood and a sort of conservative evangelical group in a Church of England church.”

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2 comments on “British equalities czar: ‘It is not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage’

  1. [Meanwhile, in the USA’s “neighbor to the north”]

    Minister rejects report challenging constitutional protection of Ontario’s Catholic education

    A report challenging the constitutional protection of Ontario’s publicly-funded Catholic school system has been dismissed by the minister of education.

    January 12, 2017

    “Our government is committed to continuing support for publicly-funded Catholic education and ensuring our publicly funded education system remains one of the best in the world,” said Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education. “We know that all four of our publicly funded systems are dedicated to supporting all of our students achieve excellence and I look forward to continuing that partnership.”

    On Dec. 20 the Fraser Institute released a report, penned by law professor Bruce Pardy, which challenged the protection of Catholic education as an untouchable political issue, rather than a legal one. It suggested that the government could “simply legislate its way out of the commitment” to open the door to education reform.

    “The preferential treatment of Ontario Catholic schools,” compared to other religion-based education, wrote Pardy, “(is) exclusively a political problem rather than a legal one. Citizens cannot challenge the special status of Catholic schools in courts because it is shielded. However, the constitutional entitlement in section 93 is simple to amend.”

    That section of the Canadian constitution entitles the Ontario Catholic school system to public funding and control over a separate, denominational education system.

    While Pardy doesn’t dispute the interpretation of the law, he rejects the idea it cannot change with economic and demographic shifts.

    “Constitutions are thought to express grand principles, but they also reflect political trade-offs made at the time of their creation,” wrote Pardy. “The circumstances that compelled those trade-offs pass into history, but the bargains themselves endure in the form of constitutional provisions sometimes to the detriment of later generations.”

    Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta provide public funding for both Catholic and public schools.

    Two of Canada’s provinces which previously had publicly-funded Catholic education — Quebec as well as Newfoundland and Labrador — have already implemented the kind of reform Pardy is suggesting. Such reform requires both the province and federal government to draft legislation omitting the province from the conditions guaranteed under section 93 of the Constitution.

    But Ontario’s government disagrees with challenging the Constitution as the best means of cutting education costs.

    “We know there are ways to achieve greater efficiencies in the education system without undermining our constitutional obligations to our Catholic and French education systems,” said Hunter.

    A number of the province’s Catholic and public boards have already begun exploring sharing services, such as transportation, administration and facilities, to cut costs as enrollment declines.

    According to the ministry’s official figures, almost 46,000 fewer students enrolled in publicly-funded education this September compared to 2003.

    Despite asking public and Catholic boards to partner-up wherever possible to save money, the Ministry of Education has actually increased funding in recent years. Since 2003, funding has increased by 59 per cent to $22.9 billion.

    Ann Hawkins, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, noted that one-third of Ontario’s students are educated within Catholic boards with a significant number of those in Catholic secondary schools being of a religion other than Catholicism.

    Pat Daly, president of the Ontario Catholic Schools Trustees’ Association, criticized the Fraser report for overlooking the positive contributions of Catholic education.

    “If you look at any provincial national international test results Catholic schools in Ontario, the students and the schools do have amazing results.”

  2. Bishops Warn of Anti-Christian Intolerance after Government Advisor Criticises Catholic Schools
    by Nick Hallett, 13 Jan 2017

    Two English bishops have hit out after the government’s top advisor on integration said it was “not OK” for Catholic schools to oppose gay marriage.

    The Catholic bishops of Portsmouth and Shrewsbury said it was becoming increasingly difficult to pass on traditional teaching in Britain, and that Christian values are facing discrimination.

    Earlier this week, Dame Louise Casey, the British government’s senior advisor on integration told MPs: “It is not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage,” adding: “I have a problem with the expression of religious conservatism because I think often it can be anti-equalities.”

    Philip Egan, the Bishop of Portsmouth, said any restrictions on Catholic schools passing on Church teaching would by worthy of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. He told Catholic News Service that trying to preach on traditional sexual morality in Britain has become “like arguing with an alcoholic”.

    “After a while, they won’t argue with you on grounds of reason, they just become furious and respond that way. There is something in our culture increasingly like that,” the bishop said.

    Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury also said that Britain’s values had been shaped by its Christian heritage. “These values would be undermined if an ‘equalities agenda’ in schools became the vehicle for an increasing intolerance of Christian teaching,” he said.

    “Strangely, it is the historic teachings of Christianity and the Christian vision of marriage which might be in need of toleration,” Bishop Davies added.

    He said the Catholic Church would benefit from a new papal document on anthropology to clarify Church teaching and counter the rise of gender ideology.

    In November, Dutch cardinal Willem Eijk called on the Pope to issue a high-level document condemning gender ideology, saying many Catholics were being “misled” into believing people could choose their own genders, partly because “they don’t hear anything else”.

    “[Gender theory] is spreading and spreading everywhere in the Western world, and we have to warn people,” he said.

    “From the point of moral theology, it’s clear — you are not allowed to change your sex in this way.”

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