Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, is in the process of ordering faith schools to promote values of tolerance and respect for differing religions and for lesbian, gay and, transgender relationships. Failure to do so could lead to a school ‘failing’ an Ofsted inspection and, even, closure. She has told The Sunday Times ”that schools should broaden horizons not close minds”. “These values,” she claims, “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs — are not new. The requirement to ‘actively promote’ them is designed to reinforce the importance this Government attaches to these values.”
The 2010 Equality Act already prohibits discrimination in schools and elsewhere on the grounds of “religion, belief or lack of religion/belief” and on the grounds of “sex” or “sexual orientation”. Why, then, has the Education Secretary decided to go further? Protecting beliefs and orientations is something very different from promoting them in this coercive way.
The giddy vanity of attaining high political office seems to have robbed Nicky Morgan of good sense. Can she not see the dangers and inherent contradictions of this reckless adventure into the outer reaches of political correctness? The requirement to “actively promote” tolerance of other faiths and lifestyles is going to cause some real problems. Its effect will be to heighten intolerance. Same sex marriage, for example, is unacceptable to a number of religions. How are faith schools of this persuasion supposed to respond to the new rules? How tolerant is it to punish sincerely held religious conviction?
Nicky Morgan’s answer, it seems, is that we need to promote tolerance of beliefs and ideas even if we strongly disapprove of them. So where does that leave us? Will schools have to promote tolerance of the beliefs and actions of ISIS or Boko Haram in the cause of the new tolerance agenda put together by a coven of liberal fascists at the Department for Education?
Tolerance of and, indeed, empathy for, terrorism has already featured in many classrooms. One widely-used teacher website states: “…Terrorism…fills the news…it is interpreted for us by politicians…Yet the reasons for terrorism, the roots of the violence and a historical perspective are not easy for young people to find…On this area of the website you will find various kinds of material intended to help you and your students tackle this topic.” Link such teaching ‘support’ to Nicky Morgan’s new policy and we have a green light for ‘tolerating’ and promoting of all kinds of extremism in schools.
Back in 2000, a Conservative schools minister, the late Baroness Blatch, made a speech in the House of Lords in which she recalled that she had, “visited a school…where I was told that they taught all subjects through prejudice, racism, gender and conflict. She added that, “to teach all subjects through those themes seemed to be almost a criminal activity on the children.”
How alarming that Nicky Morgan has not learnt from the insight of her predecessor into the ‘tolerance’ agenda! Instead, she is allowing the politically correct Pied Pipers of the educational establishment, the Blob, to lead her and our children into an ideological abyss.