In what sense is an Anglican school that rejects Anglican teaching in order to keep non-Anglican families happy still an Anglican school?
That’s the question Sydney Anglicans are wrestling with as opposition to Christian teaching on sexuality and gender grows.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported at the weekend that alumni and parents from Anglican schools had issued a letter complaining the Anglican church was ‘imposing its social conservatism on classrooms’.
In other words, they were worried that the Anglican church was instructing Anglican schools to be, well, Anglican.
Specifically, parents were upset about guidelines for schools on dealing with students struggling with gender identity.
The Anglican Diocese of Sydney has advised its schools to show compassion, reject bullying and abuse, and note that nobody was immune from ‘brokenness’, but to also tell students to ‘honour and preserve the maleness or femaleness of the body God has given you’.
All of which sounded a little too much like Anglicanism for Anglican school parents.
‘I feel awful for any student who has to endure this senseless attack on their identity,’ a transgender woman (who identified as an Anglican parishioner) told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Another parent told the Herald that most families at his daughter’s Anglican school were not religious, and that he worried ‘socially conservative’ forces were pushing the school ‘in a different direction’.
By ‘socially conservative’ he presumably meant Anglican. And by ‘different direction’ he evidently meant Christian.
If only those Anglicans wouldn’t be so Anglican, their Anglican school would be less Anglican so that non-Anglicans could enjoy it!
Judging by the reported comments of disaffected parents, it will likely come as a surprise for them to learn that Anglican leaders don’t take their cues from Libs of TikTok.
Church leaders base their doctrine on the teaching of Jesus who, among other things, told his followers: ‘Surely you have read in the Scriptures: When God made the world, He made them male and female.’
Jesus’ words align with science, but not with the new-fangled gender transformation fetish.
The Anglican Diocese has essentially reminded its Anglican schools – which include some of the most exclusive colleges in the country such as The Kings School and Abbotsleigh – that they are Anglican.
Sydney Archbishop Kanishka Raffel said the guidelines:
‘Emphasise care and compassion for those who experience gender dysphoria and give schools wide discretion to respond to individual situations while holding to a Christian view of the inherent goodness of our bodies, as each has been created by God.’
But parents are threatening to withhold fees if the guidelines – including that school principals and board members must endorse the Christian view of marriage – are not rescinded.
A gay parent whose daughter attends St Catherine’s asked: ‘How do you explain to a girl that the leader of your school is opposed to your way of being?’
Imagine his surprise when he discovers there are literally hundreds of state schools in Sydney that endorse LGBTQ+ ways of being. And his daughter can attend any of them for free!
Upset non-Anglican parents don’t want their children to go to non-Anglican schools. But nor do they want their children’s Anglican schools to be Anglican.
So they are determined to leave their children in Anglican schools where they will oppose Anglicanism until the Anglican school is Anglican in name only such that it becomes a non-Anglican Anglican school.
The angry parents have found some support among senior school staff.
One Anglican school principal was said to be ‘livid’ at being asked to endorse the Christian view of marriage.
Others said the requirement would reduce the already small pool of potential candidates for principals and compromise the quality of school leadership.
A ‘high achieving woman with a public profile’ reportedly withdrew from the board of an exclusive Anglican school rather than sign a statement of faith endorsing the biblical view of marriage.
The Herald reported this as a problem. I suspect the Sydney Anglican Diocese may view it differently. The statement of faith had the intended effect of weeding out a board member not committed to Anglican doctrine.
The woman told the Herald: ‘It’s going to limit new principals – you’ll end up with a whole set of socially engineered principals across Anglican schools in the Sydney diocese.’
If by ‘socially engineered principals’ she means Bible-believing Christians (can there be any other kind?) then she is right. And the Sydney Anglican Diocese, along with Anglican parents who sent their children to Anglican schools because they are Anglican, will be delighted.
The woman continued: ‘Restrictive ideas about sexuality should not be tied up in the statement of faith and the fact that they are speaks to something deeply concerning about the Sydney Anglican Church right now. To me, this is not Christ-like.’
I imagine Christ, who taught that marriage was between a man and a woman, would be greatly amused to hear that He is not Christ-like.
The Sydney Anglican Diocese is not laughing.
After all, what is an Anglican school if it is no longer Anglican? What value are grand sandstone buildings if they sit on nothing but cultural quicksand?
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