AS A curate in the mid-1990s I used regularly to teach the Bible to the children at the Church of England primary school in the parish. I could not have imagined then that the spectre of Stalin would one day stalk the classrooms of church schools.
But it is now, because the silencing of the Revd John Parker at a ‘transgender training session’ at the CofE primary school in rural Essex where he was a governor, was rehashed Stalinism. It was the kind of ideological going-over Christian pastors and teachers in Poland experienced from the Soviet commissars who overran the eastern part of their country at the beginning of World War Two after Stalin cut his sleazy deal with Hitler.
In April an instructor from the transgender lobby group Mermaids held a training session for teachers and governors. At the end Mr Parker, an Oxford University biology graduate, attempted to challenge the scientific errors in the presentation.
Mr Parker had had the wit to record the session and so the Mail on Sunday was able accurately to report what happened:
‘After gently requesting if he could pass on some literature to staff which contained “alternative” factual information, he received the sharp reply from the head teacher, “No, I don’t think so, John. It’s training today, it’s not time to share your viewpoints.” When he tried to defend himself by saying that it was not an opinion he wanted to share but scientific facts, he was again abruptly cut off by the head teacher. The Mermaids instructor barked, “My job is to deliver training. I have done that. I don’t have to listen.” The vicar was so shaken by the tense exchange that he broke down in tears afterwards.’
Two ugly Stalinist features are evident in the treatment of Mr Parker by these commissars of political correctness. First, there was the total disrespect for knowledge and learning when it does not serve the party line. Mr Parker is knowledgeable but he was not allowed to share his knowledge because it challenged the revolutionary dogma.
The second Stalinist feature was the bullying. Mr Parker, a governor of the school, was treated as an anti-social counter-revolutionary and silenced.
Both features are deplorable in any school, especially in a church school, where learning should be cherished and bullying opposed.
The LGBT propaganda session was totally supported by the education department of the Diocese of Chelmsford. If a future historian were to chronicle the destruction of British democracy, Mr Parker’s letter of resignation as a Church of England vicar to the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, would be an important historical document:
‘This decision has finally been confirmed by recent events at a primary school in this parish in which the transgender activist group “Mermaids” was invited . . . Christian governors, including me, seeking to bring a Christian perspective were told that the legal advice of the Local Authority and the advice of the Diocese enabled no consideration of the protected characteristics of Christian children nor their parents, nor any other faith or philosophical position, in the school. Not their human rights; not those of their parents; and certainly not the views of Christian governors were permitted to influence policy or procedure . . . I remain a committed and believing servant of Jesus Christ, an Anglican minister and am waiting on the Lord for his direction into ministry that grows his kingdom, for his praise and glory.’