Monday 29 March 2010

Landmark letter against government sex ed bill published in Sunday Telegraph

The Sunday Telegraph has published a letter, signed by 640 people, calling upon parliament to reject the government's Children, Schools and Families bill. (The web-page on which the letter is published actually starts with another letter from six Anglican bishops which argues that "the religious rights of the Christian community are being treated with disrespect.")

The letter reads:
"Parents and guardians have the primary responsibility for bringing up their children in accordance with their own values and culture. They may entrust the task of formal education to a school of their choice, but the overall responsibility for the upbringing of their children remains theirs.

"The Children, Schools and Families Bill undermines this principle and seeks to impose a particular ideology by means of statutory sex and relationships education from the age of 5 (which primary schools do not currently have to teach). We would therefore urge Parliament decisively to oppose it.

"A state which seeks to centralise responsibilities which are properly fulfilled by families is acting in an unjust manner and undermines the basis of a free society."
The letter, led by Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust, has been signed by several Catholic bishops and over three hundred clergy, both Catholic and from other denominations/faiths. Among them are:
  • Rt Rev Brian Noble, Catholic bishop of Shrewsbury
  • Rt Rev Mark Davies, co-adjutor bishop of Shrewsbury
  • Rt Rev Patrick O'Donoghue, bishop emeritus of Lancaster
  • Monsignor G M Dasey, vicar-general, Middlesborough diocese
  • Canon T A McBride, episcopal vicar for formation and cathedral dean, Salford diocese
  • Canon A T Hayes, diocesan safeguarding officer, Lancaster diocese
  • Canon Jeremy Garrett, rector, St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, Southwark archdiocese
  • Fr John Fordham, vice-provost, London Oratory
  • Fr Leo Chamberlain, former headmaster, Ampleforth
  • Dom Antony Sutch, former headmaster, Downside
The more than 100 Catholic headteachers and governors among the signatories include:
  • Dr Andy Stone, Headteacher, Holy Family Technology College, Walthamstow
  • Mrs Michelle O’Sullivan, Chairman of Governors, St Alphonsus School, Manchester
  • Eric Hester, former headmaster, chief examiner and chief inspector
The SPUC website has a selected list of signatories. If you know any of the signatories, perhaps you could contact them to congratulate them for standing up against the government's sex ed agenda?

The massive support the letter has received from leading Catholics is yet further proof of just how out of touch the Catholic Education Service (CES) is with the concerns of the Catholics community in England and Wales. Bishops, diocesan officials and Catholic schools are now losing confidence in the CES, as evidenced by their rejection of a bill supported by the CES.

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