Credit: Christian Voice Ireland

Rural TDs meet with Christian Voice Ireland over ‘politicisation and sexualisation’ of SPHE curriculum 

The Rural Independent Group has met with a group of Christian pastors to discuss their concerns over the new Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum. 

Pastors John Ahern, Valerian Jurjea, and Rev Mark Loughridge of Christian Voice Ireland met with TDs Michael Healy Rae, Mattie McGrath, Carol Nolan, Richard O’Donoghue and Michael Collins, last week.

The meeting came as it was revealed last week that first-year secondary school students are to learn about the influence of online porn, consent in sexual relationships, and gender identity and sexual orientation as part of the new sex education curriculum.

Lesson outcomes for the new Junior Cycle sex education syllabus were published last week by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). The new curriculum is to be introduced for students starting post-primary school this September. 

The changes have been met with controversy from some groups, particularly for the inclusion of gender ideology. In a draft document for the new syllabus, it is started in the learning outcomes for Junior Cycle students that: “Students should appreciate that sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are core parts of human identity, and each are experienced along a spectrum”.

The Catholic Primary School Management Association have been among groups to speak out in opposition to such teachings, with the group warning that transgender ideology should not be taught to students due to the risk of “psychological contagion”.

In a statement, Christian Voice Ireland (CVI) — a group which represents Christian faith leaders — said that they spoke to the TDs in a meeting last week to speak out against what they consider the “politicisation and sexualisation” of the education system. 

CVI presented the Rural Independents with a copy of a letter which the group sent to the Minister for Education and the Minister for Children, Dail TDs, and Senators regarding the proposed changes to the Junior Cert Curriculum which would include teaching on gender ideology and “radical” sex education.

The letter, signed by over 250 Church leaders across Ireland, is an “indication of the depth of feeling regarding this issue,” CVI said.

In a statement sent to Gript, Christian Voice Ireland explained that faith leaders of different nationalities, including those from Ireland, Romania, China, the Philippines, Africa and Brazil signed the letter – signalling what they described as broad-based opposition to changes to the curriculum. 

“The diversity in terms of both ethnicity and denomination affiliation is an indication of the depth of feeling regarding this issue, one we believe will be very destructive to children,” they said.

The letter calls on the Irish government to rescind proposed changes to the Junior Cert curriculum. It was written by Pastors John Ahern and Mark Loughridge and outlines concern regarding the inclusion of pornography and trans ideology in the school curriculum – highlighting the “devastating consequences” they envisage.

The letter highlights the “extensive damage” of pornography – which the pastors say they see “daily”.

“We are dealing with broken adults, whose issues in many cases began with exposure to this content as children – in some instances, leading to a lifetime of dysfunction and abusive behaviour. If these changes are implemented, there will be major repercussions for our society. “We believe exposing any child to pornography is dangerous,” the letter reads.

Regarding the inclusion of transgender ideology, CVI told the government that “as Christians and parents, we believe we have the right to teach our children a Biblical view of gender and sexuality”.

“We believe that it is the sole responsibility and right of parents to choose what and when to teach their children about sexuality – not teachers, politicians, or activists.”

CVI said they also speak for many teachers and principals “who are deeply uncomfortable at what they are being asked to teach.”

“They also feel pressured, even bullied, by decisions driven by activists who are interested in pursuing their own agenda rather than the welfare of children,” the letter reads.

CVI said they were appreciative of the Rural Independents having met with them to discuss their concerns – which they say are rooted in their Christian faith.

Credit: Christian Voice Ireland

“We really appreciate these TDs giving their time to meet with us. We need to pray for, and vote for politicians like this who courageously stand for truth and traditional family values,” they said.

They said that while they have requested a meeting with Minister for Education Norma Foley, “to date, this has not been granted”.

Addressing Minister Norma Foley on behalf of parents who do not want their children taught the new SPHE curriculum, the group said:

“Many Christians feel as though their kids are being indoctrinated. [The Minister] saying they can remove their kids [from these lessons] is not much use when both parents are working and struggling to put food on the table.”

CVI cautioned that unless Church leaders across Christian denominations begin to speak out, Ireland could resemble a “soviet state”.

“Unless Church leaders begin to speak out, freedom of speech and freedom of religion will continue to be eroded – to the point where our nation will resemble a soviet state,” they said, adding: “Tolerance and respect are a two way street”.

“The key issue is that these 253 Church leaders speak for tens of thousands of parents who do not agree with their kids being taught about transgenderism and other issues that come under the heading of radical sex education,” the group said.

“In a way they feel helpless, and clearly the government is not listening. The government claims to have consulted with parents, and that this is somehow fait accompli, when in reality, both Protestant and Catholic parents feel they were not consulted or listened to.”

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