"I’d rather stay in prison for a century than play by these transgender rules, says jailed teacher"
....and the transgender agenda continuous to wreak havoc in schools across the world.
Enoch Burke - Brian Lawless/PA© Brian Lawless/PA
An Irish teacher suspended for refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns has said he would rather stay in prison for a century than compromise his beliefs on transgenderism.
Enoch Burke, an evangelical Christian, was jailed for contempt of court on Monday after breaching the injunction not to go to or try to teach at Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath.
Burke was arrested after turning up to the school “to work” after a disciplinary process begun after he refused to refer to a transgender student as “they”.
Wednesday’s hearing in Dublin was a chance for the secondary school history and German teacher to “purge” his contempt and be freed by consenting to the order during a hearing to review its terms.
Instead, he told the court that even if he had to remain in prison for “every hour of every day for the next 100 years” he would not comply.
He said transgenderism was contrary to scripture, and that in this instance he would “only obey God,” and would “not obey man”.
Burke, who represented himself, was returned to Mountjoy Prison to spend a third night in jail and was ordered to pay the legal costs of the school, which has suspended him on full pay.
He has been told he can be freed simply by signalling his intention to abide by the injunction, which the Church of Ireland school took out to prevent disruption at the beginning of the school term.
In June, Burke had publicly confronted the principal over the policy at a church service and dinner to mark the school’s 260th anniversary.
Despite his paid suspension, he would turn up at the school for “meetings” or simply to sit in an empty classroom declaring he was ready to teach before his arrest earlier this week.
Mr Justice Max Barrett, ruled that the injunction should remain in place until a High Court decision. The court’s decision was about the terms of the injunction and Burke’s suspension, and not his religious beliefs, he said.
Burke had earlier claimed he was before the courts over his refusal to comply with what he said was his unlawful suspension.
The direction by the school to address one of its students by a different pronoun was to deny him his constitutional rights to religious freedom, he claimed “That is the issue,” he said.
He said that by agreeing to comply with his suspension would be akin to agreeing with transgenderism.
Burke said the student at the centre of the request was not in any of his classes, nor had he had any direct dealings with the pupil.
In correspondence to Mr Burke, the school denied that anyone is being “forced” to do anything.
The school said that it is focusing on the needs and welfare of its students and is affirming its policy in accordance with the 2000 Equal Status Act of not discriminating against any student.
The school said it has acknowledged Mr Burke’s religious beliefs but expects him to communicate with the student in accordance with the student and their parent’s wishes.
The school says despite his suspension Mr Burke has not been sanctioned and no finding has been made against him.
The next stage of the school’s disciplinary process is due to take place later this month.