UK – The Rise of Far-right Christian Fundamentalism in British Schools
Back on June 9th1 of this year and then again on the following day2, GOS UK noted the troubling rise in influence that extreme religious groups were beginning to have over the education of British schoolchildren. We were alarmed to see that at least two members of a five-person review team belonged to, or were affiliated with, religious groups that protested against LGBTQI+ people and abortion and wanted to promote education centred around their ideas of God.
The UN Child Rights Committee (CRC) recently produced a report3 that was damning towards current educational standards and teaching for British schoolchildren. This highlighted the undue influence of religion in education, stating that the UK should
Repeal legal provisions for compulsory attendance in collective worship. and that the UK should establish
statutory guidance to ensure the right of all children, including children under 16 years of age, to withdraw from religious classes without parental consent.
Instead of taking the findings of this report onboard, the UK Government appears to be doubling down on its promotion of religious fundamentalism in education by listening to extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalists within its own Party.
A report published today4 in The New European gives an insight into the people behind this ever-growing movement. A movement which is preceded by, and partly funded by, American Christian fundamentalist groups. Shockingly, these have grown to such power and influence that they now have a member who is currently second-in-line to the US Presidency5.
In the UK, they are led by Tory MPs Miriam Cates6 and Danny Kruger7 who lead the so-called New Conservatives8, a political front for their slightly older group, the New Social Covenant Unit9.
Cates has introduced a Bill to Parliament that describes current sex education in UK schools as
sexually inappropriate, a description that the National Union Of Headteachers has labelled
Serving as advisors on her Bill were the extreme right-wing group the Family Education Trust10 who The New European investigative team reveal
…oppose LGBT marriage, reject compulsory sex education and […] shares RSE-related misinformation online. They were formed in 1971 under the name ‘Responsible Society’, later ‘Family And Youth Concern’ and now operate under their current name of the Family Education Trust. In their various incarnations they have opposed divorce, children born out of wedlock, abortion, sex before marriage, cohabitation and pornography and have blamed HIV/AIDS on ‘the permissive society’, stating that abstinence is the only morally acceptable form of sex education for schools.
Their advisory board is replete with extreme Christians who oppose all forms of sex education, and who regularly tweet and post opposition to gay marriage, LGBT issues. They have links to other hard right Christian extremist groups and link to US based abstinence-religious sites such as ‘Love Matters’ and ‘Abstinence Clearing House’, both of which are either dead or only accessible from a US-based VPN.
Cates and her Bill are also influenced and supported by numerous Conservative religious ‘youth groups’ which have materialised over the last couple of years. As reported by Vice11 these groups include
an anti-BLM, anti-Islam, anti-abortion, anti-LGBT, anti-Green youth group called ‘Orthodox Conservatives’ who were formed from the UK arm of Turning Point USA. This group created
a ‘Professor Watchlist’ of academics that it claimed taught ‘leftist propaganda’ and ‘discriminated against conservative students’.. Orthodox Conservatives are regularly seen on GB News and heard on Talk Radio. Their group advisory board includes Sir John Hayes, a Conservative MP who is also a member of the so-called ‘Common Sense Group’, as is Ethan Thoburn who works for Tory MP Andrew Rosindell. Their chief advisor, reports Vice, is Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Tory Bow Group think-tank and ex-Conservative councillor, who was expelled from the Tory party and who
…claims he was asked by a party candidate to leave for being a ‘racist and a homophobe’.
These groups all rail against what they call ‘Cultural Marxism’, a far-right antisemitic dog-whistle12 gaining popularity in the UK and USA amongst the alt-right, that falsely warns of a supposed Jewish conspiracy to create a New Order/Illuminati style ‘One World’ government.
These, then, are the groups that are both behind and inform the views of Cates and Kruger. They represent a far-right Christian extremism that, under the guise of caring about family values, seeks to advance its agenda into the lives of our children via their education. This continues despite the mountain of evidence showing that frank and thorough sex education
leads to a reduction in sexual violence13, fewer teen births14 and also enables children to recognise and report inappropriate sexual contact15. Likewise, an article in the Times Educational Supplement16 highlights the misinformation at the very heart of Cates’ campaign, explaining that all teaching materials are already made available to parents on a majority of schools’ websites. and that the policy of abstinence that they are so desperate to push shows
there is no evidence17 that having total control over your children’s sexual exploration has any effect whatsoever on teenage pregnancy rates. Worse, studies have shown that states enforcing the teaching of abstinence in school sex education experience higher rates of sexually-transmitted infections!18. Results such as this prove that unfavourable end results do not deter these people – they do not care about child welfare, only about promulgating their messages and enshrining them in law.
The third Pillar of Global Order of Satan states,
Science, evidence, reason, and critical thinking should guide our beliefs about our universe. This creeping spread of extreme Christian views into the UK education system represents nothing more than an attempt, based on bad science and blatant misinformation, to forcibly expand on how often our children are exposed to these bigoted, wrong-headed and unscientific views. For the sake of our children, and for the continued freedom of all religions: continued exposure to this sort of religious misinformation must stop. The UK is no longer a majority-Christian country!19 It’s about time our leaders acknowledged that fact.
- GOS UK Facebook Page
- GOS UK Facebook Page
- CRC/C/GBR/CO/6-7: Concluding observations on the combined sixth and seventh periodic reports of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- The New European: “British evangelicans want to control our schools”
- The Guardian: “‘Go pick up a Bible’: Speaker Mike Johnson defends anti-LGBTQ+ views”
- Wikipedia: Miriam Cates
- Wikipedia: Danny Kruger
- Wikipedia: New Conservatives
- New Social Covenant
- PowerBase: Family Education Trust
- Vice: “Revealed: Youth Group Trying to push Conservative Party further to the Right”
- Vice: “Unwrapping the conspiracy theory that drives the Alt-Right”
- Planned Parenthood: “Preventing Sexual Violence Through Comprehensive Sex Education”
- More comprehensive sex education reduced teen births: Quasi-experimental evidence – Mark et al
- Sex Education Forum: “RSE – The Evidence – SEF 2022”
- TES:”RSHE: Keegan ‘undermining’ trust in schools, heads warn”
- Reuters: “Spending on abstinence not tied to fewer teen births”
- Sexuality education policies and sexually transmitted disease rates in the United States of America, Hogben et al
- Census 2021: Religion in England and Wales
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