Comments: CofE responds to government consultation on Sex Education

'Pupils should be taught about the value of abstinence and celibacy as part of their sex education lessons, the Church of England has said.' (Telegraph)

This is quite extraordinary given that the bishops and ministers of the C of E are not known to practice celibacy themselves !

Let this be taught, if at all, only by lifelong celibates - we have no need of further obfuscation and hypocrisy, have we not ?

Posted by Laurie Roberts at Tuesday, 13 March 2018 at 4:52pm GMT

So abstinence before marriage is recommended. Standard stuff. The difficulty is that CofE doesn't recommend or recognise same sex marriage so the proposal effectively amounts to a recommendation of abstinence for LGBT pupils.

Similarly, sexual health in the document focuses on heterosexual sex and leaves gay and lesbian sex out of the picture

Posted by Kate at Tuesday, 13 March 2018 at 5:18pm GMT

"RSE should teach the diversity of healthy relationships, lifestyle choices and beliefs and schools must be given the flexibility to reflect their own ethos and values as well as that of their local context. This must include their context of belief, faith and religion. In Church schools RSE must be culturally and community
sensitive as well as encompass the teachings of the Church, including the Christian understanding of marriage as the context for sexual relationships and the importance of trust, loyalty, fidelity and choice as
well as the understanding of abstinence and celibacy as positive life choices."

I think that's largely very positive.
As a parent, I would fully endorse an emphasis on relationships and on celibacy as a positive life-choice.

I respect that the church officially teaches that sex is for marriage. And the document rightly says that this should apply to church schools (only).

I don't share that view, and as a parent, it gives me the ability to talk about why the church might believe that but why it might not necessarily be a valid point of view for my children's lives.


Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 13 March 2018 at 5:40pm GMT

'In its response to the government's consultation on what content should be included in the guidance, the Church of England says pupils should be taught that "humans express their sexuality differently and that there is diversity in sexual desire".

It also says that pupils with same-sex or trans parents, those who have LGBT+ family members – and those who may identify as LGBT+ – should feel included and find relationships education helpful.'

Interesting. Is this the same Church of England that refuses to ordain anyone who 'expresses their sexuality differently'?

Posted by David Emmott at Tuesday, 13 March 2018 at 6:56pm GMT

To Kate, if I may make a minor but significant friendly amendment to your statement:

"CofE doesn't recommend or recognise same sex marriage so the proposal effectively amounts to a recommendation of LIFELONG abstinence for LGBT pupils."

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Tuesday, 13 March 2018 at 8:19pm GMT

A crucial sentence in the response is the following:
"In Church schools, the Christian understanding of marriage as a spiritual relationship based on Christ’s relationship with the church will be key, as will the Christian teaching of marriage as the context for sexual expression." However, nowhere is the response explicit that this rules out same-sex marriage. Either that's taken for granted, or the document is carefully written to allow for possibility that the Church of England's official position might change in the future. Or it's deliberately written to be ambiguous. Or it's actually playing to a particular part of its own gallery. Or some or all of these.

Erika is right that the relevant part of the response applies to church schools only but that includes about 23% of all state schools (source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/maintained-faith-schools/maintained-faith-schools). The proportion is, of course, higher for primary schools and lower for secondaries. So this isn't just what would be taught to a small "religious" minority.

Posted by Bernard Silverman at Wednesday, 14 March 2018 at 10:30am GMT

"In Church schools the Christian understanding ..,"

Why should the Christian understanding be any less important in non-Church schools? Is this another instance of the Church abandoning the people? The majority of Catholics attend Catholic schools. For historical reasons the majority of Protestants do not attend CofE schools, that does not mean they have less right to be given a Christian understanding on any subject than their peers in denominational schools. They are not swine, unworthy to be cast the pearls, but residents in a Christian country with an established Church which owes them a Christian education.


Posted by T Pott at Wednesday, 14 March 2018 at 4:11pm GMT
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