Monday, 3 July 2017

Official Intolerance and Oppression

Secularist Religious Orthodoxy in the UK

With a few notable exceptions, New Zealand generally follows the United Kingdom in its education policies.  If this continues, we predict that before long we will see the State requiring that private Christian schools teach radical left-wing religious beliefs.

Private schools exist in New Zealand, as they do in many other countries, precisely because there is a section of the public that do not believe their particular state education system reflects the beliefs, values, and perspectives of some parents.  Therefore, parents seek non-State controlled education for their children in order that parental beliefs and values can be reflected and reinforced at the day schools attended by their children.  Moreover, such schools often produce higher educational outcomes in general.

But now, in Britain, the State is beginning to pressure, and probably ultimately persecute, such schools.
 A private Orthodox Jewish elementary school called the Vishnitz Girls School in Hackney, north London, is facing closure by the British government because it does not include curriculum that teaches children about homosexuality and gender reassignment surgery.

According to Heat Street, a report by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Schools (Ofsted) says that the Vishnitz Girls School does not teach its 212 attending children — aged three through eight — “a full understanding of fundamental British values.”  The report explained that the girls “are not taught explicitly about issues such as sexual orientation. This restricts pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and does not promote equality of opportunity in ways that take account of differing lifestyles.” [The Blaze]
 The battle lines are drawn.  On the one hand, the private Orthodox Jewish school teaches traditional (and biblical) doctrines about gender and human sexuality.  On the other, the State is declaring that such views are unlawful and must be squashed.
 In their place must needs come the "higher truths" of secular humanism--which are now, apparently, according to Ofsted "fundamental British values".   And this perversity, mark you, would be imposed upon a private school.

We would be foolish if we blithely assumed that a travesty and oppression such as these would never occur in New Zealand.  Now, of course, the issue is not the quality of education per se.  The Vishnitz school has a stellar academic record.  It is reported that the school has an excellent reputation, a well-rounded staff, and enthusiastic students.  But, its failure to teach current secularist doctrines of perverted human sexuality will mean that it will be forced to close.
According to British regulations, private schools that do not meet the Ofsted standards will have their school taken off the independent school registrar, which means that it will be a criminal offense for them to stay open.
One observer, Gill Robbins from Christians in Education has concluded:
Finally, Ofsted has revealed its true agenda. It doesn’t matter how good your school is in all other respects –simply refusing to teach very young children about gender reassignment will lead to your closure. That is the possible outcome for not only this school, but other Jewish schools which refuse, as a matter of faith, to teach about LGBT issues. All the indications are that the Orthodox community is prepared to stand its ground.

The argument used to justify such sanction is that these are protected characteristics. So is religious belief, but it’s now been made crystal clear by Ofsted that the Equality Act is actually hierarchical, with sexual orientation and gender reassignment at the apex of the Act. All equalities are equal, but some equalities are more equal than others.
The Orwellian undertones of Ofsted's actions are unmistakable.   If and when the Labour Party, along with the even more radical Greens, regain control of the Treasury benches in New Zealand, expect the same perversity and tyrannies to be rolled out here.

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