Tuesday, March 13, 2012

439 Doctor sacked over gay adoptions; Nurse sacked for wearing a crucifix. "Child-centred" teaching

Doctor sacked over gay adoptions; Nurse sacked for wearing a crucifix. "Child-centred" teaching

(1) High school story is full of bunk. Ritlain doesn't turn kids into 'zombies'
(2) John Taylor Gatto & Charlotte Iserbyte on schools in America
(3) China's Winning Schools?
(4) Obama wants to ratify UN Convention on Rights of the Child. What about Rights of Parents?
(5) University of Virginia (UVA) eliminates Speech Codes
(6) Teacher, fired for imposing discipline, wins tribunal hearing. "Child-centred" teaching = Anarchy
(7) College lecturer sacked over slapping a student. She had an unblemished record for 30 years, now washing towels
(8) Doctor faces sack for refusing to back gay adoptions
(9) Doctor sacked over gay adoptions reinstated after public outcry
(10) & (11) Christian hotel owners fined for rejecting a gay couple. Nurse sacked for wearing a crucifix
(12) Italian cardinal warns Gay activists are persecuting Christians
(13) Facebook warnings for teachers over students 'whipping up abuse' online
(14) Psychotherapist faces deregistration for treating a Gay patient who said he wanted to be straight

(1) High school story is full of bunk. Ritlain doesn't turn kids into 'zombies'

From: Elaine Supkis <emeinel@fairpoint.net> Date: 17.01.2011 11:54 PM

> HIGH SCHOOL -- 1957 vs. 2009
> http://www.infowars.com/high-school-1957-vs-2009/

That high school story is full of bunk. Ritlain doesn't turn kids into 'zombies'. My son takes it and it WAKES HIM UP MORE. It is a STIMULANT. All the other points are equally false in that story.

(2) John Taylor Gatto & Charlotte Iserbyte on schools in America

From: Bruce Tanner <brtanner@brucetanner.info> Date: 18.01.2011 12:10 PM

I hope that everyone has had a chance to look at the work of former teacher John Taylor Gatto and of Charlotte Iserbyte on the deliberate destruction of education in America. I think this is just one case of a general attack on the health and strength and well-being of "peasants" worldwide. Looking for wisdom in the ways youth are brought into what passes now for a "social contract" is pretty much a vain pursuit.

Comment (Peter M.):

John Taylor Gatto and Charlotte Iserbyte have opposing perspectives. He is Leftist (Anarchist; like Ivan Illich); she is Right (McCarthyist).

He sees corporate America using schools to regiment children; she sees a Communist plot to indoctrinate children and lower standards.

Gatto's line is that "school is jail". That's an anarchist viewpoint; I don't agree with it, at all. I'm grateful to my teachers, even though I've since learned to think for myself.

She mentions the role of John Dewey, without noting that he was a supporter of Trotsky.

I partly agree with her; but I think that the plot is Trotskyist; that's why it continues despite the fall of Stalinism. Stalinism was a reaction to the earlier "Trotskyist" ("Jewish Communist") phase.

The forces that lost to Stalin in Russia  mounted a cultural revolution in the West instead.

One proof is that Stalin outlawed homosexuality, whereas Trots and their Anarchist pals promote the Gay Lobby.

Charlotte Iserbyte is a Tea Party type; she wants government out of our lives. Niki Raapana, the Alaskan Tent Lady, thinks likewise.

I suggested that MacDonalds be targeted for causing obesity. Niki objected, "the War on Obesity is another communitarian invention".

I'd like to get rid of all fast food franchises - to go back to the days of independent cafes, with no marketing - just let passers by call in, as they used to, with no pressure.

Niki thinks this would be unwarranted government intervention.

The point is that, without strong government, Big Business does what it likes. That's not "freedom" for you or me.

In schools, should there by a national curriculum? Or even a state curriculum? Charlotte Iserbyte wants local control instead.

(3) China's Winning Schools?

Nicholas D. Kristof

January 15, 2011


An international study published last month looked at how students in 65 countries performed in maths, science and reading. The winner was: Confucianism.

At the very top of the charts, in all three fields and by a wide margin, was Shanghai. Three of the next top four performers were also societies with a Confucian legacy of reverence for education: Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea. The only non-Confucian country in the mix was Finland.

The US came in 15th in reading, 23rd in science and 31st in math.

I have been visiting schools in China and Asia for more than 20 years - we sent our own kids briefly to schools in Japan, which also bears a Confucian imprint - and I have spent much of that time either envious or dumbfounded. I'll never forget pulling our two-year-old son out of his Tokyo nursery school so we could visit the US and being handed a form in which we had to list "reason for proposed vacation".

Education thrives in China and the rest of Asia because it is a top priority - and we have plenty to learn from that. Granted, Shanghai's rise to the top of the global charts is not representative of all China, for Shanghai has the country's best schools. Yet it is also true that China has made remarkable improvements in the once-awful schools in peasant areas.

Just 20 years ago children often dropped out of primary school in rural areas. Teachers sometimes could barely speak standard Mandarin, which, in theory, is the language of instruction.

These days, even in backward rural areas, most girls and boys alike attend high school. University is not unusual. And the teachers are vastly improved. In my Chinese-American wife's ancestral village - a poor community in southern China - the peasant children are a grade ahead in maths compared with my children at an excellent public school in the New York area. That seems broadly true of maths around the country.

For a socialist system that hesitates to sack people, China has also been surprisingly adept, more so than America, at dealing with ineffective teachers. Chinese principals cannot easily dismiss teachers, but they can get extra training for less effective teachers, or if that fails, push them into other jobs.

"Bad teachers can always be made gym teachers," a principal in the city of Xi'an said as she showed me around her kindergarten. In China, school sports and gym just do not matter.

(That kindergarten exemplified another of China's strengths: excellent early childhood education, typically beginning at age 2. Indeed, the only element of China's education system that really falters badly is its third-rate universities.)

But this is the paradox: Chinese themselves are far less impressed by their school system. Almost every time I try to interview a Chinese about the country's education system here, I hear grousing rather than praise. Many Chinese complain scathingly that their system kills independent thought and creativity, and they envy the American system for nurturing self-reliance - and for trying to make learning exciting and not just a chore.

In Xi'an I visited Gaoxin Yizhong, perhaps the city's best high school, and the students and teachers spoke wistfully of the American emphasis on clubs, arts and independent thought. "We need to encourage more creativity," said Hua Guohong, a chemistry teacher. "We should learn from American schools."

One friend in Guangdong province says he will send his children to the US to study because the local schools are a "creativity killer". Another sent his son to an international school to escape what he likens to "programs for trained seals". Private schools are sprouting everywhere, and many boast of a focus on creativity.

For my part, I think the self-criticisms are exactly right, but I also deeply admire the passion for education and the commitment to making the system better. William Butler Yeats was right that "education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire", but it is also true that it is easier to ignite a bonfire if there is fuel in the bucket.

The larger issue is that the greatest strength of the Chinese system is the Confucian reverence for education that is steeped into the culture. In Chinese schools, teachers are much respected, and the most admired kid is often the brain rather than the jock or class clown.

Americans think of China's strategic challenge in terms of, say, the new Chinese stealth fighter aircraft. But the real challenge is the rise of China's education system and the passion for learning that underlies it. We are not going to become Confucians, but we can elevate education on our list of priorities without relinquishing creativity and independent thought.

That's what we did in 1957 after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik. These latest test results should be our 21st-century Sputnik.

(4) Obama wants to ratify UN Convention on Rights of the Child. What about Rights of Parents?


Obama resurrects the not so nice UN's 'rights' of the child *


The UN's Rights Of The Child Calls To Obama

The Obama Administration has resurrected the debate over the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and is pushing for the United States to finally join the treaty. Yet, while ratifying the treaty sounds like a great effort to protect children, it would instead offer the UN inroads to dictate to American parents how best to raise their kids. According to the US Constitution, treaties are binding laws that must be followed by judges, even if those treaties conflict with the laws of the individual states.

Except for the United States and war-torn Somalia, every single country in the world has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said Monday that the Obama Administration wants to find out "when and how it might be possible to join."

Horrible things are done to children every day around the world. In Uganda last week, children marched through the streets of the capital to raise awareness about the existence of child sacrifice in the country and to urge the government to outlaw the practice. In South Africa, men are selling their younger sisters and nieces into prostitution, and in Afghanistan, 12-year-old girls are forced to marry grown men. And across the world, millions of children lack basic food, water, sanitation, medical and dental care and educational opportunities.

Obviously, the protection of the young and helpless should be of highest priority in any country. The United States has long appreciated the importance of defending children from violence and exploitation, and the US already has excellent laws in place to defend children. Even the poorest children in America can have access to food and medical care. And that's the point. The US has no need to ratify an international treaty in order to protect its children. Not to mention that in South Asia and Africa, ratification hasn't stopped children from exploitation.

Secretary of State Madeline Albright signed the UNCRC in 1995, but the US did not ratify the treaty, and for good reason. According to Article 6 of the US Constitution, international treaties are binding, and the UNCRC would officially supercede state laws. While the UNCRC might not change things much in lawless nations, US judges would be required to follow the dictates of all 54 articles of this international law.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is a nice idea. It declares that children have basic rights that should be recognized – like the rights to survival, to protection from harmful influences and abuse. The Convention has four core principles which, according to the UNICEF, are "non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child."

It's perhaps that last one that most frightens US lawmakers and parents. What does "respect for the views of the child" mean and, since the treaty is a binding legal document, what would its ratification mean for parents' rights in America? If a 10-year-old says, "I don't want to go to church with my parents," does he have the "right" to refuse? If a teen girl says, "I want to go to work as a prostitute in Las Vegas," could her parents legally stop her? After all, prostitution is legal in Nevada, and the UN has been willing to promote the rights of prostitutes.

There is concern that the UN would attempt to dictate to US parents how to raise their kids. The UN agenda is not conservative and family-friendly. To get an idea of how the UN interprets the treaty, here are some of the recommendations that have been made to various countries:

To Austria: "Austrian Law and regulations do not provide a legal minimum age for medical counseling and treatment without parental consent. [The UN] is concerned that the requirement of a referral to the courts will dissuade children from seeking medical attention and be prejudicial to the best interests of the child." [italics added]

To Barbados: "In spite of efforts to increase attention to early childhood education, the Committee remains concerned that the number of child-care centers is not enough to serve all children concerned. . . "

To Macedonia: "promote adolescent health policies and strengthen reproductive health education and counseling services, including with regard to … pregnancy among girls and abortion."

To the United Kingdom: "…the Committee is concerned that insufficient attention has been given to the right of the child to express his/her opinion, including in cases where parents in England and Wales have the possibility of withdrawing their children from parts of the sex education programmes in school. In this as in other decisions, including exclusion from school, the child is not systematically invited to express his/her opinion and those opinions many not be given due weight, as required under article 12 of the Convention."

In many of the cases, the UN is promoting contraception, sex ed, and abortion as "rights" that minors have, while denying parents' rights to decide what is appropriate for their children. The UN wants children to be able to get medical treatment without their parents' consent, and considers child care centers better places for children than their own homes. (The UN has consistently urged countries to create more child care centers in the interest of "women's rights" as well, while frowning on cultures that promote motherhood.)

The net result is that the state becomes the de facto parent, shouldering its way into the family and usurping the parents' authority. Children need to be protected from abuse and starvation and exploitation, and they need to be able to receive a decent education, but the US can do many things to promote the welfare of children around the world without submitting itself to the United Nations.

(5) University of Virginia (UVA) eliminates Speech Codes

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Cavalier Administrator

Mike Adams


Concerned parents looking to send their kids to a college free from repressive speech codes can now add another option to their list. Last semester, the University of Virginia (UVA) eliminated the last of a series of policies that unconstitutionally restricted the free speech of students and faculty members. Two-thirds of the nation's colleges maintain policies that clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech. But now, UVA is an exception to the rule having fully reformed four speech codes over the course of the last year.

President Teresa Sullivan should be commended for overseeing these important changes, which guarantee the First Amendment rights of students and faculty members at the University of Virginia. Within just three months of taking office, President Sullivan has overseen the transformation of UVA from a school that earned FIRE's worst "red light" rating for restricting protected speech to their highest "green light" rating. But there is another UVA administrator who deserves even higher praise than President Sullivan.

FIRE began working with UVA administrator Dean Allen Groves in April 2010 after Adam Kissel gave a lecture on free speech that was hosted by two UVA student groups - Students for Individual Liberty and Liberty Coalition. Shortly thereafter, Dean Groves received a letter from FIRE, which provided detailed objections to UVA's then-existing speech codes. UVA student Virginia Robinson happened to be interning for FIRE in the summer of 2010. Thus, she was able to help UVA reform its speech codes.

First, Dean Groves reformed UVA's "Just Report it" so-called bias reporting system. He made sure students were aware that protected speech will not be "subject to University disciplinary action or formal investigation" even if it is reported.

Next, Assistant Vice President for Information Security, Policy, and Records Shirley Payne removed unconstitutional language from a policy prohibiting Internet messages that "vilify" others and mailing list messages that are "inappropriate." Removing such overly broad and vague language helped remove a possible chilling effect on constitutionally protected speech.

Finally, with the help of Dean Groves, UVA's Women's Center confirmed that it had removed two policies with unconstitutional examples of "sexual harassment" from its website. Some examples stated that "jokes of a sexual nature," "teasing," and even mere "innuendo" constituted sexual harassment. The policies further suggested that simple flirting could be sexual harassment if it was not "wanted and mutual," and that if a person felt "disrespected," their experience "could indicate sexual harassment."

This is all good news as UVA joins its fellow Virginia public institution The College of William & Mary (W&M) in an elite group of just 13 "green light" schools in America.

Now that Virginia's two leading public universities have led the way FIRE is turning its attention to three more Virginia public universities that currently have "red light" ratings. Hopefully, they will follow suit. If not, suits could follow. I wrote in my last column about the increasing likelihood that college administrators will be faced with paying personal monetary damages. It is sad that such threats are even necessary. There is much to be gained by voluntarily abandoning these oppressive policies.

Like Dean Groves of UVA, other administrators around the nation can attend a FIRE lecture if one is scheduled at their school. If that doesn't happen this semester or even this year they can simply read FIRE's pamphlet on Correcting Common Mistakes in Campus Speech Policies. The pamphlet contains all the information that is needed to comply with the law. And FIRE is more than willing to assist if any questions or complications should arise. After administrators make the necessary changes they are sure to receive much praise for their efforts. Just ask UVA's President Sullivan and Dean Groves. I am just one of many who have taken the time to praise them publicly. Better yet, the alums who hear of these changes will be far more likely to open up their wallets and make much needed donations.

The time has come for administrators to turn a potential legal liability into a fund-raising asset by reforming speech codes now. Taking a stand against politically correct censorship is always the right thing to do. And with donations down, it could become a political masterstroke.

(6) Teacher, fired for imposing discipline, wins tribunal hearing. "Child-centred" teaching = Anarchy

Teacher fired for imposing discipline wins employment tribunal

A schoolgirl simulated a sex act in class – and the teacher who disciplined her was fired. Now he has been vindicated.

Rebecca Lefort and Olga Craig 8:30AM BST 29 Aug 2010


It must rate as one of the more vulgar and indecorous moments of misconduct witnessed in a British classroom.

During a science lesson with a class of bottom-set 13-year-olds at Collegiate High School in Blackpool, one girl, a known troublemaker, threw herself into the lap of a startled girl sitting nearby and began simulating a lewd sex act.

Her teacher, David Roy, was horrified. When the youngster finally stood up, she wandered around the classroom, disrupting the lesson. Eventually she slumped down upon a table, turning her back on her teacher.

Mr Roy was not prepared to talk to the girl's back. Nor was he willing to let her disrupt the class. "So I moved the table, which was big and heavy, and in a dramatic gesture — what I would call an exaggerated fashion — she fell off," he explains.

To Mr Roy's frustration the lesson was ruined.

"I felt sorry for the other pupils who just wanted to learn," he says wearily. "She was a troublemaker, I knew that."

Just how much of a troublemaker she was, Mr Roy — a mild-mannered and measured man who says he would never countenance physically abusing a pupil — would find out in the year ahead.

Though the teaching assistant who witnessed the girl's antics later described the incident as "the worst classroom behaviour" she had ever seen, the girl lodged a complaint. Police and social services became involved and both concluded there was nothing to investigate.

When the school's deputy head looked into the episode, which happened in September 2008, he exonerated Mr Roy of any wrongdoing. And there the matter may have rested. Instead, it would become the first salvo in campaign that ultimately cost the science master his job.

To Mr Roy's disbelief, after two more alleged incidents, involving his disciplining of unruly pupils, he was dismissed.

In spite of the fact that it was deemed he had no case to answer over the original girl's complaint, school staff used it as a reason to sack him.

As part of the head's investigation she did not ask the former Army officer for his version of the later incidents, but relied mainly on the word of the students involved.

She did seek the views of teachers who witnessed parts of the confrontations, but so "abused" the statements that the teachers willingly appeared as witnesses for Mr Roy when he took the school to an employment tribunal, claiming unfair dismissal. One, Allyson England, said she had been "primed" by the head teacher and a human resources officer from Blackpool council to answer questions to support their argument.

Nine days ago, a very different conclusion was reached by an employment tribunal in Manchester. Mr Roy, described as a "model teacher" by colleagues, was awarded £63,000 after winning his case. To his relief he walked out of the tribunal without a blemish on his professional reputation.

Mr Roy's case was extreme. His supporters say that his dismissal was a moral outrage and that he was the victim of appalling injustice. But it is also the tip of the iceberg.

According to critics, today's teachers are so bound by the rule books that there are few disciplinary methods left available to them other than to suspend pupils. Government figures show that some of the country's most unruly children have missed the equivalent of a school term after being suspended more than 20 times in the same year. Incredibly, 1,430 pupils were sent home for bad behaviour at least 10 times in an academic year — and many 20 times.

As Nick Seaton, the chairman for the Campaign for Real Education points out, suspension is the only tool teachers still possess.

"In lots of schools it is the only effective punishment left. Instead of teachers being the authority, the pupils have control. Teachers have gradually lost their authority so their only option is exclusion."

The current situation, the critics say, is a legacy of Labour's insistence that teaching should be "child-centred", that pupils should dictate the pace of learning and that their voices should be listened to above all others. The result has been a spate of dismissals of talented teachers. In many cases the teacher under investigation is not even consulted.

For Mr Roy, 44, the past two years have been a waking nightmare. "I cannot tell you how relieved I am," he says as he sits upon the sofa of the home, in Whittingham, near Preston, that he shares with wife Diane and daughters Grace, five, and Charlotte, two.

During the tribunal process, Diane, a maths teacher, was diagnosed with cancer, adding to the family's stress.

Reflecting on the battle to save his career, Mr Roy says: "I was totally bewildered by the whole process. It appeared to me that they were investigating with a view to finding me guilty, not finding the facts. I knew something sinister was happening. No one would tell me what was happening. It was as though I was the last person who should be told anything." Mr Roy, who is from Bangor, Northern Ireland, studied fisheries science at Plymouth University and later trained as a science teacher, specialising in biology. When he was appointed to the teaching staff of Collegiate High School 12 years ago he knew it had a reputation as being a tough school.

"It had always been a difficult school to work in, but three years ago I started noticing a real decline. It was getting out of hand and the lawlessness was scary.

"It was anarchic. It was literally kids running loose. What we need is more discipline in schools. It needs to be just and fair, but there needs to be consequences if you misbehave. Frankly the lack of discipline is absolutely appalling for the children themselves. They have no respect for teachers who give in. I remember pupils willing me to do more to stop kids who were ruining lessons. There are so many kids whose education is being massively disrupted by the bad behaviour of other children, and the teachers can't do anything about it."

His account is backed up by an official report, complied during the period for the school's management, which said: "Behaviour is a very significant issue to the majority of people in school and unless it is addressed it will block or hinder any new initiatives and a continued climb in attainment." ...

(7) College lecturer sacked over slapping a student. She had an unblemished record for 30 years, now washing towels


Lecturer sacked over slap to student speaks of 'destroyed career'

College lecturer Steph Crossley, who was sacked by Kirklees College for slapping a student on the thigh to quieten her down during a fire scare, has lost an employment tribunal against her dismissal.

By Rebecca Lefort 9:45AM BST 13 Jun 2010

She was a dedicated college lecturer with an unblemished teaching record stretching back over more than three decades.

But a quick swish of her hand destroyed Steph Crossley's career.

When a burning smell filled her classroom during a lesson, Miss Crossley telephoned for advice.

During the emergency call, finding herself distracted by a student standing behind her who was talking loudly, she swung an arm back and slapped the woman's thigh in an attempt to keep her quiet.

The fire threat turned out to be a false alarm, and the student, Sabia Sajid, 21, suffered no injuries.

But she reported the incident to another teacher, the affair escalated, and managers at Kirklees College in Huddersfield dismissed Miss Crossley for gross misconduct - even though Miss Sajid did not want her teacher to lose her job.

Now the 57-year-old has a new job washing towels, earning only the minimum wage. Her pride, status and employment hopes lie in tatters.  ...

(8) Doctor faces sack for refusing to back gay adoptions

A Christian doctor has been told she will be sacked from a council's adoption panel after refusing to recommend cases involving gay couples.

By Patrick Sawer 9:00PM BST 18 Jul 2009


Dr Sheila Matthews, an experienced community paediatrician, has been told her stance means she can no longer sit on Northamptonshire County Council's adoption panel as it conflicts with its equal opportunities policies.

She says she simply wishes to abstain from decisions on whether to approve same-sex couples seeking to adopt and to do otherwise would contradict her Christian beliefs

Dr Matthews, 50, said: "I don't feel that placing children for adoption with same sex couples is the best place for them.

"As a Christian I don't believe its an appropriate lifestyle and I don't believe the outcomes for children would be as good as if they were placed with heterosexual couples."

As part of her duties as a community paediatrician in Kettering Dr Matthews has for the past five years conducted medical examinations of prospective adoptive parents in order to establish whether they are fit and healthy enough to provide long term care for a child.

She presents her findings to one of Northamptonshire's two adoption panels, made of up councillors, social workers and lay persons.

Following a discussion a vote is taken on whether the applicants should be recommended as suitable to become adoptive parents.

In the past she has abstained or made herself absent when the panel was required to vote on the suitability of same sex parents.

However this arrangement ran into difficulties following the passing of the Equality Act in 2006, which banned discrimination on grounds of sexuality and required all adoption agencies to consider same sex applicants on an equal basis with heterosexual couples.

Matters came to a head for Dr Matthews in February when a same sex couple applied to Northamptonshire to become adoptive parents.

Dr Matthews told the head of Northamptonshire's children's services, Martin Pratt, that she intended to abstain from the panel's vote, but without discussing her concerns with other panel members in order to avoid influencing their decision.

Despite this concession she was barred from attending the panel and instead invited to a meeting with Mr Pratt to explain her position.

Dr Matthews told Mr Pratt that although she was happy to carry out medical assessments for all prospective adoptive parents, she felt unable to recommend gay applicants as suitable candidates.

A few days later she received a letter from Mr Pratt informing her of the council's decision to replace her on the panel because of the "significant problems" her stance created for the adoption service. ...

Dr Matthews' case has been referred to leading religious rights barrister Paul Diamond.

She is backed by the Christian Legal Centre, whose director, Andrea Minichiello Williams, said: "This is a further example of how well respected professional with conscientiously held views on sexual practices, informed by her Christian faith, is being asked to choose between her faith and her job. ...

Graham Murray, 36, and his partner Steve were among the first gay couple in Britain to adopt a child, a boy called David who is now four.

Mr Murray, a banker, said: "At this point in David's life, having two dads isn't a big issue. The struggles aren't now, they'll come later when other children realise his home life is different. It's a case of being thick-skinned and getting on with it.

"He understands his home life might not be the same to other children's. We've explained not everyone has two dads, some have a mum and a dad, some only have one parent. The most rewarding thing is the feeling I'm contributing to someone else's growth and welfare."

(9) Doctor sacked over gay adoptions reinstated after public outcry


Doctor sacked over gay adoptions reinstated

A Christian doctor who was sacked from an adoption panel for her views on homosexual parents has been allowed to resume her work following a public outcry.

Dr Sheila Matthews photographed in her home Photo: MATT KIRWAN

By Patrick Sawer 9:30PM BST 25 Jul 2009

The Sunday Telegraph revealed last week that Dr Sheila Matthews had been removed from Northamptonshire county council's adoption panel because she was not willing to recommend gay couples as suitable candidates to become adoptive parents.

However, following protests, Northamptonshire has now decided that she can continue with the central part of her role – conducting medical examinations of would-be adoptive parents and children waiting to be adopted. She will not be allowed to take part in the adoption panel's votes on whether candidates would make suitable parents.

Dr Matthews said: "I've been overwhelmed by the support I've received from the public. I'm pleased with the council's decision because it allows me to carry on providing a service to children and social services. Unfortunately, while I can now do my work as a community paediatrician, I won't be allowed to vote on recommendations for any of the candidates.

"There is research which supports my position that a same sex partnership is not the best family setting to bring up children. As a Christian and a paediatrician I believe that children do best with a mother and father in a committed, long term relationship. Therefore, I cannot recommend a same-sex household to be in the best interest of a child, despite what politicians may have legislated for."

Dr Matthews, from Kettering, sought advice and support from the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which instructed Paul Diamond, a leading human rights barrister, to represent her in her dispute with the council.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and director of the CLC said: "We are hoping the Council will see further sense and allow Dr Matthews to remain a voting panel member, giving advice on health matters directly to Panel and participating in discussions, but with the freedom to abstain on the rare occasions where placement is proposed with a same sex couple."

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: "We have told Dr Matthews that the county council has no objection to her continuing to provide medical advice to the adoption panel.

"However, we have told Dr Matthews that she cannot continue to act as a full member of the adoption panel with voting rights as she is not fulfilling the full duties of a panel member by refusing to vote on adoption issues regarding same sex couples."

(10) Christian hotel owners fined for rejecting a gay couple. Nurse sacked for wearing a crucifix

Gay couple win damages from hotel owners: other examples of Christians being 'marginalised'

Christian hotel owners in Cornwall have been forced to pay damages after they refused to let a gay couple share a double bedroom. Many Christians feel that they are becoming increasingly marginalised in society and point to a number of examples.

By Peter Hutchison 1:02PM GMT 18 Jan 2011


A judge ruled that Peter and Hazelmary Bull were breaking the law when they denied Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy a room at their hotel. There are a number of other examples of cases in which Christians feel they are being marginalised by British society.

In April last year a Christian nurse lost a discrimination case over her right to wear a crucifix necklace at work.

Shirley Chaplin was banned from working on hospital wards after she refused to remove her crucifix, which she wore on a chain around her neck.

Mrs Chaplin, 54, took the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital to an employment tribunal, claiming her religious beliefs would be "violated" if she removed the necklace.

She told the hearing she had worn her cross every day for 30 years and that she was being asked to hide her faith.

However, the tribunal panel in Exeter ruled in favour of the trust which had said its policy was based on health and safety rather than any problem with the religious symbol.

Mrs Chaplin's failed case echoes that of Nadia Eweida, who took British Airways to a tribunal over her refusal to remove the crucifix around her neck in 2006. In a long drawn out case, she finally lost her appeal in 2010.

In 2009 a Christian relationship counsellor who was sacked after he refused to give sex therapy to homosexual couples lost his case for unlawful discrimination.

An employment tribunal ruled that the national counselling service Relate was entitled to dismiss Gary McFarlane after he said that encouraging gay sex went against his devout religious beliefs.

The decision prompted Christian groups to demand a rethink of religious discrimination laws, following a string of other high-profile cases in which courts have found against Christians who claim they have suffered as a result of standing up for their beliefs.

Legal experts suggested the ruling had left discrimination laws in "a confused state" by giving the impression that "gay rights trump Christian rights" when they directly oppose each other.

In August last year an employment judge ruled that a lecturer at an Oxford University centre for Jewish studies was not discriminated against after she converted to Christianity.

Dr Tali Argov's claim that her career suffered and she was made redundant after she and her husband joined the Church of England was rejected by an employment tribunal.

It found that she had no proof that she had been treated badly by colleagues at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew & Jewish Studies because of her faith, and that the man who dismissed her did not even know she was a Christian.

The tribunal did find that Dr Argov had been unfairly dismissed because of failings in the internal appeal process, but denied her compensation.

In January a judge ruled that Christian hotel owners who refused a gay couple a double room acted unlawfully.

(11) Gay couple awarded damages against guesthouse which would not let them stay

You don't have to agree with Peter and Hazelmary's traditional beliefs about marriage to be concerned by today's ruling.

By Mike Judge, The Christian Institute 2:36PM GMT 18 Jan 2011


The guesthouse is not just the Bulls' livelihood, it's their home. Surely they should be allowed the freedom to live by their own values under their own roof. Everyone benefits from these important liberties, and everyone suffers when they are eroded.

The case brought by a homosexual couple against Mr and Mrs Bull was paid for by the Government-funded Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). They won their case but the judge ruled that his decision does affect the Bulls' human rights and forces them to act against their genuine beliefs, so he has given permission for an appeal.

The Commission is responsible for defending everybody's human rights, including the rights of Christians to live and work in line with their faith. This case raises sensitive issues of competing rights. It is a finely balanced and complex case. Yet the EHRC put its substantial weight, and taxpayers' money, behind one side of the argument. Christians are left to feel that, when it comes to equality, they are on the outside looking in.

In a chillingly Orwellian comment, the EHRC's John Wadham said: "This decision means that community standards, not private ones, must be upheld." And so the power of the state is brought to bear against a Christian couple aged 70 and 66 who believe in that most pernicious of institutions, marriage.

Discrimination law is meant to act as a shield to protect people from unfair treatment, not to be used as a sword to attack those whose beliefs you disagree with. The same laws used against the Bulls have been used to shut down faith-based adoption agencies that want children to have the benefit of a mum and a dad who are committed to each other in marriage. Children were sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. Personal liberty may be next.

(12) Italian cardinal warns Gay activists are persecuting Christians

Christians must brace themselves for a "new form of persecution" driven by homosexual activists and their ideological accomplices, an Italian cardinal has said.

Cardinal Giacomo Biffi attacks the gay rights movement in his memoirs due out on Thursday  Photo: AP

By Simon Caldwell   4:28PM GMT 17 Nov 2010


Freedom of thought and expression is under threat from the gay rights movement, said Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, the retired archbishop of Bologna, in memoirs that are published on Thursday. And the result is that those people who disagreed with the homosexual agenda are being ostracised by society, he said.

"The ideology of homosexuality" – as often happens to ideologies when they become aggressive and end up being politically triumphant "becomes a threat to our legitimate autonomy of thought: those who do not share it risk condemnation to a kind of cultural and social marginalisation," said Cardinal Biffi.

"The attacks on freedom of thought start with language," he wrote. "Those who do not resign themselves to accept 'homophilia' ... are charged with 'homophobia'."

The cardinal asked: "Is it still permitted ... to be faithful and consistent disciples of the teaching of Christ ... or must we prepare ourselves for a new form of persecution, promoted by homosexual activists, by their ideological accomplices, and even by those whose task it should be to defend the intellectual freedom of all, including Christians?"

The remarks came as a British paediatrician lost a religious discrimination case after she was forced to step down from an adoption panel because she opposed adoptions by gay couples. Dr Sheila Matthews was employed by Northamptonshire County Council.

Peter Tatchell of the gay rights campaign group Outrage rejected Cardinal Biffi's claim that Christians were being persecuted by homosexuals and their supporters. "Gay human rights defenders are not persecuting Christians, we are simply asking them to stop persecuting us," he said.

Cardinal Biffi, 82, is seen as something of a maverick in Italy where he regularly made headlines with his pronouncements. He has attacked freemasonry, and feminism and once denounced journalists as "rats".

(13) Facebook warnings for teachers over students 'whipping up abuse' online

Social networking websites such as Facebook can "whip up abuse" against teachers leaving a trial of "immense harm", head teachers have warned.

By Andrew Hough 7:00AM GMT 12 Jan 2011


Fresh guidance on cyber bullying has been issued to teachers across the country amid a rising number of complaints about intimidation of staff online.

The misuse of social networking sites such as Facebook has included personal attacks on staff and "unsubstantiated" allegations about management decisions.

Fuelled by technology and encouraged by anonymity, rumours and gossip easily grow into "petitions" and campaigns against certain education leaders, the National Association of Head teachers (NAHT) said.

The union said the fastest growing source of calls to its advice line involved misuse of such popular internet sites.

Despite head teachers having effective strategies in place to deal with misuse of social networking by pupils and staff, they were "virtually defenceless" when confronted with abuse from the wider community.

Among the guidance issued to teachers included tips on updating school discipline and an overhaul of acceptable internet practices.

Head teachers are also told how to prevent problems escalating, how to contact service providers to request the removal of items and when to involve police or local safeguarding teams.

The union has called on Facebook and other popular social networking sites to respond more quickly to reports of abuse and implement "streamlined" mechanisms for reporting such abuse.

"Parents have a right to express their views and complaints should be heard – schools can only benefit from constructive feedback," Russell Hobby, the NAHT general secretary, said on Tuesday.

"Too often, though, social networking sites are a medium for the unreasonable and the unprincipled and have a momentum out of all proportion to reality.

"The lack of accountability or moderation can whip up a cycle of abuse and sustained intimidation, causing immense harm."

A Facebook spokeswoman said reports of a "serious nature", such as bullying or harassment, are prioritised and reviewed by experts within 24 hours.

"Facebook has clear rules about content which can be posted on the site and we provide people with robust mechanisms to report content or activity that breaches our terms," she said.

"Facebook has worked hard to develop these reporting mechanisms but the reality is that many discussions that take place on Facebook reflect those that are happening offline.

"However, while you can't report a conversation outside the school gates or easily stop a person sending abusive, anonymous emails, Facebook gives people the tools to report offensive content they are concerned about."

(14) Psychotherapist faces deregistration for treating a Gay patient who said he wanted to be straight


The therapist who claims she can help gay men go straight

A psychotherapist who tried to convert a gay man to become heterosexual faces being struck off at a landmark disciplinary hearing this week.

By Robert Mendick, Chief reporter 7:55AM GMT 16 Jan 2011

The case will expose the growing use of hugely controversial therapies, from the United States, which attempt to make homosexual men heterosexual.

The therapy has been described by the leading professional psychotherapy body as "absurd", while the Royal College of Psychiatrists said "so-called treatments of homosexuality" allow prejudice to flourish.

A small group of counsellors believe all men are born heterosexual but that some choose a homosexual lifestyle which can then be changed through counselling.

Lesley Pilkington, 60, a psychotherapist for 20 years, faces being stripped of her accreditation to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) after treating a patient who had told her he wanted to be "cured" of his homosexuality.

The patient was in fact a prominent homosexual rights campaigner and journalist, who secretly recorded two sessions with Mrs Pilkington, a devout Christian, before reporting her to the BACP.

Mrs Pilkington says her method of therapy – Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) – is legitimate and effective. The therapy is practised by a handful of psychotherapists in Britain.

Mrs Pilkington, whose 29-year-old son is homosexual, said she was motivated by a desire to help others. "He [my son] is heterosexual. He just has a homosexual problem," she said last week.

Mrs Pilkington has accused Patrick Strudwick, the award-winning journalist who secretly taped her, of entrapment. On the tape, Mr Strudwick asks Mrs Pilkington if she views homosexuality as "a mental illness, an addiction or an antireligious phenomenon". She replies: "It is all of that."

Mr Strudwick told The Sunday Telegraph: "Entering into therapy with somebody who thinks I am sick … is the singularly most chilling experience of my life."

He added: "If a black person goes to a GP and says I want skin bleaching treatment, that does not put the onus on the practitioner to deliver the demands of the patient. It puts the onus on the health care practitioner to behave responsibly."

Mr Strudwick approached Mrs Pilkington at a largely Christian conference — run by the US organisation The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality — where he said he was unhappy with his homosexual lifestyle and that he "wanted to leave it". He then requested "treatment for his same-sex attraction".

In May 2009, Mr Strudwick attended a therapy session at Mrs Pilkington's private practice, based at her home in Chorleywood, Herts, and recorded the session on a tape machine strapped to his stomach.

In the disciplinary letter sent to Mrs Pilkington, she is accused by BACP of "praying to God to heal him [Strudwick] of his homosexuality". She is also accused of having an "agenda that homosexuality is wrong and that gay people can change and that you allegedly attempted to inflict these views on him".

Mrs Pilkington told The Sunday Telegraph: "He told me he was looking for a treatment for being gay. He said he was depressed and unhappy and would I give him some therapy.

"I told him I only work using a Christian biblical framework and he said that was exactly what he wanted."

She estimates that in the past decade she has offered the SOCE method to about one patient a year, lasting typically about a year.

"We don't use the word 'cure' because it makes it [homosexuality] sound like a disease. We are helping people move out of that lifestyle because they are depressed and unhappy.

"We say everybody is heterosexual but some people have a homosexual problem. Nobody is born gay. It is environmental; it is in the upbringing."

The SOCE method involves behavioural, psychoanalytical and religious techniques. Homosexual men are sent on weekends away with heterosexual men to "encourage their masculinity" and "in time to develop healthy relationships with women", said Mrs Pilkington.

She said she became involved "in this lifestyle treatment" because of her son. "I am not in this because I am judging people. I am in it because I understand what the issues are.

"I have been able to help my son. We have gone through a process in my family. I want to help others who are in a similar place.

"[My son] is still gay ... we are developing a relationship that was quite difficult for many years but is now coming back in a very nice way. I am confident he will come through this and he will resolve his issues and that he will change."

Her legal defence is being funded by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which has instructed Paul Diamond, a leading religious rights barrister, to fight the case.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, the director of the CLC, said: "It is shocking that Lesley was targeted, lied to and misrepresented by this homosexual activist and even worse that her professional body consider her actions worthy of investigation.

"Therapy should remain freely available for those who wish to change their homosexual behaviour."

The Royal College of Psychiatrists issued a policy statement last year condemning conversion therapies. It stated: "There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be exchanged. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish."

Philip Hodson, a fellow of the BACP, said: "[BACP] is dedicated to social diversity, equality and inclusivity of treatment without sexual discrimination or judgmentalism of any kind, and it would be absurd to attempt to alter such fundamental aspects of personal identity as sexual orientation by counselling.

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