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Now teaching Christian doctrine at a church school is ‘extremist’. Move over Monty Python.

Students Sitting In Row In Classroom

A Christian group has been banned from a Church school because a few parents have complained that Christian teaching is extremist.  Premier Christianity asked me to write a response – you can get the original here – (some of the comments afterwards from people who profess to be Christian are quite chilling – not least the two professing Christians arguing that to ask for a Christian group to be able to speak at a Christian school is intolerant, discriminatory and against the teaching of Jesus!)

Now teaching Christian doctrine at a church school is ‘extremist’. Move over Monty Python.

David Robertson looks at the so-called ‘extremist’ teaching that has caused Christian Charity CrossTeach to be banned from conducting assemblies in a Church school


Are you sitting comfortably in your ‘safe space’? Do you have your ‘trigger’ alarm ready? Then we shall begin. There is a shocking story coming out of darkest Kent. The Christian equivalent of an Islamist madrasa is being set up in a normal decent English school, teaching children hateful and extremist ideology.

These extremists have been spouting hate, abuse and according to one small group of parents, causing their children to be “exposed to potentially damaging ideology”.

One concerned parent shared their trauma with the press:

“No one minds Nativity plays and Bible stories but considering most of the parents at the school aren’t practising Christians I think the feeling is that it’s all too much.”

Another told The Guardian the shocking news that her son had been told “Men can’t marry men”. 

It really is quite disgraceful that a Church of England school should be teaching such extremist Christian doctrines. Before we know it Kentish boys and girls will grow up into full-grown terrorists, waging Christian Jihad throughout the length and breadth of the land!

Sadly this is not a Monty Python sketch. This is modern ‘tolerant, rational’ Britain today. No one expects the ‘Secular Inquisition’ – but don’t worry they will be coming to a school, media studio, workplace near you – if anyone is stupid enough to try to teach the Christian faith as Christ taught it.


Now don’t get me wrong – I have been to some naff school assemblies in my life; the kind that convinces you as a Christian that clergy should be banned from schools for life! But it appears that what was going on here was not that – nor was it the hell fire and brimstone stuff of urban legend. It is a Christian Charity called ‘CrossTeach’ who are a respectable and accredited organisation, a member of Affinity, who has been banned. This group has enjoyed a good relationship with the school for many years.

The local vicar, Rev Giles Walter, who has been involved with the school for 24 years, issued a statement: “The behaviour of this small group of parents has hurled a hand grenade into a previously happy and harmonious environment. They seem determined to drive mainstream Christian teaching out of our Church school: and it is they and not ourselves who should be charged with extremism and non-inclusiveness.”

The head teacher of the school wrote to parents refuting all the allegations made against CrossTeach and commending them for their good work. Furthermore the ‘evidence’ provided by the campaigners was taken from assemblies which had nothing to do with CrossTeach. Nonetheless the head teacher gave in to the small group of parents and has banned CrossTeach from being involved in assemblies.

What does this tale of the Secular Inquisition incident tell us about modern Britain today? There are several lessons we should take on board.

1) We truly live in a dumbed down culture, which is ignorant of, and prejudiced against, its own roots.

You would think that parents, who choose to send their children to a Church of England school, might have the intelligence to work out that the Church of England is (allegedly) a Christian organisation that teaches the Christian faith. Perhaps the group of parents hadn’t read The 39 Articles or the Book of Common Prayer? They certainly don’t know the Bible. “No one minds nativity plays or Bible stories”. Really? Like the story of the birth of Jesus where all the baby boys in Bethlehem were slaughtered? Or that lovely one about Noah in the ark with all his animals, while most of humanity was wiped out in a flood? Or the nice one about Jesus being nailed on a cross while smiling beatifically down and singing “always look on the bright side of life”? Or am I getting confused here?

2) The real extremists are the small minority of secularist atheists.

They are the militants who want to exclude everyone who does not agree with their ideology. The irony is that in the name of tolerance and diversity they will not tolerate anything that diverts from their ideology. They don’t mind religion. They are after all ‘for freedom of religion and freedom from religion’. The trouble is that the latter takes priority and so the Church is permitted as long as it is equivalent to a knitting club or a Trekkie society. Anytime they even get a whiff of something Christian they are ‘triggered’ and demand that they should be protected. The snowflake secularists have truly taken over the asylum.

3) There is a patronising and dangerous ideology that is being used to teach our children.

Education used to be about teaching children how to think. Now it is about teaching them what to think. And nothing must be allowed to deviate from that. Instead of education our schools are being turned into centres of social engineering where the secular Brave New World is indoctrinated into our children. Our children are being taught that marriage has nothing to do with gender. And now they are being taught Queer theory; that gender either doesn’t exist, or has nothing to do with biology, or is ‘fluid’. Now there’s a really harmful and dangerous ideology!

4) Those of us who warned that the introduction of Same Sex Marriage would quickly move from being a permissive to being a prohibitive decree have been proven right.

The Guardian helpfully informed its readers that: “faith schools must still adhere to Department for Education guidelines regarding fundamental British values, including equality and non-discrimination in matters such as gay marriage, as well as respect and tolerance for other faiths.”So there you have it. Something that didn’t even exist ten years ago is now a ‘fundamental British value’! Of course The Guardian and our liberal elites don’t mean what they say about non-discrimination. They are all for discrimination against those who hold to the traditional view of marriage on which Western Civilisation has been based for the past 1,500 years. It cannot and must not be taught.

I wonder what other ‘fundamental British values’ will be discovered in the next decade? Good job that so little history is taught! (Of course children should not be taught history either, if the criteria is ‘we cannot teach what might cause upset’ – there are a few bloody battles that would be off limit. Biology could suffer too. English literature? You’ve got to be careful with that too. An American school district has just banned To Kill A Mocking Bird because that might cause upset!).

5) The Church only has itself to blame –

we have far too often taught such a watered down, wet version of the Bible that anytime a hint of the real thing surfaces, cries of “that’s not nice” echo through the echo chambers. Even in this instance, although CrossTeach were vindicated, they have still been excluded. My heartfelt plea is when will someone stand up to the bullies?

Jesus wept.

Christ wept over Jerusalem. We must weep at the insanity that is gripping the UK, of which this incident is only the tip of the iceberg. Christ’s sternest warning was for those who would harm any of “these little ones”. Maybe its time for the Church to reflect the priorities of the Christ who said “let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them”? Maybe for the sake of the children we should come out of our own comfort zones and challenge the new State-imposed fundamentalist doctrines that cause so much harm. If we are to be accused of extremism, then let’s make sure that it is the kind of extreme and courageous love that Jesus showed. Whatever the cost.

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  1. Excellent, as usual
    But, But, But, where are all the other voices .Where are all the church leaders?
    At 1.30 I am part listening to Radio 4 on some stomach churning talk led by Martha Kearney, in the car
    It is hideous. I need a safe place. I couldn’t recommend it, but it indicates the onslaught of Godless society. Polly Toynbee is a voice given airtime.

  2. Our Presbyterian church’s preschool was the first in the community. The liberal church organizer for the school insisted on secular curriculum. When a new minister (by then several preschools in the community) wanted to make the Presbyterian church follow suit of the Methodist and Catholic Biblical based curriculum, the organizer rebelled. The preschool director was an atheist, and she refused to look for a new one. Now, I am no longed on session. The organizer has passed away. The preschool director quit, but I doubt the curriculum has changed, due to all the arguments that you have given. The cancer within the church is hard to excise, but you don’t seem to notice when you first came down with the tumor. Thanks for your post.

  3. Baffled?
    Below is the first commentfrom my phone (with some addition) that doesn’t seem to have made it beyond moderation. Read together they should make some sense.
    Excellent as usual. But, but, but ,where are all the other voices? Where are the Church leaders, particularly CoE,, up in arms?
    At 1.30pm (Thursday) I am part listening toBBC Radio 4 on some stomach churching talk led by Marth Kearney, in the car. It is hideous. I need a safe place. I couldn’t recommend it, but it indicates the onslaught of Godless Society. Polly Toynbee is a voice given airtime along with others.

    Abortion – 50 years. I missed some conversation about, disabilities and gender selection, preferences.

    What if trans could be identified at an early stage?

  4. Remember the oft used word “stereotype”? Its not used often as the liberal elite have so driven the point that assumptions should not be made about a person, just because they are linked to a particular group. Thus, discrimination is down, because each must be considered on the merit of each person and case.

    However, that has not stopped the liberals “stereotyping” the opposition, in particular Christians. This is an example. The parents should be challenged for their stereotyping. Any challenge they have should be specific based on facts. Not presumptions about religion, extremism or radicalism. Unconscious bias simply comes to the for, and those in a position to challenge the bias and stereotyping are those who perpetuate it. By giving in to discrimination, based on stereotypes, and not facts.

    You will often find the methods used to bring liberalism, (stop stereotyping us, being intolerant of us, acting on unconscious bias toward us), are the very same means they use against conservative/traditional views, including Christianity. This is an example of parents unconscious bias, based on stereotypes about Christianity and religion, leading to intolerance.

    Its called hypocrisy and should be exposed as such.

  5. A few points worth considering:

    Many parts of England are very different from the Scottish scene, where non-denominational schools predominate.
    Tunbridge Wells ( where this controversy took place) has 22 primary schools (exc. independent schools) made up of 14 C.of E. schools with 2903 places, only one RC school with 316 places and 7 non-denominational school with 1776 places. Some parents will not really have a choice of school for their child.

    I don’t know the content of the curriculum of this organisation is as it is not posted publicly. What we DO know is that it gave concern to parents. The school’s RE curriculum is posted publicly and states:

    “As a Church of England school, Religious Education and Collective Worship play an integral role in the daily routine at St John’s CE Primary School. Our curriculum is built on Christian principles and practices; promoting, moral and social responsibility, a concern for the environment and a respect for other faiths and cultures.

    R.E. teaching
    A fundamental part of that is delivery of high quality RE teaching. Christianity is taught for the majority of the time alongside other faiths. We give children the opportunity to explore and reflect on human experiences encouraging the development of sensitive attitudes. Moreover, it deals with difficult questions and creates room for debate on more complex issues.

    To enrich our RE curriculum, we have a range of visitors from local churches and other faith groups. Children are taught to empathise with different people in the community and understand the important role they play in making people special and unique.”

    Note how inclusively the school’s curriculum is worded. If this is what parents expected, perhaps it is not surprising they were alarmed if, as reports suggest, some of the CrossTeach’s curriculum was excluding and homophobic.

    To say that the C. of E ‘allegedly’ teaches the Christian faith, is patronising, autocratic and unworthy of you.

    i dolt think the Guardian was at its best in speaking of this as a British value as value is such a contested term. It is however a question of legality, and has been for 17 years – not 10. Discrimination against people on account of sexual orientation is enshrined in the Human Rights act which was incorporated in British law in 2000.

  6. What now for St John’s CofE school or any such school? Can this issue seriously just pass into history with no redress? The ignorance and confusion is appalling.

  7. Good article. I had not heard of this until it was mentioned in church this morning. Again I have to agree with you about the liberal elites; things have really become both ludicrous and worrying on the gender issue.

  8. I agree with a lot of the comments here about this apparently bizarre situation. As has been reported, all parents have a legal right to withdraw their children from assemblies and RE. This has been done for many years by Jehovah’s Witnesses without any fuss or bother. This would have been the immediate solution to these parents’ concerns, which suggests they have deliberately chosen to take a more aggressive position so that they can make decisions for other people’s children also.

    Secondly, and having spent a lot of time in Church schools over the last three years, I do think there is a renewed confidence in their identity as Christian establishments which David has perhaps missed from the Scottish perspective. The CoE seems increasingly aware that it has a bigger flock (potentially) in its schools than its churches, but perhaps the decline of terminally unfashionable ‘social religion’ has created more space. Children and their parents often have no background of any Christian teaching at all, so the Gospel is quite fresh to them! The challenge is to find enough teachers who also have an understanding.

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