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This is a battle coming soon to a Catholic school near you, namely the clash between demands that school introduce anti-gay bullying programmes and the insistence by the Church that such programmes would contradict the identity and ethos of Catholic (and other denominational) schools.
This clash is particularly intense in Ontario, Canada at present where a bill is being debated that would force all schools to introduce ‘gay/straight’ clubs. Obviously, the bishops of Ontario have a big problem with this with respect to their schools.
Their counterproposal is that they instead introduce generic anti-bullying programmes and clubs which among other things target bullying of gays without singling out gays and lesbians from all the other categories of people who can be bullied.
John Allen of National Catholic Reporter was in Canada this week where he familiarised himself with the debate in Ontario and his article on the matter takes us through all the issues in his usual, well-informed way.
Last week our own Department of Education held an anti-bullying forum (on ‘International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia’ as it happens), so it is very possible that our Government will soon require Catholic and other religious school to introduce anti-bullying programmes into their curricula which they might find contrary to their ethos.
For this reason alone we need to keep abreast of what is happening in countries like Canada.