Tuesday 05 July 2022

Orthodox Protestant schools continue to teach gay lifestyle is bad

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Two years after it emerged orthodox Protestant schools were requiring parents to sign a covenant rejecting homosexuality, the number of schools with an anti-gay charter has increased from 29 to 36, current affairs programme Pointer has found.

At the time the then-education minister Arie Slob, a member of orthodox Christian party ChristenUnie, said schools had the constitutional freedom to decide how they dealt with issues of religion and sexuality.

A day later, following an outcry, Slob backtracked from his position and said the statements needed to be studied more closely.

Most of the online profiles the tv programme looked at included a statement to the effect that the Bible regards sexuality as ‘part of the unbreakable bond through marriage between one man and one woman and is seen in this light’.

The education ministry carried out an investigation into Christian schools’ charters in 2020 and 2021. A spokesman said the Biblical reference was not an explicit rejection of homosexuality – which would be subject to prosecution – but did pose ‘a risk’ to school safety.

In these cases, the ministry said, the way the school’s identity is shaped in practice would be closely scrutinised.

‘School inspectors will be monitoring if pupils feel safe at school, and how the school approaches curriculum-based subjects such as sexuality and sexual diversity. We will also investigate if comments by school officials are creating an unsafe climate,’ a ministry spokesman told Pointer.

Umbrella organisation VGS, which represents 175 Christian primary and secondary schools with a total of 68,000 pupils, said their members do offer a safe climate but that ‘a homosexual way of life is not in line with our faith and the Bible’.

‘If that is what you think that is what you will teach, even if it goes against what society thinks. We realise this all too well,’ VGS chairman Pieter Moens told the programme.

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