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No Sunday School, Please, We’re British

A reader writes:

As a British reader I think your post “Life in Post-Christian Britain” [1]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”. [2] 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 [3]) 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 [2], 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 [4], before he poisons the minds of the wee ones.

The C of E is biting back,  [5] 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.”

56 Comments (Open | Close)

56 Comments To "No Sunday School, Please, We’re British"

#1 Comment By Brendan from Oz On February 14, 2018 @ 7:52 pm

In Australia, a land prone to large-scale fires, back-burning is an essential tool to reduce fuel. California’s treatment of eucalypt forests was a disaster waiting to happen, as many Aussie experts warned for years.

It also used when large-scale fires are out of control – but can also get out of control. We don’t have enough water to douse large-scale bushfires with a front of many miles.

#2 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 15, 2018 @ 2:13 pm

If we insist on taking this absurd analogy too far, one could point out that setting lots of small controlled fires, like the Native Americans used to do before the English / French / Spanish arrived, was a useful way to avoid stocks of flammable material building up and to control the landscape. Set smaller fires now to avoid larger ones later, and so forth.

#3 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 16, 2018 @ 10:55 am

The old civilization once known as Christendom is made up of four distinct sub-civilizations, the Latin South, the Germanic North, the Anglo-Celtic offshore lands and the Slavic (more or less) East. Combining the first three into the “West” was useful during the Cold War, but does not express any particular deep or lasting truth

I’d disagree that there is even any cohesive thing called “Christendom”. Much as I’d disagree that there’s such a thing as “Islamic” civilization, at least once Islam had become a global religion and subsumed multiple different civilizations.

European cultures are very different from each other and on some measures, the differences between Eastern and Western European cultures are as big as between any cultures in the world.

2) If you don’t want a nation full of immigrants, don’t create a global empire.

Given that “creating a global empire” was a moral outrage, how is that remedied by mass migration? I don’t think mass migration from Nigeria or India to England is a good idea, for much the same reasons that I don’t think the British coming to India or Nigeria was a good thing in the first place.

#4 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 16, 2018 @ 11:00 am

But they won’t, because Christianity has a different historical relationship to the State as Islam, its not really in the cultural DNA.

I mean, I think we can very easily overstate the degree that “cultural DNA” is even really a thing. Culture is determined by a lot of things that go much deeper than religion, and the shape that a Muslim society takes might have as little to do with the Quran as the shape that modern day Italian or Latin American society has to do with Catholic canon law.

#5 Comment By JonF On February 20, 2018 @ 12:25 pm

Re: I’d disagree that there is even any cohesive thing called “Christendom”.

Today? No. And there hasn’t been for a long time. These days the civilization in question is best just called “Europe” despite the fact that in includes some overseas areas too.

Re: European cultures are very different from each other and on some measures, the differences between Eastern and Western European cultures are as big as between any cultures in the world.

Here I disagree and have often said so in the past. Historically, the major cultural fault in Europe is not east-west, but rather north-south– the latter after all has produced far more “tectonic” activity over the centuries with a much higher body count than the east-west split ever did, although it’s been rather quiescent of late. IMO, the complete exclusion of the Slavic lands from European civilization is a piece of Cold War thinking we would do well to unlearn (even if Putin is sending trolls to corrupt our politics)

#6 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 20, 2018 @ 11:04 pm

I don’t think mass migration from Nigeria or India to England is a good idea, for much the same reasons that I don’t think the British coming to India or Nigeria was a good thing in the first place.

I believe that is true… but it is also a valid point that a good deal of migration to Britain from the formerly colonized areas is an unfortunate RESULT of the process of empire. That doesn’t even mean it must be endorsed and facilitated as some kind of payback — poetic justice is not effective anti-imperialism. But the economy, political and cultural bonds created by the process of empire have almost inevitably resulted in a good deal of the immigration that Britain and France deal with now.

The Turkish population in Germany is another matter — Germany is not filling up with Herreros, but with immigrants it specifically invited as a matter of policy to fill slots in its labor force.