No Sunday School, Please, We’re British
A reader writes:
As a British reader I think your post “Life in Post-Christian Britain”is mostly spot-on. I just have a few thoughts.
The abortion lobby here is very powerful with little in the way of serious political opposition. I know many committed pro-lifers but there is the general feeling that the political battle has more or less been complete lost, at least for the time being. This might be overly defeatist or it might be an honest assessment of the situation. I am unsure.
As you say, we have a Tory government but there is very little that is actually conservative about them. One possible cause for hope is Jacob Rees-Mogg, the unfaltering MP for North East Summerset. Rees-Mogg is a practicing traditional Catholic and will not shy away from questions about abortion and same-sex “marriage”. Although he is of course pilloried in the press for doing so. Despite this, his strong Brexit stance as well as his honesty ensure that he remains wildly popular with much of the Tory parties traditional conservative base – most of whom loathe the direction Cameron, and now May, have taken the party.
In regard to the rearing of children in the UK, as I have recently married, I share many of your Catholic friend’s concerns. I have even considered moving to the States for the similar reasons (and still wouldn’t rule out that possibility). With the state pushing LGBT ideology in their schools and increasingly coming after private schools, I have no doubt that home-schoolers are living on borrowed time.
There remain pockets where Catholics might be receive a real Catholic education (I do not know about other non-Catholic Christians) but the majority of Catholic schools are Catholic in name only, and those schools which really do teach the faith are not only few and far between, but as said, perhaps will not be permitted to teach the faith much longer.
Additionally, the Head of Ofsted (the UK teaching regulatory body) has talked about the need to go after “Sunday school”. So any teaching/education beyond a certain number of hours a week will be monitored and possibly censored by the state. This presumably could include Confirmation classes and first Holy Communion classes, as well as bible study which any (good) parish happens to run.
I imagine to American readers that this would sound like a serious case of state overreach, but the other side of this which conservatives might be sympathetic to is the need to crack down on the spread of violent Islam through madrasas. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-34933970) Even the “conservative” government has realised there is a problem and such establishments really do need to regulated, or indeed shut down. (This raises all the usual questions about the compatibility of Islam with the West, which no mainstream politician or media figure wants to face).
Nevertheless, in an effort to tackle a real problem (the spread of violent Islam) the state has, by accident or design, cast a wide net and now all Christian education not only inside but also outside school faces the prospect of monitoring – and then shutdown if they do not meet required standards. No serious Catholic is in any doubt about the standards by which we will be judged to be raising our children: are they being taught that gayness is next to godliness? If not, such bigotry will not go unpunished!
In regard to the questions you ask: my wife has already made it clear that obstetrics and gynaecology is more or less closed off to her and being a GP will also be extremely challenging due to the expectations about abortion and contraception. This is despite the fact that we have protections in law for physicians who do not wish to be involved in such practices. For myself, I would like to teach one day, but I will not promote any of this LGBT stuff, so perhaps this career path is closed to me.
For the US, I would say to monitor your immigration very carefully. I know and have known many good people who are Muslims. Yet there are clearly strains of Islam which are incompatible with the West (perhaps even this is true of Islam as a whole) and as the state cracks down on them, in the name of “liberalism” and fairness, it’ll come after Christians of every stripe as well.
As you have mentioned before, I would continue to implore your readers to take the task of educating their own children with the utmost seriousness and not assume that others (whether the state or church) will do this for them. As for what this looks like from a Ben Op perspective, I have no idea.
Feel free to publish this if you wish, I just ask that you omit my name.
Please do read the entire speech by Amanda Spielman, the Ofsted chief. It is breathtaking. Yet there are some, no doubt, who will express gratitude that at long last Her Majesty’s government is taking action against the Evil Vicar, before he poisons the minds of the wee ones.
The C of E is biting back, with the marvelously named Rev. Nigel Genders, who oversees Anglican education, saying:
Revd Genders said the “blanket regulation” and powers of inspection that Ofsted is calling for are a massive burden, unhelpful and ineffective: “It would be creating a massive haystack and never being able to find the needle.” He argues there is confusion over the issue of tackling extremism because a distinction needed to be made between voluntary church settings and illegal schools. He stressed that the church wanted to work with the government to keep children safe and if they have got concerns about particular settings “they should intervene.” But, he added: “It’s not for the state to tell churches how to behave or to get into state regulation of religion.”