The air is full of feathers »« Just what the schools need

A duty to raise a new generation of bigots

Simply revolting.

The Roman Catholic church has written to every state-funded Catholic secondary school in England and Wales asking them to encourage pupils to sign a petition against gay marriage…The Catholic Education Service, which acts for Catholic bishops in England and Wales, contacted 385 secondary schools to highlight a letter read in parish churches last month, in which two archbishops told worshippers that Catholics have a “duty to do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations”.

The CES also asked schools to draw pupils’ attention to the petition being organised by the Coalition for Marriage, a Christian campaign which has attracted more than 466,000 signatures to date.

This is in state schools, remember. Paid for by tax payers. Not private, church schools, paid for by people who attend the churches and want to pay for church schools, but public, state schools, paid for by people in general, including non-believers, Muslims, Hindus, Protestants, Catholics who prefer secular education - the large majority, in fact. State schools are being encouraged by a church to teach churchy bigotry and deprivation of rights.

A pupil at St Philomena’s Catholic high school for girls in Carshalton, in the south London borough of Sutton, told the website PinkNews.co.uk that children aged 11 to 18 had been encouraged to sign the anti-equality pledge by their headteacher.

She said: “In our assembly for the whole sixth form you could feel people bristling as she explained parts of the letter and encouraged us to sign the petition. It was just a really outdated, misjudged and heavily biased presentation.”

She said some pupils had responded by buying Gay Pride badges to pin to their uniforms. “There are several people in my year who aren’t heterosexual – myself included – and I for one was appalled and actually disgusted by what they were encouraging,” she said. “After all, that’s discrimination they were urging impressionable people to engage in, which is unacceptable.”

Well that’s my kind of pupil. Kids today – they’re so impressive!

A CES spokeswoman said: “We said that schools might like to consider using this [letter] in assemblies or in class teaching. We said people might want to consider asking pupils and parents if they might want to sign the petition. It’s really important that no school discriminates against any member of the school community.

“Schools with a religious character are allowed to teach sex and relationships – and conduct assemblies – in accordance with the religious views of the school. The Catholic view of marriage is not a political view; it’s a religious view.”

Oh you cowardly smoke-blowing shit. “Might like to consider.” “Might want to consider asking if they might want to.” And then pretending to care about discrimination! And talking about “any member of the school community” as if using the correct formula nullifies the teaching of bigotry and deprivation of rights. And then the stinking gall of saying the Catholic view of marriage is not a political view. The hell it’s not! It’s all about power and control. The CES spokeswoman, being a woman, is a damn fool if she can’t see that. Her male bosses are just evil.

 

Comments

  1. sunny says

    Well that’s my kind of pupil. Kids today – they’re so impressive!

    This is precisely why the Church is concerned. It is remarkable that the official guardian of morality does not shy away from duplicity in words and in deeds. I suppose the ends justify the means.

  2. says

    The Catholic view of marriage is not a political view; it’s a religious view.

    Glad you cleared that up for me! So we can both agree, then, that gay marriage should be legal as long as religions are permitted to be displeased?

    That seems like a win/win.

  3. DaveL says

    The Catholic view of marriage is not a political view; it’s a religious view.

    Oh really? Then whom is the petition directed at, Jesus himself?

  4. mnb0 says

    Disgusting. I now fully understand why my grandfather hated the RCC so much – 60 years ago.

  5. rikitiki says

    “…ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations”. (emphasis mine).

    So…such “true” meaning already has been lost to future generations. After all, according to their book, the “true” meaning of marriage is one-man-and-multiple-women. After all, Soloman had, what? 700 wives and 300 concubines (according to the bible). Oh, and the church would have to also allow the clergy to marry – just like their book says.

  6. Rudi says

    I live a 10-minute walk from this school.

    I am off work tomorrow.

    These facts are not unrelated.

  7. 'Tis Himself says

    Why do a bunch of male, professional virgins think they have anything to say about marriage? As the eminent Catholic theologian and apologist, Fr. Guido Sarducci, put it so well: “You no playa the game, you no maka the rules.”

  8. Robert B. says

    Any opinion on what groups of people should do is political. If you have any opinion on marriage, marriage in general, that’s political. It may also be religious, it’s not like the two never overlap.

    Sometimes the idea of separation of church and state stops making sense to me. Politics is basically just ethics on a large scale, and religions are organizations with strong positions on ethics. How, again, do we expect to keep them separate? How do we think that religions will be able, let alone willing, to comply with that separation? The whole thing smacks of compromise, of diplomatic fiction, a lie we pretend to believe in so we can stop killing each other. Does anyone actually believe in separation of church and state, or do we just say we do because it helps us spread our own understanding of the truth?

    Mental exercise: imagine it was somehow proved to you that your position on religion is incorrect, that some philosophy you disagree with (Islam? Wicca? Southern Baptism? Shinto?) was demonstrably correct about how the universe works. Would that change your political opinions? Wouldn’t it have to? (If only in that we need to organize and resist this evil tyrant-god(s) that have been suddenly shown to exist.) And if it does, how can we pretend that religion and politics are separable?

  9. mikee says

    Damn, I’m impressed with these students standing up to the bigots.

    This reminds me of 25 or so years ago when homosexual law reform was being passed in New Zealand. I went to an all boys Catholic school and a petition opposing law reform went around the school and used strong peer pressure to get pupils to sign it. Not to mention that any student of any age was encouraged to sign the petition. I thought legally petitions required those signing it to be of a certain age.

  10. David Hart says

    Robert B: If some religion such as Shinto or Islam were to be proven demonstrably correct about how the universe works, then it wouldn’t really be a religion any more; it would simply become part of the rational worldview. The point of church-state separation is that people should not be inserting their unproven and unproveable supernatural beliefs into the laws that govern the whole of society including those who do not share those supernatural beliefs.

    Of course those who follow a particular religion may well vote for people whose policies happen to be in line with what their faith implies is the right course of action, but the line is drawn where the state is seen to actively endorse the religious beliefs themselves. For example, you may think that gay marriage is a bad idea, that it will somehow undermine straight marriage and result in children being raised suboptimally – you’re entitled to make the case if you are in public office. You are not entitled to have politicians endorse a ban on gay marriage because God doesn’t like it.

    So, yes, it can be hard to draw the line, but the line is real.

  11. ash says

    mikee says:

    “Damn, I’m impressed with these students standing up to the bigots.”

    Yep. And we’re gonna see lots more of it. It’s grown into a formidable meme with no signs of slowing.

    It’s funny in one way though. Kids that age are already begining to be skeptical of adults. Adults are assumed to stink until proven otherwise. Like my school principal in the late 80s who told us at assembly that “cheating isn’t hip”

    PS nor was it groovy or the bees knees but we hadn’t the heart to tell him

  12. Boomer says

    Canada has had gay marriage for a number of years now, yet hardly anyone, apart from a handful of queers in their late 50s and 60s, have availed themselves of this right.

    It is the purvey of Professional Gays, to judge from all the evidence.

    Also, people here invoke both politics and religion when appraoching this issue. However, there’s another approach that could be called civilisational. What happens to your society in the long run if the definition of marriage is expanded?

    What, for example, will Pink News say when Islamists in Britian, Islamists who call for the death of gays, invoke the expanded definition of marriage that includes gays as justification for expanding the definition even further to include a union between one man and several women?

    With the fast-changing demographics, that scenario is all but inevitable, and when it comes about, it will constitute a severe blow to both the rights AND the overall social status of women.

    Many of these progressive, beguiling initiatives end up having very unpleasasnt and unexpected consequences.

    Some years back, I decided I wasn’t going to brandish my homosexuality as a civilisational pathology. I adopted the position wherein I’d no longer allow my same-sex attraction to be used by unelected activists as a destructive tool to chip away at elements of my civilisation that, were they to disapear, would diminish my value, my overall rights and my personnal security.

    YOu know, many progressive causes have now become negative-sum games for many individuals.

    Some flowers, despite how colourful, fragrant, beautiful and beguiling they appear, are actually carnivorous and end up consuming the insects they attract.

    So is Pink News’ latest flower offering up nourishing nectar or corrosive digestive juices?

    This whole question really isn’t about Catholic theology, you know.

  13. Robert B. says

    @ David Hart: Yeah, but c’mon. Nobody actually opposes gay marriage based on secular reasoning. Sometimes a politician will talk that way, giving what purports to be a non-religious argument, and the voters pretend to accept it on those grounds. But everyone knows the real reason is, as you say, “God doesn’t like it.” In American politics, words like “tradition” and “values” are straight-out code words – they don’t actually mean anything most of the time except “I am talking about religion now even though I don’t explicitly say so, nudge nudge wink wink.”

    Remember, everyone believes their own position is true. Rick Santorum actually believes that gay marriage is evil and will make people go to hell. He believes this with the same confidence that we believe in the rational worldview – or maybe he thinks his religion is actually part of the rational worldview. Would we really ever expect him to condone what he thinks are evil acts and horrible consequences, just because his justification is unconstitutional?

    If you were a politician in a country where “separation of science and state” was enforced in the constitution, would you say “oh, well,” ignore everything you know about science, and push for irrational, harmful policies? Or would you lie, and invent whatever theology or superstition you could think of to get people to do the right thing? (Assume that you can’t get the constitution changed or reinterpreted.)

  14. Robert B. says

    Okay, it looks like Boomer opposes (or is at least dubious about) gay marriage based on secular reasoning. But I don’t think he’s representative.

  15. says

    Yes, Rick Santorum believes that, but he has no good reasons to believe it. There is no chain of reasoning behind it. He just takes it as written that he knows what “God” wants. Nobody knows what “God” wants, or if we should pay any attention to what “God” wants in any case.

    Part – in fact most – of why this is so hard to thrash out publicly is that politicians in the US are not about to say what I just said.

  16. says

    In other words, pious deference toward religion as such makes it impossible to get rid of religious dogma and authoritarianism in politics.

    That’s a major reason the Evil New Atheists are so keen to break down the pious deference.

  17. says

    Boomer’s anti-gay-marriage arguments may be secular, but they’re silly and small-minded above all else. I’ve never quite understood the O NOEZ ISLAMIC POLYGAMY slippery-slope gambit myself (apart from the transparently pandering OMG MOOZLIMZ angle). The “reasoning” seems to go something like:
    1. Defining marriage as one man and one woman has objective meaning.
    2. If anything other than (1), then marriage is totally subjective.
    3. Gay marriage is not (1).
    4. Therefore, if we allow gay marriage, we have to allow any and all combinations of married humans.

    The obvious failure, of course, is that marriage between two men or two women speaks not at all to the essential quality of polygamy — more than two participants. Polygamist marriage probably ought to be permitted but not by this sort of simplistically fallacious reasoning.

    The rest of the rant is merely content-poor scolding based on Boomer’s apparent prescience about how the “Professional Gays” are not being careful what they wish for, or something.

  18. Robert B. says

    I totally agree, Ophelia. I’m an Evil New Atheist, too. Let’s kick that pious deference’s ass. Let’s discredit religion so thoroughly that no one who wants to be taken seriously will admit to religious motivations even in code. Let’s deconvert the world by fiery rhetoric and sweet reason.

    But until we do, church and state can’t be separate. As long as religion affects what people think is right and wrong, religion is in our politics, justifyin our laws. It can’t not be. The diplomatic fiction of separation is useful – it really does help minimize the damage. But that’s all it is – a fiction.

  19. says

    quoth Boomer: Canada has had gay marriage for a number of years now, yet hardly anyone, apart from a handful of queers in their late 50s and 60s, have availed themselves of this right.

    The reasons to marry at all are getting less important in Canadian society. However, if opposite-sex couples can marry, it’s only fair to give same-sex couples the same opportunity. I’m not fundamentally opposed to polyamory either, and I don’t see why allowing polyamorous marriage necessarily opens the door to abuse of women by Muslims, any more than monogamous marriage should be blamed for abuse of women by fundamentalist Christians (case in point: the Quiverful movement).

    [By the way, I know the plural of anecdote is not data, but of the gay couples I know personally, one is in their 20s, and one in their 40s.)

  20. Boomer says

    I’ve never quite understood the O NOEZ ISLAMIC POLYGAMY slippery-slope gambit myself (apart from the transparently pandering OMG MOOZLIMZ angle).

    I didn’t either, at least, that is, until I got older.

    And I love your insouciant attitude towards a ‘faith’ that kills gays.

    And as for the scary MOOZLIMZ angle ( may I assume you’re being sarcastic?) consult Ophelia’s posting a couple months back about Mosqueterias in Toronto’s “secular” public school systeme.

    Less than 10 years ago the schoolboards in the region decided to eliminate The Lord’s Prayer, a prayer that takes all of three-quarters of a mintue to recite because they felt it would traumatise the children, especally those who weren’t Christian.

    Such a beguiling intiative! What could possible go wrong?

    A few years later, those same concerned ‘secularists’ gave the green light to Friday Mosques in school cafeterias where there’s an entire prayer service lasting three-quarters of an hour.

    Being a dedicated and sincere secularist means more than just engaging in a bit of facile anti-christian rhetoric.

    There is some evidence to suggest, although no thoroughly irrefutable proof as of yet, that some of the Muslims pushing for the elimination of that prayer were behind the push for Friday mosques on school property.

    When we had this marriage debate in Canada, numerous Chrsitain denominations camejs out against it, as did some Jewish groups.

    Absent from the anti-gay marriage movement, and this in spite of the fact their ‘faith’ calls for the murder of queers, were the various muslim adovcacy groups, MB fronts to the last.

    Can you understand that THEY understood that redefining the insitution would creat a chinque in the armor, something they could subsequently exploit in an effort to shoe-horn polygamous marriages into the country’s criminal code?

    In the greater Toronto area there are now as many or more polygamous marriages than there are gay unions.

    The authorities won’t take them on, and the islamists are there, ready to brandish the gay marriage banner a constituency whose members they’d kill, as justification for their charming misogynistic practices.

    Petard/hoist?

  21. says

    1) I don’t know about recent regulations in Toronto, but here in Ottawa, the Lord’s Prayer has been absent from public schools for at least 25 years.

    2) Perhaps Boomer’s experience differs, but as a Jewish child in Toronto in the 1960s, I did find the morning bible reading (usually from the NT), singing of Christian hymns, and recital of the Lord’s Prayer confusing and upsetting, difficult to deal with, and an occasion for teasing/bullying from schoolmates.

    3) Secularist organizations such as the Canadian Secular Alliance, and the Centre for Inquiry have consistently opposed Muslim prayer in schools as well as the Ontario Catholic school system, city council prayers in various places etc.

    4) The group that came out in favour of the legalization of same sex marriage in Canada was the Muslim Canadian Congress. They are well known for their liberal views, and their position was strongly condemned by more religious Muslim factions. The Muslim Canadian Congress has also publicly opposed the “mosqueteria” (http://www.torontosun.com/2011/07/05/muslim-group-wants-prayer-in-public-school-stopped)

    5) I have yet to be convinced that legally prohibiting polygamy prevents abuse of women in marriage. Lots of monogamous marriages are abusive and demeaning to women.

  22. says

    @Boomer #23

    Let’s be clear here — my flippancy is not towards Islam or Muslims but toward your predictable use of the Scary Muslim Polygamy Story as The Thing We All Should Be Worried About. Not Mormons or some other less terroristy group who also happen to have a history of misogynist poly-marriage.

    Thing is, the polygyny-minded Muslims, and whomever else, who are allegedly agitating in Canada under the aegis of gays-get-to-so-why-not-us are already cultural misogynists. They’re not going to benefit much paternalistically from institutional polygamy, at least from the standpoint of oppressing women via marriage.

    What you’re engaging in here is a baby-bathwater scenario of the first order. I’m simply not going to kowtow to those of you who’ve already deemed as unsalvageable those practices in which many people can engage fairly and with consent but which certain religious asshats are already abusing without government recognition. I’m not going to tell Janet, Chrissy, and Jack that they can’t set up their child rearing and power-of-attorney however they want because Brigham Young VI wants to marry 12-year-old triplets. I’m going to demand that the authorities find a way to prevent the actual abuses, and if they can’t, I’m going to demand new authorities.

    And I’m sure as hell not going to allow any of that to preempt same-sex marriage.

  23. says

    Boomer: I think we are in agreement about many things, however, I think we disagree on the idea that by fighting against Christian patriarchy one is supporting Muslim patriarchy.

    My point about the Muslim Canadian Congress was in response to your statement about the character and motives of Islamic groups that supported gay marriage. As I said, and you confirm, the MCC is not the norm, and has been consistently condemned by conservative and fundamentalist Muslim groups, for this and many other of their positions. But they are the only Muslim group I could find who supported equal marriage, so I am curious to know which Muslim groups support both same-sex marriage and mosqueterias?

    Absolutely, the Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, atheist, etc, kids are threatened by having schoolboard sanctioned Islamic events. They are not threatened by the Christian events *any more* since these don’t happen (except, of course, in the Ontario publicly funded ROMAN CATHOLIC elementary and high schools). I completely agree that the powers-that-be have become excessive in their deferral to Muslims in public spaces. I think one major issue is that Ontario has entrenched deferral to Catholicism by publicly funding Catholic schools, and as long as deferral to Catholicism is acceptable, it weakens arguments against granting special rights to other religions.

    What we need is a consistent position of *public secularism*. That means no benefits (or penalties) for religious practices. No forcing people to swear an oath to God in order to become Canadian citizens. No special exceptions for allowing public schools to include Islamic prayer rooms OR Catholic chapels. No bans on religious dress in public spaces (except for health and safety reasons), but no special exceptions either. Public secularism is the only viable alternative to theocracy – we need to figure out how to get religious people to understand that since *their* theocracy is unlikely to be the one in power, secularism is the better alternative. (One of the main obstacles to this is the idea that many slightly religious or even non-religious people have that faith and its practices have some sort of inherent value.)

  24. Joe P says

    Hopefully now that Pope Francis has been speaking more positively towards the gay community things like this will end.

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