The Snitch and the Inquisitors

Let’s have a closer look at how the Farmor’s School treated one of their workers who just happened to be a Christian.

According to the Tribunal report:

10.  On 26 October 2018, Mr Evans was sent an email from someone outside the School making a complaint about Mrs Higgs. Mrs Higgs had made a posting on Facebook and the complainant asserted that she had demonstrated homophobic and prejudiced views against the LGBT community. The relevant post is essentially a reposting of a piece written by someone other than Mrs Higgs to which she had added “Please read this! They are brainwashing our children!” and an exhortation to sign a petition. The post relates to the teaching in schools of same sex relationships, same sex marriage and gender being “a matter of choice”.

The “complainant” is the Snitch.  And notice that the Snitch is someone from outside the School and not a parent.  The Snitch merely asserts that Higgs is “homophobic and prejudiced” against the LGTB community because she forwarded a petition (on her personal FB page) that opposed children being taught “that all relationships are equally valid and “normal,” so that same sex marriage is exactly the same as traditional marriage, and that gender is a matter of choice, not biology. so it’s up to them what sex they are.”

Even the Farmor Inquisitors realized this was weak tea and needed something more meaty if they were to launch their Inquisition.  So they actually reached out to the Snitch:

11. Mr Evans replied to the complainant on 29 October to thank her for her report and telling her it would be helpful “if you have access to any similarly offensive posts” also made by Mrs Higgs if she forwarded screenshots.

So the Snitch searched through Higgs entire FB site and was able to find…….. one other example:

As a result, Mr Evans was sent another example of Mrs Higgs reposting articles again written by a third party. The article relates to gender fluidity, describing it as a “perverted vision” and the complainant expresses the view that Mrs Higgs “seems to find…obnoxious” a category of person that would include several children at the School. This would appear to be a reference to LBGT pupils.

At this point, the Snitch is whispering into the Inquisitor’s ear.  Higgs only posted a link to that article and the words “perverted vision” are not found on Higgs FB page.  As I mentioned previously, Higgs likely linked to that article merely to draw attention to the type of books (Jacob Has a New Dress) one school district was making six year old children read.   The Snitch becomes truly devious when it whispers, she “seem to find….obnoxious.”  Higgs made no such claim.

And that’s it.

After looking through Higg’s personal FB account, that’s all the Snitch was able to come up with.  Oddly enough, the Snitch was able to remain anonymous.  Was he/she a personal enemy of Higgs?  An extreme LGBT activist?  A militant New Atheist?  Whatever the case, the Snitch was clearly out to harm Higgs and the Inquisitors would pick it up from there.  They embraced the Snitch at face value.

The Inquisition begins:

 13. Mr Evans took the view that Mrs Higgs should be suspended. Mrs Dorey called her to Mr Evan’s office on 31 October and he informed her of her suspension, which he confirmed in a letter at page 105 of the bundle.

It took Mr. Evans about 24 hours to decide his employee, who worked there for six years without problem, should be suspended.   It sounds to me like Mr. Evans was itching to firing Higgs.  Is Mr. Evans an atheist?  Does he have issues with those “religious people?” One might perceive it to be this way.

14. Mrs Dorey was appointed to investigate the allegations against Mrs Higgs and met her on 8 November. A full note of that meeting was produced by her to which, at Mrs Dorey’s invitation, Mrs Higgs made amendments.

15. A further meeting took place between Mrs Dorey and Mrs Higgs on 20 November. Mrs Dorey informed Mrs Higgs that she (Mrs Dorey) had accessed Mrs Higgs’ email account. Mrs Higgs appeared to consider there was something suspicious about this but we accepted the evidence of Mrs Dorey to the effect that this was a perfectly normal procedure, in circumstances where Mrs Higgs was suspended and parents might be writing to Mrs Higgs expecting a reply.

So now the Inquisitors went through all her emails.  And apparently, nothing new to add as nothing from her emails was cited to support their case.  Again, all we have is the evidence from the Snitch – two harmless personal FB postings (one just a link to another article).  Remember throughout all this,  there is no evidence that one single student or person at Farmor’s School was harmed by these two obscure internet postings.  None.

16. Again, Mrs Dorey produced a note of that meeting which was amended by Mrs Higgs at the invitation of Mrs Dorey. 17. Mr Evans decided that matters should proceed to the disciplinary stage and on 4 December 2018 Mrs Higgs was sent a letter by him inviting her to a disciplinary hearing on 19 December and setting out the allegations against her. Mrs Higgs was provided with a bundle of documents, which included Mrs Dorey’s investigation report.

19. Mr Conlan chaired the disciplinary hearing. The allegations were to be determined by him and two of his fellow governors. Also present was a notetaker and a representative of HR, together with Mrs Dorey to present the case the case against Mrs Higgs. Mrs Higgs told us that too many people were present for the School but for our part we could not see whose services should have been dispensed with.

So this Inquisition required SIX Inquisitors, with their “bundle of papers”  to make their case against this one woman for posting on her personal FB page.  Six vs. One.  1,2,3,4,5, and 6 vs.  1.  When your case is weak, bring in the numbers.  And what happened during this Inquiisition?  Not sure.  But this web page reports the following:

When the day of inquisition arrived, Kristie Higgs was asked why there were Bible quotations in emails she had received on her school computer. Her Facebook posts (on a private page) were compared to “pro-Nazi” views, and she was accused of being intolerant, and so a danger to children.

She proffered an explanation for her actions which included a defence of her faith, but was tersely told: “Keep your religion out of it.” She was accused of “illegal discrimination”, “serious inappropriate use of social media”, and “online comments that could bring the school into disrepute and damage the reputation of the school” (despite the Facebook page being private, the school not being mentioned, and her posting under her maiden name).

She was lectured: “As an inclusive employer, Farmor’s school recognises and protects the statutory rights of its staff. Such rights however are not absolute and we are concerned that you did not demonstrate an appropriate understanding of the school’s requirement to respect and tolerate the views of others and to role model such behaviour.”

When Kristie Higgs asked against whom she had discriminated, she was told: “You had not directly discriminated against one person, rather it was about the words you had used that could be perceived as discrimination.”

I’m not sure if this is accurate, but if it is, this is quite disturbing.  It indicates anti-Christian bigots were in charge of the disciplinary hearing.  Why does it matter if there were Bible quotes in emails she received?!    That would only be relevant to  a Christophobic bigot.  And whoever said tersely, “Keep your religion out of it” is very likely to be an anti-religious bigot.  “Your religion?”  If Higgs was black, and the inquisitor said “you people always say that,” we’d immediately  recognize that as racism unmasked.  Well, the terse “your religion” is analogous to “you people.”  It’s what an anti-religious bigot would say.

They play the Hitler card and then they lie.  Having to admit there is no evidence she ever discriminated against anyone, they insist the words she used could be perceived as discrimination.  But those words were not authored by Higgs and would only be found by clicking on the article she linked to. 

Put simply, the school had no evidence she did anything wrong.  No one was discriminated against.  No one was harmed.  The only person harmed in this entire incident is Kristie Higgs.  She is the victim.  Farmor’s school is the victimizer.  And the words they use could, as they said themselves, be perceived as discrimination.  It sure looks like Farmor’s school discriminated against Higgs for being a Christian.  Farmor’s School sure looks like it is unsafe for Christian students.

Finally, we’re left with this oddity:

58. The letter of dismissal makes a number of references to the email of complaint, pointing out that the complainant took offence and described the posts as homophobic and prejudiced against the LGBT community.

Why does this Snitch, who was not associated with the school,  play such an important role in her dismissal? The Snitch is the only one complaining, and they are not associated with the school. Yet they are treated as some type of authority.

The letter also talks of the language in the posts being inflammatory and quite extreme

Which are lies.  Higgs did not write inflammatory and quite extreme postings.  On the contrary, after looking through hundreds of FB postings and emails, given that these two single FB postings  is all they had, shows you just how pathetic and weak their case was.  Given the weakness of the case, the lack of evidence, the heavy reliance on an anonymous person who could easily  be an activist out to cause trouble, and the mean, nasty way they treated Higgs, I have no respect, ethical or intellectual, for the administration at Farmor’s school.  They are nothing more than victimizers impressed with their own power.

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8 Responses to The Snitch and the Inquisitors

  1. apollyon911 says:

    The intolerance of the Christophe (likely atheist). As usual. They love tyranny.

  2. So whoever is in a position of power and influence over the culture gets to make arbitrary and subjective judgements without being accountable to any higher authority.

    All hail the postmodern secular age.

  3. Dhay says:

    > Given the weakness of the case, the lack of evidence, the heavy reliance on an anonymous person who could easily be an activist out to cause trouble, and the mean, nasty way they treated Higgs, I have no respect, ethical or intellectual, for the administration at Farmor’s school. They are nothing more than victimizers impressed with their own power.

    I agree. Paragraph 55 of the judgement records the four – really, it amounts to two – allegations (charges) made by the School administration against Katie Higgs at her disciplinary hearing: 1a and 3 accuse Higgs of “illegal discrimination”

    The allegations made by the School administration against Higgs included – I have excluded those which were duplicates and the bits stating that these contravened parts of the School’s Conduct Policy – illegal discrimination and damaging the School’s reputation:

    55. The … allegations … were
    1 …a. …any illegal discrimination
    b. …online comments that could bring the school into disrepute
    3 …communications … that could be interpreted as illegal discrimination
    4 …made comments on your Facebook account that could damage the reputation of the school.

    Need it be said that if the School administration believed Higgs had broken the law – criminal law – by alleged illegal discrimination, the proper course of action that the School should have taken was to report it to the police as a crime to be investigated and possibly tried in a criminal court.

    I’ll assume from the absence of mention that the School did not in fact do so, and I’ll ask why it is that the School should take it upon itself to try what it itself claims is a criminal case instead of reporting the facts as known to the police and letting the law take its course. It is not appropriate for School staff and governors to appoint themselves prosecutor, judge and jury and pronounce verdict in what they evidently believe is a criminal matter, nor appropriate for the School to cover up an alleged possible crime.

    The School’s kangaroo-court action is especially reprehensible in view of the presumption of innocence of any crime until and unless found guilty of it in a court of law, and in view of the School’s own uncertainty – uncertainty evident in Allegation 1’s “any” and in Allegation 3’s “interpreted as” – as to whether there had in fact been any actual illegal discrimination by Higgs.

    Read the judge’s report of the case, as linked in the OP: in the summing-up, 74 (h), the judge says that the School dismissed Higgs because they genuinely believed that she had committed gross misconduct: it was because the bench found that that genuine belief – mere belief, note, even if sincerely held – was the reason why Higgs was dismissed, ie not direct discrimination against her on the ground of religion as Higgs had claimed – that was the reason Higgs’ legal claim and case failed. Nowhere does the judge declare that the School was right to accuse Higgs of illegal discrimination. Nowhere does the judge declare that Higgs’ Facebook posts amounted to illegal discrimination, nowhere that she should rightly have been prosecuted.

    (Wrong claim, I say, based on bad legal advice. I suspect Higgs’ backers – the law is expensive – wanted to hammer – proverbially, when you have a hammer everything becomes a nail – at alleged discrimination on religious grounds; and lost sight of the wider issues.)

    *

    Then there’s the allegations, 1 b and 4, of bringing the School into disrepute and damaging its reputation. I hate Codes of Conduct which explicitly include that as an offence; it’s a vague as heck catch-all accusation, easy to allege in lieu of a specific offence, hard to disprove because so vague; and in my experience it’s too often abused to silence its victim. Sometimes, as here, it’s explicit; sometimes, as when a hospital whistleblower on bad practice is denied promotion or shunned, it’s just part of the culture, implicit. It’s abusive either way.

    Did Higgs in fact damage the School’s reputation or bring the School into disrepute? One solitary person complained to the School; nobody complained or objected in the comments under either of the Facebook posts – we know this because the complainant would have brought such to the School’s attention and had there been any they would have been used in evidence against Higgs by the School and also feature in the judge’s report; nobody emailed Higgs at the School – the staff examined them and, again, had there been any they would have been used in evidence against Higgs by the School and also feature in the judge’s report.

    And the complainant and the School staff had continuing access to the obvious avenues of complaint and were well aware that none more had come in: in the nearly eight weeks until the disciplinary hearing, and the nearly sixteen weeks until the appeal to the School governors, it must have become increasingly obvious that there had been no reputational damage to the School – there’s not even reference to informal mutterings from parents, pupils or public.

    Just one complaint from that one person alleging a hypothetical “animus…” imagined “…against the LGBT community, and trans people in particular.”

    *

    There is in some quarters of atheism much noisy opposition to blasphemy laws – Hemant Mehta on Friendly Atheist and Michael Sherlock Tweeting officially as CEO of AAI spring readily to mind – and I see a blasphemy parallel here: the complainant (the Snitch) is evidently a ‘Woke’ person, a Woke person who has accused Katie Higgs of blasphemy against Woke-ism.

    It seems incongrous that Mehta should crow about a Christian being punished for a blasphemy.

  4. Dhay says:

    > 0. On 26 October 2018, Mr Evans was sent an email from someone outside the School making a complaint about Mrs Higgs. Mrs Higgs had made a posting on Facebook and the complainant asserted that she had demonstrated homophobic and prejudiced views against the LGBT community. The relevant post is essentially a reposting of a piece written by someone other than Mrs Higgs to which she had added “Please read this! They are brainwashing our children!” and an exhortation to sign a petition. The post relates to the teaching in schools of same sex relationships, same sex marriage and gender being “a matter of choice”.

    I found the petition that Kristie Higgs urged her Facebook friends to sign; I didn’t find it on the CitizenGo website Higgs linked to, the link is dead, but there’s what’s either a copy of the petition (or possibly a separate petition with similar wording) on the Voice for Justice UK website. I quote here most but not all of it:

    [Dead link to the CitizenGo petition.]
    The attempted push by LGBT activists to make teaching about alternative lifestyles and sexualities compulsory for all children from the age of 4 is a declaration of war against Christianity. It suppresses freedom of belief as enshrined in the Bible, and denies the right to free speech. Worse, it is a form of indoctrination of young minds, who have no experience or understanding of the possible outcomes of different behaviours and who, by definition, lack the emotional and intellectual maturity to judge such issues for themselves.

    LGBT activists argue that failure to teach the new morality will mean children are not prepared for modern life and will grow up intolerant [Link to an article.] The practical effect of this pernicious policy is to silence faith groups, saying they are not allowed to voice their beliefs in public, and that parents are not allowed to transmit those beliefs to their children, on the grounds that it is religious indoctrination.

    This malign reframing of education is a species of ideological totalitarianism, determinedly suppressing any and all views that cast doubt on the ‘new’ morality.

    We respectfully remind the Minister of State for Education and his department that, under the Equality Act 2010, religion is listed alongside such things as age, disability, gender reassignment, race and sex, as a protected characteristic. Discrimination against all these groups, in whatever setting, is therefore unlawful. Whatever pressure they may exert, LGBT groups do not have hierarchical priority over other groups [Link to Equality Act 2010.]

    We further point out that the twin freedoms of belief and of speech are enshrined respectively in Articles 9 and 10 the European Convention of Human Rights, to which the UK is a signatory [Linked.] Article 2 of this same Convention further states, ‘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.’
    [My emboldening.]

    https://vfjuk.org.uk/news-updates/uphold-the-right-of-parents-to-have-children-educated-in-line-with-their-religious-beliefs/

    The petition and its wording are such that a reasonable person might well sign up to it. I can see that an LGBT activist might dislike the petition and its wording, but what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; after dismissing Higgs’ claim of harassment (as defined for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010) the judge commented:

    75. In short, this was an unexceptional disciplinary process. Whilst it clearly would have been unpleasant for Mrs Higgs to experience it, we were not satisfied that the conduct had either the purpose or effect of violating her dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for her.

    So let’s turn that around: whilst it clearly would be unpleasant for the complainant (or an LGBT activist, if different) to read the Facebook posts and the petition and judybeth post that they linked to, I am not satisfied that their doing so would have the effect of violating their dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.

    Ditto the School authorities.

    (In view of the great weight placed upon the solitary complaint, I wonder whether the complainant was not a mere member of the ordinary public but themselves a member of the School authorities – perhaps a senior staff member, perhaps a school governor – resulting in a closing of ranks in support.)

    > [11.] …As a result, Mr Evans was sent another example of Mrs Higgs reposting articles again written by a third party. The article relates to gender fluidity, describing it as a “perverted vision” and the complainant expresses the view that Mrs Higgs “seems to find…obnoxious” a category of person that would include several children at the School. This would appear to be a reference to LBGT pupils.

    There’s a failure of understanding on the part of the complainant and of the School’s leadership; perhaps it’s even a wilful failure of understanding: Kristie Higgs didn’t object to LGBT pupils at her school, she didn’t object to LGBT children, she objected to adults promoting LGBT sexual behaviour in schools. Ditto the petition, ditto judybeth.

    That “Mrs Higgs “seems to find…obnoxious”” from the complainant looks like projection: rather, the complainant seems to find Higgs’ words (or perhaps Higgs herself; or perhaps her Christian views) obnoxious.

    > When the day of inquisition arrived, Kristie Higgs was asked why there were Bible quotations in emails she had received on her school computer. Her Facebook posts (on a private page) were compared to “pro-Nazi” views, and she was accused of being intolerant, and so a danger to children.

    Accusing someone, either directly or by insinuation, of having “pro-Nazi” views is always silly: what are pro-Nazi views, which particular pro-Nazi views did Higgs allegedly express in her Facebook posts, and what on earth is a Nazi nowadays (with named examples of today’s Nazis, please.) In the absence of answers, the accusation is empty verbiage.

    > 18. Mrs Higgs was told that she could attend the disciplinary hearing with a trade union representative or work colleague. She informed Mr Evans that she was not a member of a trade union and had no work colleague who could accompany her and asked to be accompanied by her pastor but Mr Evans refused that request (although the pastor attended as a witness). The School was entitled to take that position.

    Six to one. It occurs to me that who Higgs needed at her side during the disciplinary hearing (and questioning and challenging proceedings throughout) was not a trade union official, not a work colleague – note how these specifically exclude competent counsel – nor her pastor: she needed a solicitor (a lawyer); a good solicitor would, certainly should, have torn up the chargesheet for toilet paper.

    “Illegal discrimination” which is “any illegal discrimination” – sub-text, if there’s any – and “that could be interpreted as illegal discrimination” – sub-text, let the imagination run wild.

    “Bring the school into disrepute” / “could damage the reputation of the school” – sub-text, one person’s bad opinion allegedly destroys the school’s reputation.

    Yes, I’d love to have a transcript of the very different disciplinary hearing – if it got that far, bearing in mind the complainant and School had libeled Higgs – had Higgs had a solicitor present.

    *

    “A reasonable employer…”, writes the judge:

    65. …It might be contended that there was a different course of action the School could have taken, in the light of the position made clear by Mrs Higgs in the disciplinary process. Since she denied being homophobic or transphobic, a reasonable employer might have taken the view that justice would be served by her (or the School) making it clear that if anyone thought she held those views they had got “the wrong end of the stick” – that pupils and parents should not be concerned that she would demonstrate any sort of hostility to gay or trans pupils (or indeed gay or trans parents).

    But the School was not a reasonable employer.

    (The cynic in me says that the complainant may well have threatened the School, giving the School the unpleasant choice of either caving in and sacking Higgs, promptly, with no compromise or any attempt to be “a reasonable employer”, otherwise the complainant would activate the nuclear option and seek to create a massive stink with the express intention of… of harming or destroying the School’s reputation – Higgs’ reputation, too.. That’s a two-year old’s dictatorship via wobbly fit, though it’s behaviour that seems to be associated all too commonly with the ‘Woke’.)

  5. Dhay says:

    “A reasonable employer…”, I think the judge is saying, would have stuck up for their staff member against anyone who “had got “the wrong end of the stick””.

    This one didn’t.

    *

    Humanists UK, who Hemant Mehta quotes in his post on Higgs’ failed case, has posted on the new RSE guidance (which I linked to in the first Higgs thread):

    The guidance, which is designed to help school leaders and teachers prepare to teach the new curriculum that came into force on 1 September, says resources used by teachers must come from a ‘credible source’. It also instructs schools to ‘exercise extreme caution’ when working with external agencies, taking care to avoid working with groups that ‘take or promote extreme positions’.

    https://humanism.org.uk/2020/09/24/rse-teaching-resources-must-be-evidence-based-and-feature-robust-facts-and-statistics-says-new-government-guidance/

    I can vouch that it does indeed say that. However, it is a mistake for the Woke and SJWs to assume that “groups that ‘take or promote extreme positions’” are limited to evangelical Christian groups: I am sure that those who advocate that Queer ideology should be taught in schools — and especially any who actually do so — are also groups to ‘exercise extreme caution’ about, are groups that ‘take or promote extreme positions’, are groups to take care to avoid working with.

  6. Dhay says:

    > And whoever said tersely, “Keep your religion out of it” is very likely to be an anti-religious bigot.

    I also functions as a tacit denial — or an attempt at denial — that Kristie Higgs’ views are religious views that are protected views under the Equality Act 2010; it’s an attempt to deny Higgs her rights and protections. Rights and protections which the judge confirmed she did have:

    42. The belief that sex and gender are “set at birth” may be upsetting to certain people but if freedom of speech and the rights within articles 9 and 10 of the Convention only extended to expressions of belief that could upset no-one they would be worthless. Essentially, to find as the tribunals did in the cases to which we were referred would amount to a declaration that it is “open season” on people that hold and express the beliefs in question – that they do not deserve protection. That seemed to us to be a strange and somewhat disturbing conclusion.

    43. We also bore in mind that while it is undoubtedly the case that some people would find the views expressed by Mrs Higgs as to gender fluidity offensive, the same could no doubt be said about her views on same sex marriage, which clearly did attract protection.

    45. In short, we concluded that the beliefs in question did satisfy the final test in Grainger and therefore that Mrs Higgs’ beliefs in relation to gender fluidity attracted the protection of the Equality Act.

    I am also minded of the paragraph in the Voice for Justice UK petition to the Education Minister — it’s quoted and linked above — that says:

    We respectfully remind the Minister of State for Education and his department that, under the Equality Act 2010, religion is listed alongside such things as age, disability, gender reassignment, race and sex, as a protected characteristic. Discrimination against all these groups, in whatever setting, is therefore unlawful. Whatever pressure they may exert, LGBT groups do not have hierarchical priority over other groups.

    That “Whatever pressure they may exert, LGBT groups do not have hierarchical priority over other groups” is the law. Buckling under pressure — very little in this case — to give LGBT groups hierarchical priority over other groups is unlawful.

    Whoever said “Keep your religion out of it” will already know that — or should know it, as a senior member of staff; famously, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.

  7. Dhay says:

    The original complaint against Kristie Higgs, one which the complainant evidently considered sufficient in itself to make a serious accusation against Higgs, was:

    10. On 26 October 2018, Mr Evans was sent an email from someone outside the School making a complaint about Mrs Higgs. Mrs Higgs had made a posting on Facebook and the complainant asserted that she had demonstrated homophobic and prejudiced views against the LGBT community. The relevant post is essentially a reposting of a piece written by someone other than Mrs Higgs to which she had added “Please read this! They are brainwashing our children!” and an exhortation to sign a petition. The post relates to the teaching in schools of same sex relationships, same sex marriage and gender being “a matter of choice”.

    The Head evidently considered that original complaint against Kristie Higgs was insufficient on its own:

    11. Mr Evans replied to the complainant on 29 October to thank her for her report and telling her it would be helpful “if you have access to any similarly offensive posts” also made by Mrs Higgs if she forwarded screenshots.

    Not “Would you please provide…”, but “It would be helpful…”! (The judge is either directly quoting Evans’ reply or providing an accurate paraphrase.) “Helpful”! Evans wants to receive more “helpful” evidence against Higgs.

    And it’s not “access to other posts you find offensive” — ie subjectively, in her opinion — Evans’ phrasing tells me he assumes that “any similarly offensive posts” are objectively offensive

    Plainly Evans had made up his mind already, based just on the one post first brought to his attention, and is now already seeking means sufficient to hang Higgs out to dry. (That trawling expedition produced only one post that might serve; he treated it as sufficient.)

    But it was the Facebook post encouraging Higgs’ Facebook Friends to sign up to the petition, and the petition itself, which the complainant and Evans originally considered an “offensive post”.

    Let’s compare, let’s look back a bit, to a 2006 petition sent to the UK Government:

    The petition, authored by one Jamie Wallis using a service on the #10 Downing Street website that allows users to write their own petitions and gather signatures right there for the PM’s consideration, reads as follows:

    We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Make it illegal to indoctrinate or define children by religion before the age of 16. In order to encourage free thinking, children should not be subjected to any regular religious teaching or be allowed to be defined as belonging to a particular religious group based on the views of their parents or guardians. At the age of 16, as with other laws, they would then be considered old enough and educated enough to form their own opinion and follow any particular religion (or none at all) through free thought.

    Signed Richard Dawkins.

    [Original website link dead, petition text copied from:
    http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2006/12/has-dawkins-totally-jumped-shark.html%5D

    Here we have a teacher, a very prominent, very famous teacher, Richard Dawkins, no less, the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford until 2008, signing a petition which would criminalise parents for as little as taking their children to church.

    That’s offensively, outrageously, bigoted! Dawkins should have been sacked. The petition Higgs signed up to is weak tea in comparison.

    *

    “Give me a boy until he is sixteen, and I will show you the man,” a Jesuit is said to have proclaimed. Looks like it takes seven years to make a Christian, but fully sixteen to make an atheist.

  8. Dhay says:

    The Voice for Justice UK petition included:

    Whatever pressure they may exert, LGBT groups do not have hierarchical priority over other groups [Link to Equality Act 2010.]

    On a related note, in an article titled and subtitled “Teachers presenting white privilege as fact are breaking the law, minister warns:‘We do not want to see teachers teaching their white pupils about white privilege and inherited racial guilt’, women and equalities minister tells MPs” — in that article the Independent has reported that the women and equalities minister told MPs in Parliament — you don’t get more official than that — that:

    Responding to the general debate on Black History Month being held by MPs, Kemi Badenoch took to the despatch box to describe critical race theory as “an ideology that sees my blackness as victimhood and their whiteness as oppression”. … “We do not want to see teachers teaching their white pupils about white privilege and inherited racial guilt” she told the Commons. … the government was against “the teaching of contested political ideas as if they are accepted fact”. … “We do not want to see teachers teaching their white pupils about white privilege and inherited racial guilt”. … “And let me be clear, any school which teaches these elements of critical race theory as fact, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views is breaking the law.“

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/kemi-badenoch-black-history-month-white-privilege-black-lives-matter-b1189547.html

    (There’s an embedded video of her address to Parliament.)

    This is very British: yes, you can teach contested views, provided you also teach the controversy, the contrasting and opposing views, in a balanced treatment. Not to do so is to break the law — a part of the law she is as relevant minister responsible for setting, knowing and clarifying, so that’s very, very official.

    If I read the general principle right, in the UK there’s officially and explicitly no hierarchical priority of Woke and SJW views over any others.

    Here, the minister refers (primarily, while touching on related politicised teaching) to the promotion — don’t! — of critical race theory in schools. By extension that same reasoning applies to the age-inappropriate and politicised teaching that Kristie Higgs opposed herself and urged others to petition against.

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