Thursday, 9 May 2013

Letter From France (About the Madness of Unbelief) Part II

The fight against gender stereotypes and parental rights: the case in France and other European countries

April 23, 2013
by Grégor Puppinck, Ph.D
Reprinted from Turtle Bay

[In Part I, Dr Puppinck exposed a new "project" about to be introduced in French schools.  This will require the removal of all "gender sterotyping" and an active positive programme to socialise children into believing that there are no distinct male and female roles in parenting and families.  Having two fathers and a "carrier" mother will be framed as normal.  In Part II, below, Dr Puppinck reviews similar initiatives in other European countries--and the outcomes.]

That which French parents now face has already been successfully confronted by Spanish parents.  On the other hand, in Germany, parents have preferred to go immediately to jail (that is; with no opportunity to receive a suspended sentence) rather than send their children to sex education classes.  In Russia, the situation is different, where regional Governments, on the demand of families, have adopted laws which are intended to protect children against LGBT propaganda, but they are faced with strong pressure from European Institutions and lobbies.

Mr Peillon’s proposal is very similar to the “Education for Citizenship” courses created and imposed by the former Spanish Government of Mr Zapatero.  This was a project to teach a secular, fairly anti-religious, morality with a strong insistence on gender equality and infantile sexuality (see this presentation video).  The objective of this compulsory and graded class from primary school onwards was to “construct the moral conscience” of children, to develop their “personal identity” and their “emotional and affective education”.

An important part of Spanish society rejected this course.
  The People’s Party, the main right-wing party, as well as the Spanish Episcopal Conference, denounced it.  The three bishops of Madrid declared it morally acceptable to employ all legitimate methods of defending the freedom of conscience, including conscientious objection[7].  Very quickly, 55,000 families declared themselves “conscientious objectors” and refused to allow their children to participate in these classes.

The parents formed more than 70 local and regional associations to support the objectors and fight against these classes.  Numerous parents were pursued by the authorities and almost 2,300 judicial procedures were initiated.  In nearly nine cases out of ten, in 2007 and 2008, local and regional tribunals condemned the Government for infringing on the rights of the parents.  The parents, however, failed in their attempts to have their fundamental right to oppose this education recognised by the Spanish Supreme Court, although it did acknowledge the existence of a risk of indoctrination.

On 19th March 2010, 305 parents appealed to the European Court of Human Rights[8] (with the help of the ECLJ) on the grounds that the European Convention on Human Rights provides that “in the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions” (First Additional Protocol, Article 2).

The European Court has not yet made a decision.  It should judge whether or not the course of Education for Citizenship pursues “an aim of indoctrination that might be considered as not respecting parents’ religious and philosophical convictions[9] and verify “that information or knowledge included in the curriculum is conveyed in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner, enabling pupils to develop a critical mind with regard to religion in a calm atmosphere which is free of any misplaced proselytism[10].  It is not suggested that the Court will condemn Spain.

However, following the popular mobilisation, the new, right-wing Government of Mariano Rajoy declared on its election its intention to reform this course, which it has begun to do.

Parents have chosen immediate prison sentences rather than allowing their children to attend sex education classes.  The curriculum of these classes, compulsory in all private and public primary schools, varies according to the Länder the school is in.  In many regions parents have asked that their children, aged between 7 and 9 years old, be dismissed from these classes, the content of which they have consulted beforehand.  On the refusal of the school, certain parents have taken further action and have been fined for keeping their children at home.  In refusing to pay these fines due to their conscientious objection, which they consider a violation of their parental rights, the parents have then been sentenced to 43 days in prison.  This is and has been the case for many families in Salzkotten, in the Rhineland.  Some parents with more than one child have completed several such jail terms.

These parents appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that Germanycould force the parents to send their children to these classes with the goal of “integrating minorities and avoiding the formation of religiously or ideologically motivated “parallel societies””.  Concerning the teaching of the theory of gender to children, the Court decided, in agreement with the German Government, that “sexual education should encourage tolerance between human beings irrespective of their sexual orientation and identity[11].

In other instances, the European Court has supported the condemnation of parents who have refused to allow their children to participate in compulsory courses of secular morality[12], but inversely has judged that the obligatory character of courses on religious culture violates the rights of humanist parents[13].

In Russia, in response to the demand of family associations and the Orthodox Church, an increasing number of regions, nine to date including Saint Petersburgand Kaliningrad[14], have adopted laws intended to protect children from “homosexual propaganda”.  These laws, the first of which was adopted in 2006 following homosexual demonstrations which shocked the population, are designed to protect children from messages presenting LGBT practices in an aggressive and favourable manner, or as being equivalent to marital relationships[15].

On 25th January 2013, the Russian Parliament, the Duma, almost unanimously adopted at first reading a law proposal extending this prohibition to the entirety of the Russian Federation.  The Government is acting in the name of its responsibility to “protect children from information which puts their health and moral and spiritual welfare in danger”[16], notably those likely to undermine family values.  These laws are not an isolated phenomenon: “gay prides” are often forbidden, and Russia has announced that it will not allow Russian children to be the subject of international adoption by couples of the same sex.

Through the debate on school, marriage and the family, the nature and structure of society is being called into question: marriage, school and family are interdependent and largely define society.  It must be recognised that this debate pits ordinary people, the populace, against a so-called “enlightened elite” whose social projects – like the theory of gender – is difficult for the uninitiated to understand.  The debate taking place is also at the centre of international institutions which, more so than national institutions, knowingly exercise the responsibility to define and create tomorrow’s society.  The European Court defines itself as “The Conscience of Europe”[17].

Russia has been strongly criticised on many occasions by the European Union (Brussels) and the Council of Europe (Strasbourg).  The European Parliament, Mrs Ashton, who represents European diplomacy, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe have all condemned the Russian laws prohibiting “homosexual propaganda around minors”.  LGBT organisations are very actively leading the campaign.  The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has expressed its “deep concern”[18] and has urged Russia to begin conforming to the opinion of the “Commission of Venice”[19].  The objective of this pressure is to avoid the project of federal law being definitively adopted by the Duma at the second reading in May.

The European institutions affirm that these Russian laws violate human rights when they envisage the protection of the family, of morals, and of the health of children, and bring no general attack on the freedom of expression, or on the private lives of homosexuals.  Russian Family NGO’s have responded to pro-LGBT international NGO’s[20].  The Russians have few chances of being heard on this subject, which has acquired considerable importance in the political priorities of European and American institutions; nevertheless, they have the capacity to resist the pressure currently being put upon them.

The promotion of the theory of gender is not limited to schools and education.  In reality, the question is much larger.  The rights of parents are clashing with the general policy of non-discrimination according to sexual orientation, in which the promotion of the theory of gender is inscribed. The problem which has arisen in relation to education has similarly arisen in relation to the rest of society.  In this regard, numerous people have already been sanctioned due to their moral refusal of homosexuality.

England is an exemplary case: since the adoption of a law in 2010 on equality and non-discrimination, sanctions and condemnations have multiplied[21].  For example, a couple were refused permission to be a host family due to their views on homosexuality; a doctor was forced to leave his position in social services after abstaining from taking part in the decision to give children to same-sex couples; Catholic adoption agencies have had to end their activities due to their refusal to give children to same sex couples[22]; a civil service Registrar and a marriage counsellor have been dismissed after having expressed their incapacity, in conscience, to give sexual counsel to a homosexual couple and to celebrate their civil union.

The European Court has not held these dismissals to be abusive[23].  This was also the case in Spain where a magistrate who asked for a medical examination in order to determine whether it was in the interests of a child to be adopted its mother’s companion, was suspended for ten years as such an examination would have constituted a delaying tactic and a homophobic act[24].

These are only a few examples of a phenomenon that strongly risks being generalised, in particular if the European Union adopts the “Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation”.

This tendency is strong, but not inescapable as has been shown by the Spanish and Russian examples.  Another recent example is the project of the Council of Europe “on the rights and legal status of children and parental responsibilities” which confirmed marriage, adoption, medically assisted procreation for same sex couples and even carrier mothers (in surrogacy), which was finally rejected by the Committee of Ministers after an intense campaign of “counter-lobbying”.  The objective of this recommendation was to reform the family unit so it would be founded only on will (and not biology) and to promote the principle of the acceptability and equality of all types of union and procreation (adoption, medically assisted procreation, surrogacy “for all”).

For the moment, to demonstrate for the withdrawal of the Taubira law, is also to demonstrate to protect the freedom of parental conscience and their inalienable right to educate their children to respect fundamental moral values, notably the complementary nature of men and women, of sexuality and of the sense of truth.  There is hatred and aggression against the moral conscience, marriage and the family, which are perceived as obstacles to individual liberty, to freedom… and to the ideological holding of public powers.

The experiences of  Russia, of the United Kingdom, of Germany and of Spain show French families that nothing is decided in advance, and that different scenarios are possible.  What will come to pass in France will be important in Europe and will depend on the degree of mobilisation and the political conscience of families and bishops.  But at its foundation, the only strategy is to show what liberty truly consists of, founded on truth.  The truth is not inaccessible: it is true that every child has a father and a mother and needs them both.  Because these children are those of parents and not of the State, the public authorities have the duty to respect the rights of parents to educate their children.

The expression of freedom and truth comes from family education, but also from public demonstration, and if necessary from conscientious objection.

[7] 1st September 2008. At:
[8] Ramos Bejarano and Others v. Spain, no. 15976/10.
[9] Johanna Appel-Irrgang and Others v. Germany (no. 45216/07).
[10] Johanna Appel-Irrgang and Others v. Germany (no. 45216/07), Decision.
[11] Konrad v. Germany no. 35504/03 11th September 2006, and DOJAN and Others v. Germany, no. 319/08, 2455/08, 7908/10, 8152/10, 8155/10, 13th September 2011.
[11] Konrad v. Germany no. 35504/03 11th September 2006, and DOJAN and Others v. Germany, no. 319/08, 2455/08, 7908/10, 8152/10, 8155/10, 13th September 2011.
[12] Johanna Appel-Irrgang and Others v. Germany (no. 45216/07).
[13] Folgero and Others v. Norway, GC, no 15472/02, 29th June 2007.
[14] The regions are:Ryazan,Arkhangelsk,Kostroma,Saint Petersburg,Novosibirsk, Magadan, Samara, theRepublic ofBashkortostan, theKrasnodarTerritory andKaliningrad.
[15] According to the definition given by the Russian Supreme Court, in its decision of 15th August2012 in relation to the law of the Arkhangelsk Region.
[16] Federal Law on the Fundamental Protection of the Rights of Children (no. 124-FZ of 24th June 1998).
[17] The Conscience of Europe, 50 years of the European Court of Human Rights, Council of Europe, October 2010.
[18] Council of Europe, Decision of the Committee of Ministers during its 1164th meeting (5th-7th March 2013) in relation to ALEKSEYEV v. Russia, 4916/07.
[19] The Commission of Venice is composed of constitutional law experts; it recently ruled on the new Hungarian Constitution.
[20] Communication to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe concerning Alekseyev v. Russia (application no. 4916/07), by the Family and Demography Foundation,
[21] See the websites of the Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre organisations.

[22] See the article by Jean Mercier, Cour Européenne des Droits de l’homme : pas de discrimination antichrétienne [The European Court of Human Rights: No Anti-Christian Discrimination], appeared on La Vie on 15th January 2013. 

[23] Eweida and Others v. United Kingdom, n°48420/10, 59842/10, 51671/10 and 36516/10 of 15th January 2013.

[24] Tribunal Supremo, Recurso No. 192/2009,

No comments: