Dozens of United Kingdom faith leaders have signed an open letter urging the government to rethink its Relationships and Sex Education plans.
The letter, published in the Church of England Newspaper today, argues that the planned rollout of the new compulsory RSE curriculum in September 2020 should be delayed in order for the serious concerns of parents and others to be properly responded to.
The letter says that more time is needed to ensure that the controversy is properly resolved.
Outlining several areas of concer, the letter warns that the RSE provisions “prematurely sexualize children and confuse their natural development”.
“Children from age 4 are being taught that gender is a matter of choice, which pushes them towards permanently life-changing decisions they lack the competence to make,” the letter reads.
Other concerns relate to the right of parental withdrawal and the introduction of teaching material without proper consultation with parents.
“Well-funded lobbying organisations are being allowed to promote their propaganda in schools. Such political activity is illegal and needs investigation,” it says.
“Much ideological material is being introduced top-down, without proper consultation and over-riding parental concerns.
“Many concerned parents, including those from minority ethnic communities, are being condemned for protesting against teaching that violates their faith or best judgement. Schools have not respected their concerns. This overrides their civil liberties and human rights as parents.”
It adds: “The parental right to withdraw children from teaching they deem inappropriate has been downgraded at secondary level to a right of request. This is a violation of parental rights under UK and international law.”
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, Lord Curry of Kirkharle, Dr A Majid Katme, former President of the Islamic Medical Association UK, Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, and Rabbi Shraga Stern are just some of the people who have signed the letter.
Rev Lynda Rose, Chief Executive of Voice for Justice UK said: “The implementation of these RSE regulations risks sexualising young children and escalating the prevalence of gender confusion with all its associated problems. Sex education has not been a success as it stands.
“The plan to increase and expand the content of sex education is a social experiment with no support from science or experience.
“The Government is riding roughshod over the rights of parents, many of whom have well-founded religious, or other objections, to their young children being sexualised in this way.
“The Government needs to listen to these concerns before curtailing parental rights and making these regulations mandatory.”
Judith Nemeth, Executive Director of the Values Foundation said: “I, and many others in the Jewish community, profoundly disagree with the RSE regulations that are proposed which we view as contrary to our religious beliefs and therefore antisemitic.
“I have raised multiple concerns, including serious scientific studies that call these proposals into question. The Government urgently needs to address these concerns and the rights of parents up and down the land.
“We call on the Government to delay the implementation of these regulations to allow time for further consultation and to make provision for the religious rights of minority groups such as the Jewish community.”