Sunday schools could be banned from teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman


Sunday schools could be banned from teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman

Tory MP’S  are warning that Sunday schools could be banned from teaching children that marriage should be between a man and a woman, under plans to force them to undergo regular Ofsted inspections.

The Conservative MPs Sir Gerald Howarth, David Burrowes, Gary Streeter and Fiona Bruce MP – fear that the changes could have a “seriously detrimental effect on the freedom of religious organisations”.

 

 

A figurine of a bride and a groom sits atop a wedding cake during an election watch party at the N. Raleigh Hilton in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday May 8, 2012. The national debate over gay marriage focused on North Carolina, as voters made it the 29th state to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Robert Willett)

 

The proposals follow warnings by the Prime Minister about a small minority of Muslim madrassas and other groups where he said children have their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”.

However campaigners said Ofsted inspectors could be sent into Sunday schools, church youth groups, Scout troops and even bell ringing circles to search for signs of children being “radicalised”.

Christian groups said at the time that the plans, outlined in a consultation paper published quietly by the Department for Education, could unwittingly turn Ofsted into a “state regulator of religion”.
“This would be an intolerable but very real possibility given the clear desire of the Department for Education to investigate what it calls ‘prohibitive activities’, such as ‘undesirable teaching? which undermines or is incompatible with fundamental British values.”

MPs have said that Christian groups feared “the prospect of an Ofsted inspector observing meetings and then imposing sanctions for the expression of traditional views on matters such as marriage views which, until very recently, were considered mainstream in Britain”.

They added: “This would be an intolerable but very real possibility given the clear desire of the Department for Education to investigate what it calls ‘prohibitive activities’, such as ‘undesirable teaching… which undermines or is incompatible with fundamental British values.

“This could challenge established Christian teaching. Threats to British values originate overwhelmingly from certain strains of Islam.

“It is at least disproportionate, if not absurd, to impose intrusive burdens on all other religious groups under the pretence that attempts at radicalisation could be discovered in any organisation.”
“We are looking specifically at places where children receive intensive education, to ensure that the children there are in a safe environment, which does not subject them to intolerant and hateful views.”
Department for Education

The Christian Institute argued last month that unless steps are taken to limits the plans, they would represent an “unprecedented attack on freedom of religion in our country”.

The Evangelical Alliance, an umbrella group representing two million practising British Christians, said it risked the “wholesale nationalisation of youth work and the indirect state regulation of private religious practice”.

 

 

A spokesman for the Department for Education said Sunday schools were unlikely to be affected by the changes.

She said: “The Government is not proposing to regulate institutions teaching children for a short period every week, such as Sunday schools.

“We are looking specifically at places where children receive intensive education, to ensure that the children there are in a safe environment, which does not subject them to intolerant and hateful views.

“We recognise many out-of-school education settings do a great job in supporting children’s education and our proposals are about making sure that in the small minority of cases where there are concerns raised by parents and others about issues of extremism, child cruelty or inappropriate teaching the government can take action to protect children.”

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