Will Britain Soon Require Religious Schools to Teach Anti-Religious Dogma about Sexuality?

Feb. 12 2018

The British government is poised to change its laws so that the standard sexual-education curriculum—introduced when children are four years old and including information about homosexuality, transsexuality, and other variations—must be taught even in private religious schools. Sohrab Ahmari comments:

Dame Louise Casey, [a] senior government adviser, singled out Catholics in particular [as targets of the new regulations]. It is “not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage,” she testified in the House of Commons. “I have a problem with the expression of religious conservatism because I think often it can be anti-equalities.”

Yet it isn’t only Catholics who have found themselves on the sharp end of the government’s anti-religious drive. Last year, a government regulator threatened a private Jewish school in London with closure over its refusal to teach students about homosexuality. The failure to teach about homosexuality and gay marriage, the inspector said, deprives the students of “a full understanding of fundamental British values” and limits their “spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development and does not promote equality of opportunity in ways that take account of differing lifestyles.”

Bear in mind that that was under existing regulations and distinct from the [current changes to the law]. The new rules make it even easier for the government to control what private and religious schools can and can’t teach about sex and gender. Nor is it clear that parents would have a right to withdraw their children from these courses. That this is happening under a Tory government tells you that the future of religious freedom and parental autonomy in the UK is bleak.

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More about: Education, Freedom of Religion, Homosexuality, Politics & Current Affairs, Sexual ethics, United Kingdom

 

Iran’s Defeat May Not Be Immediate, but Effective Containment Is at Hand

Aug. 20 2018

In the 1980s, the U.S. pursued a policy of economic, military, and political pressure on the Soviet Union that led to—or at least hastened—its collapse while avoiding a head-on military confrontation. Some see reasons to hope that a similar strategy might bring about the collapse of the Islamic Republic. Frederick Kagan, however, argues against excessive optimism. Carefully comparing the current situation of Iran to that of the Gorbachev-era USSR, he suggests instead that victory over Tehran can be effectively achieved even if the regime persists, at least for the time being:

What must [an Iran] strategy accomplish in order to advance American national security and vital national interests? Regime change was the only outcome during the cold war that could accomplish those goals, given the conventional and nuclear military power of the Soviet Union. Iran is much weaker by every measure and much more vulnerable to isolation than the Soviets were. . . . Isolating Iran from external resources and forcing the regime to concentrate on controlling its own population would be major accomplishments that would transform the Middle East. . . .

It is vital to note that the strategy toward the Soviet Union included securing Western Europe against the Soviet threat and foreclosing Soviet efforts to pare America’s allies, especially West Germany, away from it while simultaneously supporting (in an appropriately limited fashion) the Solidarity uprising in Poland and the anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan. It is not meaningful to speak of a victory strategy against Iran that does not include contesting Iranian control and influence in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq while strengthening and hardening the Arab frontline states (including Oman and Qatar) against Iranian influence.

Syria is Iran’s Afghanistan—it is the theater in which Iranian forces are most vulnerable, where Iranian popular support for the war is wearing thin, and where the U.S. can compel [Iran] to expend its limited resources on a defensive battle. Iraq is Iran’s Poland—the area Iran has come to dominate, but with limitations, and a country Iran’s leaders believe they cannot afford to lose. The U.S. is infinitely better positioned to contest Iran’s control over Iraq than it ever was in Poland (and similarly better positioned in Syria than it was in Afghanistan).

A long-term approach would focus on building a consensus among America’s allies about the need to implement a victory strategy. It would deter the Russians and Chinese from stepping in to keep Iran alive. It would disrupt the supply chain of strategic materials Iran needs to advance its nuclear and conventional military capabilities. And it would force Iran to fight hard for its positions in Iraq and Syria while simultaneously pressing the Iranian economy in every possible way. Such a strategy would almost certainly force the Islamic Republic back in on itself, halt and reverse its movement toward regional hegemony, exacerbate schisms within the Iranian leadership and between the regime and the people, and possibly, over time, and in a uniquely Iranian way, lead to a change in the nature of the regime.

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More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Soviet Union, U.S. Foreign policy