Jennifer Gold writes in Christian Today:
The Roman Catholic Church has spoken out against a proposed new code of conduct for school teachers, saying that it could force teachers who refuse to promote Islam and gay rights out of the profession.
The warning was issued by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to the General Teaching Council. It said that the code could seriously undermine the religious character of Church schools and would impose on them a hostile secular morality, reports the Daily Mail.
Principle 4 of the code, which will be legally binding, states that teachers must “proactively challenge discrimination” and “promote equality and value diversity in all their professional relationships and interactions”, before they can become registered teachers.
In a written submission to the General Teaching Council, Oona Stannard, head of the Catholic Education Service, said “there was an understandable fear that the call to ‘proactively challenge discrimination’ could be used to oppose faith schools per se, and the rights that they have in law, for example, to select leaders who are of the faith”.
She added that the same was true of the code’s call to “promote equality”.
“It would be unacceptable to expect anyone to be required to promote something contrary to their own faith beliefs and, indeed, it would not be possible for a person of faith to promote another faith – this is a matter of conscience," said Stannard.
There are fears that the new code could lead to equality campaigners filing complaints against teachers who fail to follow the new rules.