In amongst the reporting about the Government’s proposal to introduce ‘same-sex marriage’ early in the week was the following on the BBC website:
They [sic the Government] also say that teachers “particularly in faith schools will be able to continue to describe their belief that marriage is between a man and woman whilst acknowledging and acting within the new legislative position which enables same sex-couples to get married”.
At first blush this might seem to be a guarantee of the freedom of ‘faith schools’ to teach the views of that particular faith. But in fact it is no such thing.
What the statement says is that teachers will be able to describe their beliefs. In other words they will be able to say, “I believe marriage is such-and-such”. But describing personal beliefs is not the issue and ‘describing’ is not the same as ‘teaching’.
What really matters is that teachers (and therefore presumably the curriculum) will have to “acknowledge and act within the new legislative position”.
In other words, they will be able to describe their own beliefs according to their faith about anything they like, but on this issue they will have to acknowledge the existence of same-sex marriage and they will have to act in accordance with this — which I doubt means they can teach that this is wrong or a biological impossibility or whatever else may come to mind.
Once again, then, the Government is using ‘smoke and mirrors’. Same-sex marriage is being introduced in the name of ‘freedom’ (a freedom of which, according to Maria Miller, all religious groups, even the Church of England, should actually consider availing themselves, since she says [as an Anglican herself] there is “a really strong argument to be had ... for churches really to be considering the opportunities here”), but the Church of England has (without having been consulted or informed) been singled out, albeit in a traditionalist (I nearly said ‘conservative’) direction.
Then we discover that teachers will be ‘free’ to describe their belief that this is wrong, but they will be required to acknowledge and act according to the new status quo.
This is why the issue is not, in the end, the sex or the marriage, but power. And it is why we should ponder the words of CS Lewis in The Abolition of Man:
Each generation exercises power over its successors: and each, in so far as it modifies the environment bequeathed to it and rebels against tradition, resists and limits the power of its predecessors. In reality, of course, if any one age really attains ... the power to make its descendants what it pleases, all men who live after it are the patients of that power.
Our confused politicians, with their incoherent legislation (Maria Miller spoke repeatedly of ‘civil marriage’ when she was describing opening it up to religious groups) , believe (again in the words of Ms Miller) that they are about to bequeath “one of the momentous changes that this Government will make” — and indeed she is right, but not in the way she thinks.
The real problem beneath all the ballyhoo is that despite human civilizations having believed and acted one way for thousands of years, from whatever date determined by the Government we will all have to ‘reset’ our thinking, even though some of us believe what we are being required to think is unsustainable at the deepest level of reality.
A law-making body which treats human beings in such a way is frankly dangerous to humanity. As Lewis, again, put it, writing in the dark years of the Second World War, when the outcome was by no means settled:
... many a mild-eyed scientist in pince-nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst, means in the long run just the same as the Nazi rulers of Germany. Traditional values are to be `debunked' and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people in one lucky generation which has learned how to do it.
Significantly, Lewis’s little book was subtitled, “Reflections on education with special reference to the teaching of English in the upper forms of schools.” Rightly he recognized that the most innocent-seeming practices might have far from innocent outcomes, especially if they affected education.
The teacher who must teach what he does not believe is, actually, not a teacher at all but an indocrinator. And if he must teach what the Government tells him to teach against not just his convictions but in contradiction of the previous self-understanding of humanity then we are in a situation about as far away from genuine freedom as one could imagine.Please give a full name and location when posting. Comments without this information may be deleted. Recommend: