Last week, after publication of our open letter, the Church of England issued its new Charter for schools delivering Relationships, Sex and Health Education.
The following is our response.
For the nation’s young, Relationships and Sex Education teaching in this country has been an unmitigated disaster.
Furthermore, according to research published this year by YouGov, 16% of UK teenagers now identify as bisexual. In 2015 the number was 2%. Stonewall have said that it’s great to see the increase in numbers since 2015. But they warn there’s still a lot to be done (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/03/young-people-far-likely-consider-bisexual-gay-new-data-reveals/).
What will the numbers be next year?
These statistics are the result of policies once designed to “protect” children. Yet now, according to repeated statements by the DfE – and confirmed by their recently reissued FAQs (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education-faqs) – the overriding aim is not protection, but the promotion and normalisation of LGBT behaviours and lifestyle choices, so that children may learn tolerance and acceptance in a diverse society, and be prepared for life in modern Britain. This is ideological indoctrination, which is already showing its effect.
It is this teaching and these values that the Church of England is enthusiastically supporting in its recently issued statement, Faith sensitive and inclusive Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education (RSHE) (https://www.churchofengland.org/more/education-and-schools/church-schools-and-academies/relationships-sex-and-health-education?utm_source=Church+of+England+press+releases&utm_campaign=053791dbf5-).
The Education Board further elaborates its position in a document attached, entitled Valuing all God’s children (https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2019-07/Valuing%20All%20God%27s%20Children%20July%202019_0.pdf), where it asserts its determination to challenge and stamp out all homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic (HBT) bullying. Using material supplied by the LGBT campaigning group Stonewall, the Board states, amongst other things, that 45% of lesbian, gay, bi and trans pupils are bullied at school for being LGBT, and that one in ten trans pupils are subjected to death threats. This, the report says, must end. “School leaders should present a clear message that HBT bullying will not be tolerated and that there can be no justification for this negative behaviour based on the Christian faith or the Bible.”
Shocking, if true. But according to a report published by the Government in 2018 (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment
_data/file/754959/Bullying_in_England_2013-2018.pdf), the main groups subjected to bullying are: those of a white ethnic origin, those with a long-term illness or disability, those who received extra help at school, those living in the most deprived areas, those who had truanted from school in the previous 12 months, those had been suspended or excluded from school in the previous 12 months, those living in one-adult households, those living in rented accommodation, and those living outside of London.
It will be noted there is no reference to HBT bullying at all – from which one may conclude that the number of reported cases are so numerically small as not to merit mention.
Nevertheless, the impression given by this advice from the Church of England is that HBT bullying is the main, or even exclusive, problem. “School leaders,” they state, “should present a clear message that HBT bullying will not be tolerated and that there can be no justification for this negative behaviour based on the Christian faith or the Bible.”
The approach of the Church of England is flawed.
Bullying is truly horrific. 72% of all children report being bullied at some point because of their appearance, and 40% report being bullied each week (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/feb/28/more-than-half-of-children-in-england-and-wales-bullied-about-appearance). Without question, bullying wrecks lives and every school should have an anti-bullying policy in place, where they teach pupils to treat each other with respect. But the focus on anti-bullying policies – designed almost exclusively to protect LGBT pupils, who at most account for only 4% of reported incidents – is misplaced and disproportionate. Similarly, the promotion of diversity in the Relationships, Sex and Health Education Guidance is ill-conceived. Both documents not just ignore children’s wider needs, but become in themselves justification for abuse.
If the people responsible for Church of England policy think that they are being faithful to God, they are deluding themselves. The truth is they have been beguiled by the propaganda of those seeking to promote an ideological agenda which rejects the teaching of the Bible and traditional morality and, as result, they are betraying their trust to be faithful shepherds of the people, charged with leading the flock into the ways of righteousness and truth. They are betraying their charge to care for, and nurture, children.
“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones … it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)