Gwynedd Plaid Cymru councillor Beca Brown says she has been abused online and called a paedo lover because of her support for implementation of the RSE code in schools in Wales. She also claims she has been threatened, with someone tweeting that her support for the code had put a rope round her own neck, while someone else said that she deserved the death penalty (https://nation.cymru/news/councillor-received-threats-over-welsh-sex-education-curriculum-support/).
There can, of course, be no justification for such attacks, if true, and, where policies are in dispute, they must be challenged in a civilised way. But the real question here is, what on earth can have provoked such a strong reaction?
From reports in the media (e.g https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-63556776), you might be excused for thinking that Welsh parents are antediluvian bigots, unreasonably resisting teaching that will keep their children safe and help them negotiate the minefield of relationships in an increasingly dangerous world. But the truth is far more nuanced and, in the cold light of day, the concerns of the parents appear eminently justified – because it would seem that their children are being compulsorily subjected to overt indoctrination and, under the new law, there is nothing they can do.
Fact 1: Despite strong opposition, the Welsh government has introduced a highly controversial RSE code as part of its new general curriculum, which it justifies by insisting that is “vital to support young people build healthy relationships”.
Fact 2: The Code has three main strands: relationships and identity; sexual health and wellbeing; and empowerment, safety and respect. It includes guidance on how the different areas are to be delivered respectively from age three, from age seven and from age 11. However, it also states that, ‘Across the learning strands, curriculum content in RSE must be inclusive and reflect diversity’ (https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2022-01/curriculum-for-wales-relationships-sexuality-education-code.pdf).
Which is another way of saying that all subjects are now mandated to be taught in such a way as to promote and normalise LGBT acceptance. Thus, in a Maths class, for example, problems will be couched in terms such as, ‘Matthew and Luke want to take their two children on holiday to Spain. If flights cost £xxx, calculate how much this will cost them, and the budget needed for a two week break …’. Similarly, in literature classes, books will be selected for their LGBT content, while gay and lesbian themes will be ‘explored’ in what up to now have been accepted without question as heteronormative texts. No, I am not making this up.
With such cross-curricula ‘integration’, any idea of a parental opt-out becomes of course impossible. Which, of course, would appear to have been the idea all along, and, under the new Code, this has indeed been scrapped.
All lessons, the Code says, will be ‘developmentally appropriate’, but such teaching inevitably exerts pressure on children to accept behaviours and life-style choices that up until a few years ago were deemed unacceptable, and for which in any event they are not sufficiently mature to understand and process. Yet, under the new law, whatever their motivation, parents have absolutely no say!
This is a direct contravention of human rights law as it is supposed to be applied to the UK. Schedule 1, Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1988 states that everyone has the unassailable right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the right to practise and/or manifest such belief without interference. Article 2 of the First protocol further lays down that, ‘In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.’ (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42/schedule/1)
By their unprincipled application of the new Code, ignoring entirely the legitimate concerns of parents, Welsh law-makers demonstrate what can only be called contempt for the faith and convictions of those with whom they disagree – and whose views, it seems, they wish to suppress. This is at base yet further manifestation of the current ideological battle being waged in society to assert control and embed values that up to now have been regarded as both aberrant and damaging to the general good.
Small wonder that parents, deprived of all right to ensure their children are not so exposed, are up in arms. It goes without saying that no one should be subjected to threats of violence, but the frustration, and even outrage, of parents is surely understandable and must be honestly addressed. Ideologues who have gained control of the Welsh government must indeed be challenged and their insidious and wicked schemes stopped.
Rev Lynda Rose
Rev Lynda Rose is founder of Voice for Justice UK, a group which works to uphold the moral values of the Bible in society.
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