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Saturday, 1 November 2008

When is education not education?

The Church Times tells us that the Catholic Education Service and the Methodist Church have welcomed promises that new UK government guidance on the teaching of sex-and-relationships education “would take into account the views of churches and other faiths, and would involve governors and parents”.

The story also rejoices in the fact that the review group that drew up the guidelines “included Church of England, RC, Methodist, and Muslim members”.

Yes, I bet these promises were welcomed! And why? So that superstitionists of whatever religious stripe can indoctrinate kids against what is not acceptable to their particular superstition, that’s why.

Can a gay kid expect to be treated with anything other than patronising, love-the-sinner-but-hate-the-sin “understanding” at best, and utter contempt at worst in a Catholic school? Are they really going to say that sex is OK whether it’s between same- or opposite-sex couples?

How can they, when only opposite-sex relationships are acceptable? They couldn’t even accept that sex is OK within a marriage of same-sex partners, because for them marriage is between a man and a women, even if it’s sanctioned by law as a civil partnership, for instance, or is even a “proper” marriage carried out in a country that recognises marriage between same-sex couples.

So pity the poor kids who’re gay and are struggling at a difficult time of their lives with desires and burgeoning sexuality. To be told that only sex with someone of the other gender is OK and that anything else is a sin is devastating, and amounts to child abuse.

It’s one thing saying it’s best done within a committed relationship, but quite another to say that that relationship has to be of a certain type, and, if you can’t cope with that, tough – you’ll have to spend the rest of your life frustrated, with your very powerful sex drive pent up and probably seeking other ways to express itself, not all of them as socially acceptable as sex!

As for Muslims – well!

So why are we providing sex education – which is within the context of the personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum – but allowing it to be taught according to one or another group’s interpretation of thousands-of-years-old scriptures written by nomadic herders?

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