“Relationships and sex education” as a tool for mass shaping of a generation’s worldview: can it be halted?

Oct 15, 2019 by

By Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream:

Since the beginning of the year, Anglican Mainstream has posted a steady stream of articles  on the government’s overhaul of Relationships and Sex Education, particularly as the plans affect Primary Schools. The new guidelines have the effect of standardising across the nation what many schools have being putting into practice already for some years: under the guise of promoting “British values” of “tolerance” and “inclusion”, and in an effort to prevent the bullying of vulnerable minorities on account of their sexual orientation or family structure, all children should be taught positively about same sex relationships, transgenderism, “pride” culture and the questioning of heteronormativity.

Expensively-produced materials covering series of lesson plans have been piloted for some years and are being rolled out by local educational authorities. Inspection regime OFSTED has made high profile examples of small, religious-based schools which haven’t complied with sufficient enthusiasm. The Church of England leadership has largely bought into this agenda, as evidenced by the publication of “Valuing all God’s Children”, its Stonewall-influenced guidelines for “transgender children” in C of E schools published in October 2017, and other subsequent examples (eg here and here).

While in theory, parents will still have a limited right to withdraw their primary school children from sex education, in practice the effects of the new regulations will make it more difficult as LGBT themes will be increasingly embedded across the curriculum. In response to protests from small groups of Christian parents in south London and larger groups of Muslims in Birmingham, further guidelines have recently been issued portraying parents who protest against RSE as a major threat to public order; governors and teachers who question the new agenda are faced with threat of dismissal.

A group of around 80 concerned parents and representatives of advocacy groups met in north London on 12 October to hear a number of short presentations on these issues, and to discuss options for action in protecting children and preserving basic freedoms. We saw well-chosen video clips about the global drive for “Comprehensive Sexuality Education”  and the way in which this is being implemented through the now well-publicised programmes in UK schools such as “No Outsiders”.

Roger Kiska of Christian Legal Centre also spoke via video, summarising some key elements of RSE, how it is a vehicle for ideological influence which goes way beyond the statutory requirements of the Education Act, and how it undermines the rights of parents with conservative views by giving higher authority to the State in teaching ideology to their children.

Some of the talks and interviews were via live Skype link – a commendable achievement given that the local internet was down and a phone hotspot had to suffice. Mike Davidson of Core Issues Trust expressed concern that children are now being encouraged to develop identities of “gay” or “trans” at an early age, and that disapproval of any change of these identities later (for example by bans on “gay conversion therapy”) can leave people trapped. Dermot O’Callaghan shared some research to refute the narrative that “LGBT kids commit suicide because of homophobia”. Relationship breakdown and general mental health problems are a much more readily identifiable cause of self harm and suicide, and it is very alarming that the tragedy of suicide, always with complex causes, is being used as a weapon to promote an ideological agenda.

A number of speakers were present in person and shared from different perspectives. Amir Ahmed, a parent from Birmingham, gave a first hand report of the protests which began at Parkfield Primary and received worldwide attention. Behind his gentle manner is a courage and persistence which has enabled him to keep smiling and presenting the reasonable objections to the “No Outsiders” programme in the face of accusations of bigotry. He emphasised that the elites and lobby groups attempting to stamp out opposition to RSE often don’t understand why it is a form of indoctrination, and undermines parental rights and basic family values shared by millions of people, not just those with conservative religious faith. Amir shared practical tips for leafletting parents at the school gate, and this followed on from the update from Susan Mason on her “School Gate Campaign” which informs parents of what is actually being taught to children in RSE and why it is potentially damaging, gives detail on rights, and offers suggestions on how to approach school authorities for consultation, or protest if this is not heeded.

School principal Edmund Matyjazcek and SPUC’s Safe at School representative Tom Rogers gave further practical suggestions of how to engage with schools with concerns over RSE. While some schools are led by LGBT activists whose mission is to inculcate the new generation with radical progressive ideology on sex and gender, other school heads just want the minimum of fuss and are sometimes still open to polite, well-informed and continuous engagement from conservative parents, especially if they give options for lesson and assembly input which covers the bases but is not promoting an anti-Christian agenda. But this window is closing, and parents must take the lead at local level especially since most church leaders are reluctant to get involved.

Lisa Nolland, the main organiser of the conference, looked at some of the roots of the sexual revolution of which the new RSE is a fruit, referencing the pseudo-research of discredited paedophile Alfred Kinsey, for whom the sexualisation of children and the moral neutrality of all sexual expression were key values. Teaching which suggests to young children to think of themselves as ‘gay’ because they ‘love’ their best friend, promotes inappropriate sexualisation or encourages secondary children to experiment with sex without the protection of traditional boundaries, is potentially dangerous for mental and physical health.

There were a couple of presentations on transgenderism, including a testimony from a former ‘trans woman’ now living again as a man after prayer and counselling from Christians, and a detailed survey of the huge increase in referrals for transitioning among children from Lynda Rose of Voice for Justice. Perhaps the most powerful testimony of the day was by Dave Bratt, a parent of young children from Warrington, who has battled with his school over LGBT indoctrination. His attempts at reasonable engagement have been rebuffed; his church would not give him and his wife support. However he suggested that his lonely protest was having an effect: the rainbow flags and LGBT-affirming storybooks seem less in evidence than previously.

This was an excellent conference covering a lot of ground: what are the new RSE regulations; what is actually being taught and why is it harmful; where do these ideas come from and what’s the aim of those who promote it; how parents can overcome fear and practically influence schools even at this late stage when to do so requires courage, winsome persuasiveness, and the willingness to be bloody-minded and irritating if necessary. There would be differences among the participants on Saturday between those who believe the whole progressive agenda can be resisted and put to flight by a new political movement, and others who think that for the moment, any ‘victories’ will be local, temporary and unable to affect the wider progress of secular totalitarianism and the sexual revolution. But that’s a topic for another time.

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