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Christians unequal in the eyes of the law


KRISTIE Higgs was a pastoral assistant at Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire. Pastoral assistants are poorly paid and low on the educational totem pole, but without them our school system would be even worse than it already is. Kristie’s work was to provide emotional support and care for the most needy and troubled students in the 1,000-pupil secondary school. She was dedicated to her job and had carried it out without any complaint against her for seven years.

That was until she learned about the ‘No Outsiders’ programme, which was discussed by Paul T Horgan in TCW yesterday, being included in the curriculum of her son’s Church of England primary school. Created by gay assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat in 2014 to promote tolerance of sexual minorities, ‘No Outsiders’ teaches the ins and outs of same-sex families, inclusivity, and diversity to children as young as five. Andrew Moffat MBE is currently shortlisted for the million-dollar World’s Best Teacher award.

Kristie Higgs invited her Facebook followers to join in signing a popular petition issued by Voice for Justice UK against making the programme compulsory in primary schools and withdrawing parents’ right to object. She also made it clear that she was uncomfortable with the content of a couple of books on sex education in regular use.

A solitary anonymous complainant, whose child attends Farmor’s School, wrote to the school alleging Kristie had been ‘posting homophobic and prejudiced views against the LGBT community on Facebook’.

Kristie finds the accusation that she would discriminate against such pupils deeply offensive. ‘I loved my job and I loved the children that I cared for,’ she said. ‘It wasn’t just kids who were in trouble, I also helped children who were gay or changing gender. When they came to my office I opened my arms to them and treated them like any other young people. I never discriminated against them and never would.’

Upon receiving the anonymous complaint the school immediately suspended Kristie. After a gruelling investigation and disciplinary hearing she was sacked. She has launched a claim for wrongful dismissal for illegal discrimination on the grounds of her religious beliefs. The Christian Legal Centre, a campaign group that defends Christians’ rights, has agreed to help Kristie.

It was a very different story elsewhere in England, where ‘No Outsiders’ was also on the curriculum of Parkfield community school in Saltley, Birmingham.

When Muslim parents learned of the LGBT+ indoctrination of their primary school children they protested, loud and long. Books were given to children as young as four including stories about a boy who wants to wear a dress and one about a red crayon that discovers it is really blue.

Homosexuality is not sanctioned by Islam, and Muslims don’t want their children taught that it’s acceptable. At one protest they held signs that read ‘Say no to promoting of homosexuality and LGBT ways of life to our children’, ‘Stop exploiting children’s innocence’, and ‘Education not indoctrination’. The parents’ protests included pulling more than 600 Muslim children from lessons, and were highly effective.

The lessons were stopped.

Why the different response? The immediate reaction is to say it is all about politics. The UK’s political parties are assiduous in courting the Muslim vote. Since all mainstream parties are now superglued to a progressive politically correct agenda, it is no longer seen as worth the effort of listening to evangelical Christians.

Christians tend not to demonstrate vociferously en masse, and it is easier to pick off a single Christian posting on Facebook than to resist hundreds of Muslim parents demonstrating at the school gates.

But it is only partially about politics; the differing responses to the complaints of a Christian and Muslims touches the heart of contemporary thinking. To grasp why it matters when an ethnic minority takes issue with an otherwise politically acceptable social agenda it is listened to, but the same complaint can be punished when a British woman utters it, we must look to the driving moral standard of our time: moral relativism, which is actually immoral.

Moral relativism is the idea that there is no objective, moral truth. Each individual’s, or group’s, perspective on right and wrong is said to be right and wrong for them. There is no objective reason to prefer one set of moral guidelines over any other. It is not the moral perspective that matters here, otherwise the lessons would have stopped when evangelical Christians raised their voices in protest, but the identity of the group raising its voice which matters.

In this case we have one group, evangelical Christians, being told that their view is unacceptable and should be shunned; one school governor even likened Kirstie’s posts to those of a pro-Nazi, far-Right extremist. Another group, Muslims, holding the same view were told that their view is acceptable and that the entire school will go along with it.

Identity trumps morality. The morals themselves are irrelevant. It is the moral perspective of the most oppressed identity group which wins the day. It is only the identity of holder of the view, and his right to hold any view he chooses, that is relevant.

Because of perceived prejudice in the past, greater value is placed on views which are historically under-represented than views within the majority community. This means that a lower value is placed on the foundational moral principles of the dominant Western culture which through centuries of struggle has created the free, equal society we know today.

To hold the dominant Western culture to one set of standards, and at the same time hold a culture that opposes the foundational views of Western culture to a different and lower set of standards, is not only destructive of social cohesion but leaves us with no basis upon which to uphold those standards essential for free life in a democracy.

The West must hold fast to the standards of individual freedom, not group identity, as a driving factor for law-making and social interaction.

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Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack
Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack
Campbell is a retired Presbyterian minister who lives in Stirlingshire. He blogs at A Grain of Sand.

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