So how are things in Britain? Things aren’t good. A magistrate, Mr Richard Page JP, has been suspended because, in dealing with an adoption case, he observed to colleagues that a child was best helped by having a mother and a father.
It was known that – horror of horrors! – Mr Page is a Christian, and often attends church. So it was felt that he might hold such views because of his Christian moral convictions. Officialdom decreed that he must conform to the ideology now imposed in public life in Britain: that having two male “parents”, (or perhaps three female ones, or whatever is next decided as officially correct) is absolutely all right, and that any suggestion that might even hint to the contrary must be blocked.
Mr Page has been suspended and told he must attend a re-education course so that he will obey the official line, and agree to tell untruths about the human condition and human childhood.
It’s horrible. We are living in a country where people in official positions cannot use wisdom, knowledge, and common sense – not even when discussing a matter of serious importance, relating to serious human needs.
Two schools – run by Christian groups – have been downgraded by OFSTED, the offical organisation that inspects schools, and one has been closed. It seems that a major issue was the inspectors’ desire to ask children personal and intrusive questions about sexual matters. They wanted to know if the children knew about lesbianism. One child went home in tears because she felt she had given a wrong answer. She had been asked to say if she ever felt uncomfortable in her own body.
Of course it is entirely possible that the story is more complicated, and that OFSTED actually found that schools were inefficient and hopeless in lots of ways – but this seems unlikely, as one of them was the highest-achieving school in the local area with top examination grades (all examination grades have to be published, and there is considerable interest in which school emerges as top).
There are major issues of free speech, justice, and human dignity in modern Britain and there is alas no sign that neither the present government nor the main opposition party, is remotely interested in tackling these. People talk about “political correctness gone mad”, but that’s a cliché – the whole notion of political correctness is itself mad, and rather horrible. Why should a little girl be nagged about lesbianism? Why must a school impose a certain fashionable sexual ideology?
A major part of the problem is that, in Moslem areas, some schools have been taken over by groups committed to a very radical and forceful version of the Moslem faith. This was given wide publicity when anguished parents sought to prevent their children from being caught up in this. It all revealed splits and cracks in the communities that follow Mohammed: a problem not easy to address but one that is not impossible to tackle when it comes to establishing a framework for state-funded schools. However, in attempting to agree on some “British values” to be encouraged in all schools, OFTSTED and other bits of the bureaucracy seem to have decided that one thing is central – insisting on imposing a passionate commitment to teaching children that lesbianism and homosexuality are central to all our lives and all must recognise their value at every level.
The tragedy is that it is possible – difficult, but possible – to work out some general principles about the sorts of values that schools might seek to generate: courtesy, kindness, respect for parents and teachers, honesty, courage… Children need to be encouraged to think about growing in virtue, and working together for the common good. The current imposition of an established ideology, often weirdly obsessed with sexual issues, is all wrong. Things in Britain aren’t good at present.