Thursday, December 12, 2019
Home News A dark day for free speech as judge bans parents’ LGBT protests

A dark day for free speech as judge bans parents’ LGBT protests

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IN ONE of the most repressive decisions of recent times, the High Court has banned any further demonstrations against pro-LGBT classes outside Anderton Park primary school in Birmingham. The reasoning Mr Justice Warby gave for this decision was that the protests had an adverse effect on pupils, residents and staff, pointing for evidence to 21 teachers being treated for ‘stress’.

His decision paves the way for the banning of all such protests outside schools, and sets an exploitable precedent for stifling any dissent. 

Let us be clear what just happened. A school, encouraged by its LGBT educational activist deputy head Andrew Moffat (who has chosen to work in a school in a largely Muslim community), adopts a relationships and equalities education programme with content not just contrary to Islamic and biblical faith but also to the values of any parents who do not wish the LGBT lobby to determine their child’s sex education. Unsurprisingly and understandably, parents have protested. You can read Belinda Brown’s account of their concerns and the purpose of the particular teaching programme here. 

The state, in the form of the city council and judiciary, have responded by banning their protests, on the grounds of teacher stress.  Since when has this, the stress of those whose actions are being protested against, counted as a reason in law to curtail the fundamental right to freedom of speech, assembly and peaceful protest? 

While teachers’ suffering needs to be compassionately addressed and fully understood (who knows how happy they are with the curriculum they are instructed to deliver?) this cannot be at the expense of prohibiting parents’ right to protest. On that basis, no protest would be allowed where it might upset someone. What protest could not be banned in the name of the sensitivities of doctors, nurses, bankers or MPs?

So much for the hard-won right to free speech, the defining feature of modern civilisation. This newly established ‘right not to be upset’ renders pointless the struggles of free speech champions such as Paine, Wilkes and Cobbett.

Birmingham City Council has claimed there were ‘escalating levels of anti-social behaviour’ at the protests. Yet the protesters themselves ensured social order by inviting police presence and their confirmation that the protests were lawful and peaceful, which they did. 

In arriving at his judgment, Mr Justice Warby, quite bizarrely and flying in the face of all evidence, claimed the ‘school does not promote homosexuality’. That is exactly what it is doing – the whole point of LGBT inclusive education is actively to sanction and encourage homosexual and other ‘lifestyle’ choices  as equally valid options. 

The former BBC News journalist Shelley Charlesworth’s account of the No Outsiders programme used at Anderton Park leaves little room for doubt that promoting homosexuality is exactly what they do: 

‘Three of the books in the LGBT strand . . . are firmly set in gay relationships or being a gay dad. The learning intention in King and King, a story about two kings who get married, for year 4s, states that it is to understand why people get married. The teaching notes however concentrate on same-sex marriage and learning what gay and lesbian means. The learning intention behind And Tango Makes Three in year 5 is to accept people who are different from me. The teaching notes emphasise gay couples. In the book two male penguins fall in love and want to hatch an egg. They do this and look after their chick together. This is another true though heavily anthropomorphised story. Teachers are advised to Google ‘gay animals in zoos’ to show their class. As with My Princess Boy, the use of a true story is used to drive home the message.’

The programme also heavily promotes transgenderism throughout. Brainwashing is not too strong a description, as Belinda Brown documents in TCW here. 

Anderton Park’s determination to impose this teaching agenda appears to have precluded constructive dialogue with the parents or any attempt to take their concerns on board. 

Yet the new RSE Guidance makes clear that ‘schools must consult parents in developing and reviewing their policy. Schools should ensure that the policy meets the needs of pupils and parents and reflects the community they serve’ (emphasis added).

It also says that ‘the religious background of all pupils must be taken into account when planning teaching, so that the topics that are included in the core content in this guidance are appropriately handled. Schools must ensure they comply with the relevant provisions of the Equality Act 2010, under which religion or belief are amongst the protected characteristics’.

Anderton Park appears to have failed on all counts, which is why parents are unhappy and protesting. Or rather were, until the heavy hand of the state came down on them.

Protests should never have been necessary. But the school’s refusal to engage with the parents or show sensitivity to their concerns shows exactly why the right to protest is essential – the necessary last resort to stop schools from trampling on parents’ rights over the education of their children.

November 26, 2019, will go down as a dark day for freedom in this country – the day an increasingly authoritarian state, seemingly in thrall to a powerful and intolerant LGBT lobby, prevented parents from standing outside their own children’s school to voice their discontent with what their children were being taught. 

With each passing day the truth becomes clearer: that in the future, no dissent will be tolerated.

A longer version of this article was published in Christian Today earlier this week

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Will Jones
Will Jones
Dr Will Jones is a maths graduate with a PhD in political philosophy and author of Evangelical Social Theology: Past and Present (Grove, 2017).He blogs at https://faith-and-politics.com/

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