Monday, June 04, 2007

Outlaw Promotion of Natural Marriage in Schools -- Urges UK Teachers and Profs Union

Britain's heavily left-leaning University and College Union (UCU) that represents teachers and professors at the post-secondary level, says the recently passed Sexual Orientation Regulations (SOR's) do not go far enough. The union is calling for British law to be rewritten to prohibit teachers or schools from expressing any moral opposition to homosexuality or from promoting natural marriage in the classroom.

At their annual conference in Bournemouth, members voted unanimously on a motion demanding that laws be changed to prohibit teachers from voicing opposition to homosexuality or the "gay" lifestyle. Members argued that the passage of the Sexual Orientation Regulations meant that "faith schools" ought to be forced to entirely cease teaching religious doctrines on sexual morality.

Alan Whitaker, a gay activist and the UCU's representative of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members told the delegates, "The regulations actually say that there is nothing to stop teachers proclaiming the superiority of heterosexual marriage." "The regulations say it's unlawful to characterise same-sex relationships as inferior. But to my mind it's rather difficult to see how you can do the one without implying you are doing the other."

Whitaker is a campaigner against "organized religion" that he wrote is "inherently homophobic". As a member of UCU Left, the activist branch of the UCU that openly advocates for socialist and leftist causes, he penned an article in February arguing that Canterbury Christ Church University was a bastion of homophobia because the Anglican college refused to allow civil partnership ceremonies on campus.

Stephen Desmond, a professor in media at Thames Valley University told union members, "We must never allow freedom of religion to be hijacked and used as a pretext to discriminate against gay and lesbian teenagers in schools." Desmond, who serves as the Deputy Director/Director of Communications at the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCRJ), criticised the SOR's, saying, "If a faith school (or indeed any school) teaches that the Christian and Muslim faiths decree that same- sex sexual activity is a sin, then the school will not be acting unlawfully".

The union called for an end to "bigoted" attitudes among teachers, insisting that they be prohibited from promoting natural marriage as a positive social value. Homosexuality, they said, must be given equal status as natural sexuality.

Current rules on education say that children must be taught "the importance of marriage for family life." Under these government guidelines, that predate the passage of the SOR's, teachers are still allowed to express their personal opposition to homosexual lifestyles.

In March, reported that the passage of the SOR's could spell the end of Christian religious education in Britain. A report on implementation by the Joint Committee on Human Rights said that faith schools would be required to modify their religious instruction. The report said the law will not "prevent pupils from being taught as part of their religious education the fact that certain religions view homosexuality as sinful," but schools may not teach "a particular religion's doctrinal beliefs as if they were objectively true".

The UCU is Britain's largest trade union and professional association for academics, representing 120,000 lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff.


British academics express outrage at Israeli boycott

Academics and students today hit back at the decision by university lecturers to support calls for a boycott of Israeli institutions. Yesterday the University and College Union decided by 158 votes to 99 to circulate a motion to all its branches to discuss calls from Palestinian trade unions for a "comprehensive and consistent international boycott of all Israeli academic institutions". The motion is going to branches for "their information and discussion".

But the decision taken at the inaugural UCU national conference in Bournemouth was condemned by the Russell group of research-led universities, the National Union of Students and organisations with an interest in Israel and academic free speech. In a hard-hitting statement, the Russell group "rejected outright" the boycott call. Its chairman, Prof Malcolm Grant, who is also president and provost of University College London, said: "It is a contradiction in terms and in direct conflict with the mission of a university. "It betrays a misunderstanding of the academic mission, which is founded squarely on freedom of inquiry and freedom of speech. "Any institution worthy of the title of university has the responsibility to protect these values, and it is particularly disturbing to find an academic union attacking academic freedom in this way." Prof Grant promised that its universities "will uphold academic freedom by standing firm against any boycott that threatens it".

Meanwhile, the executive director of the International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom (IAB), Ofir Frankel, accused the union of allowing itself "to act as a one-sided player in Middle Eastern politics". He said: "The IAB is amazed that the extremists that led their union to such an initiative decided not to discuss the option to pass this initiative to a vote of all 120,000 members, a decision that could have allowed the majority to rescue their union from this discriminatory action by reharnessing the values of academic freedom, discourse and debate, as their own general secretary suggested."

The chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, Jeremy Newmark, described the union's decision as "an assault on academic freedom" that "damages the credibility of British academia as a whole". He called for the union to organise a full membership ballot before introducing any boycott. The decision by the UCU was also condemned by the Academic Friends of Israel, which accused the union of having "failed to support the wishes of its membership".

Criticism of the UCU decision also came from student organisations. The president of the National Union of Students, Gemma Tumelty, said it did not support the principles behind an academic boycott of Israel because it "undermines the Israeli academics who support Palestinian rights". It also "hinders the building of bridges between Israelis and Palestinians". She added: "Retaining dialogue on all sides will be crucial in obtaining a lasting peace in the Middle East. International academics have a lot to offer higher education students in the UK and a boycott of this specific country is extremely worrying. "We will express our concerns to UCU and we are awaiting clarification from them on the exact nature of this policy and its potential impact on students and the academic community."

There were also reservations about the UCU decision from the World Union of Jewish Students. Its chairwoman, Tamar Shchory, a student at Ben Gurion University in south Israel, said: "In campuses abroad the climate of hostility towards the state of Israel and Jewish students is getting stronger. "It seems like the UCU has chosen a one-sided, not constructive, position in a very complex and sensitive matter instead of promoting the basic value of academic freedom and constructive initiatives."



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


No comments: