Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ the gays

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “whims”, came with this email note and a link:

“The sad case of Parkfield School in Birmingham, where parents don’t want their children to know that gay people exist.”

The article from Birmingham Live notes that Muslim parents object to a pro-LGBTQ program at a public school with a high proportion of Muslim students:

A group of angry mums have launched a protest and petition against their school for introducing a curriculum supporting homosexuality.

Andrew Moffat MBE, assistant headteacher at Parkfield Community School in Saltley, has been criticised by parents for piloting No Outsiders – a programme run alongside sex and relationship education (SRE) lessons.

Its ethos promotes LGBT equality and challenges homophobia in primary schools.

Books now being read by pupils at Parkfield Community School include Mommy, Mama and Me and King & King – stories about same-sex relationships and marriages.

But Mr Moffat and the No Outsiders programme have come under fire from some Muslim parents who condemn such teachings, as homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Islam.

Now I agree fully with what this curriculum teaches, but I’m not sure that public schools should be teaching it, as it’s morality that is opposed to some religious views. While it’s okay to teach criticial thinking and moral philosophy, I’m not sure sure that public schools anywhere should be inculcating specific moral views into the students. This is the result: Muslims are pulling their students out of this school, undoubtedly to send them to “faith” schools or even private madrassas.

Nevertheless, it shows (and I’m digressing from the cartoon here) how retrograde Muslim theology is compared to the moral improvement in Western countries.

It’s clear from surveys that a huge proportion of Muslims in Muslim-majority countries think that homosexuality is a sin, as shown in this Pew Survey (which omitted countries like Yemen, Iran, and Saudi Arabia):

But Muslims in the West aren’t so extreme. Another Pew survey in 2017 showed that among all Muslims in the U.S., 53% think that “homosexuality should be accepted by society”—up 25% in a decade but still 11% lower than Americans overall.  In Britain, things aren’t quite as rosy, with a 2016 poll showing that 53% of UK Muslims thought that homosexuality should be banned and 47% thought that gays shouldn’t be allowed to teach in schools. Still, that’s far better than Muslim-majority countries, and in the U.S., at least, the Muslim “moral arc” is bending upwards.

But Mo isn’t having it:

 

 

48 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Actually we could do without stupid education in many areas. Can you major in that? It appears that many have.

  3. W.T. Effingham
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    “Things were different back then.” I enjoy hearing a scientist say that – it is usually followed by an interesting anecdote. However, when an Apologized™ says it, they are quick to point out that “People didn’t go around talking ’bout…”

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted March 13, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Edit: Apologizer ™.

  4. BJ
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    And yet, somehow, it’s become fashionable among the “woke” crowd to argue against assimilation these days.

  5. JezGrove
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Presumably, children at publicly funded schools are as likely to come from homes where the parents are gay, or to be gay themselves, as children receiving private education. Allowing the religious to have a veto on what is taught in the classroom is unacceptable. Lack of such education probably explains the results of the opinion polls the post discusses.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    … in the U.S., at least, the Muslim “moral arc” is bending upwards.

    It’s damn near UN-possible for new arrivals from anywhere in the world to resist the swirling, sucking vortex of American culture — for good or for ill, but mostly for good. If not the new arrivals themselves, then their kids, and if not them, then their kids’ kids, for sure.

    How ya gonna keep ’em down on the mental farm once they’ve heard rock ‘n’ roll?

    • rustybrown
      Posted March 13, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      It’s certainly not UN-possible, it’s math + time. How many and how quickly.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 13, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the mental farm once they’ve heard rock ‘n’ roll?”

      Amish managed it. 8-(

      There are many instances of what I’ll call a ‘ghetto culture’ where some closed group perpetuates itself, excluding the outside world. Heavens Gate, Jonestown, Waco, yadda yadda… (Though actually those are the ones that UN-perpetuated themselves… 😉

      I’ll try again – Ultra-Orthodox and the more fundamentalist Islamic groups for example manage to do just that. And zillions of fundamentalist Xtians.

      Admittedly many kids want to break out of that and many succeed.

      cr

  7. John Crisp
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    While the results of the surveys are indisputable, and Muslim intolerance of homosexuality is well-known, I wonder if there is a side-by-side survey about Christian views on the subject. As a resident of Northern Ethiopia, where the very large majority of the population is Orthodox Christian, I know that the subject of homosexuality is almost unmentionable, and I suspect that the 98% Muslim objection would be mirrored by the Christian population. Though I am less familiar with other African countries, I imagine that the result would be similar in places like Uganda and Kenya, and no doubt also in Russia. All of which suggests that the common factor is religious conservatism. Which brings us back round to the fact that Muslim societies remain almost universally conservative in religion (and literalist), while in historically Christian societies, there is a correlation between levels of secularism and tolerance for “alternative lifestyle choices”.

    • Posted March 13, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      I would like to see the same countries done with the other religions broken out. Thailand, for example, is mainly Buddhist. Russia is Christian, etc.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 13, 2019 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know stats about Africa of the top of my head, but you’re right about Russia. I did a post about the influence of conservative religion there, and iirc it’s only about 5%-10% who think being LGBT is morally acceptable.

  8. Joseph O'Sullivan
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    “I’m not sure that public schools should be teaching it, as it’s morality that is opposed to some religious views”

    It’s about teaching equal rights for gay people and ending the hate directed at them. Equal human rights and ending discrimination is not a subjective issue of morality. Rejecting or ignoring basic human rights because some religions oppose them is, in effect, adopting and advancing that religion.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted March 13, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Reading the newspapers, TV, here that’s my understanding as well.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 13, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Also my understanding, and I have no problem with it. In fact, I strongly believe the education should continue.

  9. Posted March 13, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I always enjoy Jesus ‘n’ Mo but this one has me thinking about “relativistic whims”. Are they whims whose velocity approaches the speed of light?

  10. Posted March 13, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    You can’t teach kids without teaching morality of some kind. Unless we want to the class to erupt into chaos, we have to teach kids to wait their turn, to share, to be quiet when they’re supposed to, to be polite, etc. (I think that accepting people who are different means, at a minimum, being polite to them.) I think we need to teach kids to be polite to those of different races, religions, and abilities. Including those with different sexual orientation.

    All these are moral issues.

    Therefore, the question isn’t, “Should we teach morals in school?” but “Should we teach this particular moral in school?” and “How should we teach it?”

    • Posted March 13, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      This was my thought also. In my experience, they spend a lot of time teaching morals in US schools but only the uncontroversial ones (eg, “thou shalt not lie”).

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 13, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      My thought too. You can’t just confine yourself to the facts when the other side has ‘alternative facts’.

      How do you even teach (or police) acceptable behaviour without a set of standards to follow? And in this context, standards implies moral judgement.

      cr

  11. Steve Pollard
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    As the article points out, the headteacher has devised a project called “No Outsider”, which teaches children about equality, inclusivity and acceptance. Many other schools use his methods, and partly as a result he has been shortlisted for a $1m global teacher prize.

    A complaint from one of these benighted parents triggered a special inspection by Ofsted, the UK’s education standards authority. Ofsted have now fully backed the headteacher and endorsed his approach. Good for him; I hope he sticks to his guns.

  12. rustybrown
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    It’s noted here that deleterious Muslim extremism isn’t as prevalent in the West as it is under majority Muslim rule. I think it’s obvious that’s because there aren’t as many Muslims here and they’re compelled to assimilate. The question then is does the situation degrade when you increase the Muslim population in those Western countries? The disparity between the UK and the US seems to indicate it does, and I think other Pew research bears that out.

    If that’s the case, optimism over the moral arc bending upwards in the US should be tempered by how many Muslims we are currently importing and how many we choose to import in the future, no?

    • Posted March 13, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      No. As usual. The difference is US culture makes it easier for immigrants to assimilate. I don’t have any links to data but I am pretty sure that the rate of assimilation is high relative to other rich countries for all ethnicities and religions of the newcomers.

      • rustybrown
        Posted March 13, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        Well, that information would have to be judged in relation to the comparative numbers we’re talking about, and you would also have to factor in the timeframe; it’s absolutely meaningless otherwise.

        I don’t subscribe to the ‘magic dirt’ theory.

      • rustybrown
        Posted March 13, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        As usual!

      • Adam M.
        Posted March 13, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure where to put this reply since I’m not really disagreeing with you, Paul, but I think the answer is clearly “yes”. If we imported a hundred million Muslims next year, would they assimilate? Surely not. What about ten million per year over a decade? Probably not. There’s surely some rate of immigration and/or some level in the population where they’d resist assimilation or even start taking over. That said, I don’t think we’re anywhere near that number so in practice I don’t see a threat from Muslim immigration.

        I don’t see what’s so special about our culture regarding assimilation, though. What do we have that the English or French don’t have? If there are enough Muslims that they can form entire neighborhoods where Arabic is the primary language, I don’t think it’d be long before they set up an unofficial, parallel Sharia legal system with unofficial morality police (as in various European countries) and reinforce the boundaries between their culture and ours. That pocket would be hard to assimilate.

        With their relatively high birth rate, I think we’d be in some trouble if they ever got a foothold in the population as large as they have in, say, France.

        • rustybrown
          Posted March 13, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          Absolutely. Thanks for mentioning birth rate, another important piece of the puzzle.

        • Posted March 13, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

          If you took it to that extreme, of course assimilation would be a problem. No one is suggesting the immigration level should be that high, even if there were that many Muslims that wanted to come to the US.

          The fact that immigrants seem to assimilate so readily in the US is well-known. I am sure books have been written on the subject, or at least chapters. I don’t know the subject well enough to quote reasons or give links but there’s no reason to think that it is due to “magic dirt”. Just another aspect of American exceptionalism, right?

          I can’t believe anyone on this website would have the guts to make the “Sharia law” argument. Next you will be telling us of that city in Michigan that went over 100% to Sharia law. We already have a legal system in the US. I don’t think it can be replaced so easily even if some town got taken over by Muslims.

          One aspect of Muslims in the US that doesn’t get much attention is that it helps fight Muslim fundamentalism around the world. Although some terrorists have been educated in the US, many more spread American attitudes around the world which is one of the best weapons we have against terrorism and Muslim fundamentalism. Without the connections with the US, it might be much worse. Connections between Iranians in the US and their families back home helps US-Iranian relations.

          • rustybrown
            Posted March 13, 2019 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

            “The fact that immigrants seem to assimilate so readily in the US is well-known. I am sure books have been written on the subject, or at least chapters. I don’t know the subject well enough to quote reasons or give links…”

            Maybe it’s because, per David Frum:

            “In the 60 years from 1915 until 1975, nearly a human lifetime, the United States admitted fewer immigrants than arrived, legally and illegally, in the single decade of the 1990s.”

            Is it possible that controlled, limited immigration that respects demography is responsible for our success at assimilation?
            Seems more than likely, as that’s what’s occurred during most of the 20th century.

            • Posted March 13, 2019 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

              So you are saying perhaps the US gets good marks in assimilation by just not doing much of it? Come on Rusty, you can do better than that.

              • rustybrown
                Posted March 13, 2019 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

                Well, that’s certainly a fatuous take on what I’ve been saying.

                I’m saying that a measured pace of immigration is more conducive to assimilation than an unchecked pace. Assimilation is also more likely if you’re assimilating from populations that are similar to ours. It’s right there in the root word “similar”.

                Jesus, you do need things spelled out for you, don’t you? Do you need me to restate it in another way?

          • Adam M.
            Posted March 14, 2019 at 12:00 am | Permalink

            Next you will be telling us of that city in Michigan that went over 100% to Sharia law.

            No, I won’t be making that claim. 🙂 But surely you’ve at least heard of neighborhoods in the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, etc. where Muslims resolve their disputes via unofficial Sharia councils (random example)? And Sharia police (random example)? Native law is still supreme of course, technically. I wouldn’t have a problem with it if it was fully voluntary, but like the wearing of the hijab there seems to be a lot of pressure involved – especially of women – with threats of social sanctions if people try to bypass the Islamic system. I think their existence is not much in doubt, only the degree of coercion involved.

            One aspect of Muslims in the US that doesn’t get much attention is that it helps fight Muslim fundamentalism around the world.

            I don’t know about around the world (ignorance here, not doubt), but I do agree that we’ve got some moderate Muslims here that are helping push back against the more fundamentalist stripes. How successfully I don’t know, but I agree it’s evidence that the US can at least partially help mitigate fundamentalism.

    • Posted March 13, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      To evaluate the trend, just look at a particular electoral district in Minnesota :-(.

      • rustybrown
        Posted March 13, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Yes. The concept of “too many, too soon” is just simple logic with a plethora of global examples both historical and contemporary. To argue “America has the most magical dirt on the planet and is therefore immune” is just silly (and a weird type of exceptionalism, by the way). As you say, look at Omar’s district. Or California for that matter.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 13, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          It’s got nothing to do with “magic dirt”; it’s got to do with this being a diverse nation of immigrants, rather than an ethno-state, one that has had centuries of experience assimilating people from all over the globe.

          We’re good at it because we’ve done it so ubiquitously (despite a nativist element in our population that’s always looking to pull up the ladder behind them).

          • Posted March 13, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

            +1

          • rustybrown
            Posted March 13, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

            Ken, your assertion of historic American diversity and ubiquity is specious at best. Throughout the vast bulk of our history immigration has been overwhelmingly European, as has of course been our population. Sure, there’s some cultural differences between European nations, but nowhere near the differences between the European nations and, say, Pakistan or Somalia.

            As for the ubiquity of US immigration, Americans have often seen fit to severely cut back on immigration (for most of the 20th century for example) for a variety of reasons, assimilation being one of them, and that has seemed to work pretty well for our country.

            So how do you explain the ‘more Muslims, less Western values’ phenomenon that seems to be universal and was my original point? And why is should the US be immune?

    • max blancke
      Posted March 13, 2019 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      I have read a lot about trying to quantify and predict Islamic intolerance vs. percentage of Islamic inhabitants. However, it all seems pretty subjective so far.
      There is definitely a phenomenon of children or grandchildren of moderate Muslim immigrants turning to more literal and violent forms of Islam.
      I think there is something about Islam that is at least less common in the other major religions. A person raised in Islam already by default believes that Apostates and homosexuals should be killed. But most Muslims believe these things in more of a hypothetical way. The problem is that it seems easier in Islam than most other religions to push them towards believing that “not only must these people die, it is my duty and responsibility to personally kill them.”

      Of course, my perspective is colored by the fact that all of the people who have tried to kill me personally because of their religious beliefs have been followers of Islam.

  13. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    What use are slaves if you’re not allowed to rape them?

  14. Posted March 13, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I fully agree with this post.

  15. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I still don’t get why sex is even lumped in with “morals”. What moral significance is there to the question of which wobbly bits any number of people choose to rub together in their spare time?
    If people don’t want to accept the curriculum of state-provided schools, then they can take the whole cost of the education on themselves. But don’t expect any leeway on building safety rules, operations safety rules, or the exams pupils will need to pass in the rest of their lives. Or for that matter, leeway on taxes.

    • Posted March 13, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      With great power comes great responsibility. Sex is a powerful drive and can be used to abuse. This is why sex and morals go together so often. I agree that it shouldn’t be about which wobbly bits people engage.

  16. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 13, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Andrew Moffat MBE, the assistant headteacher at Parkfield Community School is gay & this has been well known for a long time to all the parents & presumably most of the children. The books & lessons that brought in LGBQXYZ consciousness are not particularly new to the school nor other public schools in Britain.

    LGBQXYZ awareness is everywhere in British culture – it’s on the TV soaps at 6pm. It’s unremarkable.

    The school is classified as “outstanding” by OFSTED & that is why Moffat has an MBE after his name – for raising a school to great heights in a deprived Muslim majority area of post-industrial Birmingham! It’s all rather brilliant.

    What has happened here is some hardcore Islamists, mostly unconnected with the school, have started to bully staff, parents & kids with their megaphones outside. Some parents [Muslim & Christian] have withdrawn kids from the best school for miles around.

    This hardcore Muslim Trojan horse behaviour has happened before in Birmingham & Birmingham Schools. The media have not helped – not reporting the full background & yet amplifying the extremist dolts who started this.

    P.S. I live only 4 miles from Parkfield & I know this is the vocal less than 1% raising mayhem

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 13, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      “What has happened here is some hardcore Islamists, mostly unconnected with the school, have started to bully staff, parents & kids with their megaphones outside.”

      Can’t the police take out an ASBO on them?

      cr

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted March 13, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        The cops are useless at reining in abuses of free speech [where it steps over the line into implied intimidation] without guidance from ‘above’ especially where it has a political/cultural/religious edge.

        Recently a bunch of yobbish Brexiteers were shouting down TV interviews of MPs outside Parliament. This escalated to MPs being followed to & from Parliament/the nearest tube station with Brexiteer ‘reporters’ armed with iPhones ‘interviewing’ MPs as the walked along the pavement or crossed the road. When this happened to a slightly built, female cabinet minister [I think it was] the problem disappeared in 48 hrs – the Met Police [fed by Secret Service & SO15 info] visited the homes of the biggest bullies & did some law enforcement**

        ** “We notice you’ve been on the sick & various disability allowances for three years Mr. Nutter & yet you travel to London twice a week & stand outside Parliament. I need only whisper in the ear of a colleague at the DWP – you & your family up on £100k benefits fraud. Where do you want to go from here sir?”

  17. Tom Besson
    Posted March 14, 2019 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    Having spent more than seven years in the Middle East, I recall the gay behaviors I saw performed openly, but denied when those behaviors were questioned. An old joke goes, “Why did the Arab not want to leave home? Because he did not want to leave his little brothers behind.” The only thing missing is an apostrophe.

    • Joseph O'Sullivan
      Posted March 14, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      That comment is equating homosexuality with pedophilia. It’s implying gay people are deviants and threats to society as a whole and children in particular. It’s a common refrain among homophobes. It’s really disappointing to see it on WEIT.


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