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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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HomeNewsWorse than Qatar – Britain’s hounding of a Christian teacher

Worse than Qatar – Britain’s hounding of a Christian teacher

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THE treatment of LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell by the authorities in Qatar contrasts with the treatment of a Christian primary school teacher in England by a governing body, a local authority and a Church of England diocese.

Tatchell and a colleague protested outside the National Museum in Qatar against the World Cup host’s anti-homosexuality laws. They were held for 49 minutes by police and security services and told to get on their onward flight to Sydney. 

It is of course likely that a native Qatari would have been treated much more harshly for holding such a protest. But Tatchell got safely to Sydney where, judging from his Twitter feed, he seems to be enjoying the sunshine and is able to continue his human rights campaigning, which includes support for persecuted Christians.

The Christian teacher has lost her job and faces the threat of being banned from teaching for life. What did she do?

According to the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which is supporting the teacher, who cannot be named for legal reasons but is referred to as Hannah: ‘Ahead of the new term in September 2021, the school had implemented an extreme transgender policy after a primary school-aged child (Child X), who would be joining Hannah’s class, said they wished to change their gender.

‘The parents of Child X backed their decision and wanted no other children or parents in the school to know their real biological sex.

‘The policy appeared to allow any child at the school, without medical evidence, to be affirmed in whichever gender they choose.

‘Hannah said that in good conscience she did not think she could affirm the child through gender transition as she believed it would cause Child X serious long-term harm.

‘When she saw that the child was “seriously distressed” and had mental health issues, Hannah raised safeguarding concerns through all the usual procedures. But the school brushed her concerns aside, backed by the Stonewall-supporting local authority and the local Church of England diocese.’

After she took legal advice and shared her safeguarding concerns, the teacher was sacked this year for gross misconduct. She has also been reported to the Teacher Regulation Agency (TRA) and might never be allowed to work as a teacher again.

Last week a judge in Birmingham refused her a judicial review of the decision by the school’s governing body and the local authority. Mrs Justice Farbey said: ‘This court will not engage with any of the advantages or disadvantages of any education policy.’ The public was ‘divided on the issue of transgenderism in schools and there is no consensus on the approach’, she added.

The Church Times reported on Friday that it is a Church of England primary school involved in this case. The CofE educates around one million children in its 4,600 schools across England, funded by the State.

It is not difficult for the government to prevent appalling scandals like these from happening in schools. It simply has to put legislation before Parliament placing a legal requirement on local authorities and governing bodies to ensure that while children are at school they must conform to their biological sex in terms of uniform, which changing rooms and toilets they use and how they are addressed by teachers and pupils.

The Biological Sex Safeguarding Bill could also include:

·       A clear statement that challenging LGBT ideology and practices is not a crime;

·       Beefed-up employment protection for workers who challenge LGBT ideology and practices;

·       A clear requirement on companies and public bodies to provide secure single-sex spaces;

·       Strong criminal sanctions against individuals or groups that supply gender-transitioning drugs or equipment to under-18s.

Has this Conservative government led by Rishi Sunak the moral courage to do this for the public benefit? How many Conservative MPs would join neo-Marxist Labour, Lib-Dem and Scottish Nationalist MPs in voting against such a Bill?

That would remain to be seen. But the Book of Common Prayer Collect for today, the 20th Sunday after Trinity, faces up to the reality of human vulnerability in a fallen world. Therefore, should not Christians praying this Collect be mindful of vulnerable children in British schools, especially CofE ones, facing spiritual and bodily harm from aggressive trans-activism?

‘O Almighty and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou wouldest have done; through Jesus Christ our Lord.’

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Julian Mann
Julian Mann
Julian Mann is a former Church of England vicar, now an evangelical journalist based in Heysham, Lancashire.

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