The British Catholic Education Service could be in trouble with the law over it’s role in encouraging students to sign a petition against gay marriage:
The education secretary, Michael Gove, is to examine claims that rules were breached when Catholic schools were asked to encourage their pupils to sign a national petition against gay marriage.
The Catholic Education Service (CES) wrote to nearly 400 British secondary schools to encourage support for the petition organised by Coalition for Marriage, a Christian campaign that has registered more than 47,000 signatures for its campaign.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said yesterday that it was looking into complaints that the request violated regulations concerning impartiality.
“Schools have a responsibility under law to ensure children are insulated from political activity and campaigning in the classroom,” the spokesman said. “While faith schools, rightly, have the freedom to teach about sexual relations and marriage in the context of their own religion, that should not extend to political campaigning.”
- The Observer.
The CES insistence that it is simply presenting church teaching is misleading. It is one thing to offer guidance on how to conduct their own lives, but quite another to encourage them to impose those views through the political process on people of other faiths, or of none. The letter sent to schools, and the encouragement to support the petition against gay marriage, is a direct intervention in a political process, and is unacceptable.
It is particularly scandalous that the letter was distributed to even the youngest pupils in Catholic secondary schools, amounting to completely inappropriate manipulation and abuse of young minds.
- UK News: Catholic group faces campaign probe (walesonline.co.uk)
- Catholic schools face ‘indoctrination’ claims over gay marriage (telegraph.co.uk)