Another day, another reminder that the Church of England is living in a different century.
The Church of England has stated that schools should teach abstinence and celibacy, as well as asserted that they understand “marriage as the context for sexual relationships”. If there was ever an opinion we all already knew and really didn’t need repeating, it was this one.
Why the Church of England still has any authority over young people is absolutely baffling. Yet, currently Church of England schools exist and can dictate what sex, romantic and relationship education their students and pupils receive. Furthermore, bishops even have spots in the House of Lords which means they have a say in what laws get passed – and attempts to make SRE compulsory and inclusive over the years have failed with legislators knowing full well that while bishops have a limited number of places in the Lords, they’re loud and influential enough to put up a fight against any sort of progressive agenda.
Studies have shown that abstinence and celibacy just do not work. Ideology and dogma should never come before safety. Young people need to be informed, and they need to feel empowered to make their own choices no matter what they may be. The only things adults have to do is educate and support.
“Ideology and dogma should never come before safety”
The Church of England might be more convincing in their moral concern if they weren’t being so hypocritical. They claim to recognise sexual relationships in the context of marriage, and yet don’t recognise same-sex marriage. Such positioning is flat out erasure of people who are attracted to people of the same gender. Furthermore, the Church of England does not have an inclusive policy regarding asexual people. It doesn’t even recognise them. The Christian view is that people should not be sexual, but when they find the ‘one’ then they become magically whole and sexual beings (but in an entirely moral way where nice sex only happens once a week). It completely undermines asexual people and presents the idea that they are broken and are waiting to be fixed by the right person.
The Church of England is an arbitrary force that should not be influencing the education of young people, particularly on matters where they are hugely biased and have a track record of ignoring evidence. Schools are under enough pressure without being dragged to a more conservative time due to moral prudishness. Young people will have sex, and that’s okay. What matters is that they are safe. They cannot be safe though if we continue to give them the wrong information, and withhold all advice about how to be healthy and empowered. If the Church of England can’t put the needs of young people first, then it really has no business commenting on how they should be educated.
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