Christian Teacher in Ireland Willing to Remain in Jail ‘For the Next 100 Years’ Before Using Student’s Preferred Pronouns

"A Christian teacher in Ireland has been put in prison for refusing to obey a court injunction preventing him from teaching at or attending his secondary school pending the conclusion of a disciplinary process." - C.Leaders

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

“I am here today because I would not call a boy a girl,” Burke told the court after his arrest. 

Not really. He's in jail because he refused to follow a court order to stay away from the school while they work through the issue. But I bet leaders will represent this as "jailed for not using the required pronouns" all over the Internet and in pulpits.

According to The Irish Times, the school board “met to consider the position adopted by Mr. Burke, commissioned a report and arranged a disciplinary meeting for September 14th.” The week of Aug. 22, Burke learned that he was being put on paid leave until the disciplinary process against him concluded. He continued showing up at the school, however.

The school then secured a court order preventing him from teaching or attending, an order Burke refused to comply with on the grounds that it violated his conscience. 

What he should have done: comply with the order, get a lawyer, fight the issue legally through due process.

Even in Ireland, Christians rarely have to thwart the rule of law in order to uphold the faith.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

dgszweda's picture

This kind of behavior is just stupid.  You don't need to use preferred pronouns or call a boy a girl or vice versa.  All you need to do is call the individual by their name.  Plain and simple.  Making these kind of ludicrous stands adds no value to anything.

josh p's picture

I agree with you but that's actually hard to do consistently. Pronouns are such a part of our language that it's difficult to avoid using them unwittingly. My wife ran into this exact scenario yesterday. She was very careful to call the person by their name but at the end accidentally said, "Thank you ladies." 
I completely agree that this teacher's actions are silly however as this is more of a campaign than a slip up. 

Bert Perry's picture

....is that notion of being kind enough to try, while the other person understands their body is screaming "he" or "she", even while they want to be called "they", so one can have a little bit of patience with this.  Not an entirely academic thing for me, as my niece is in this position.  Thankfully no hormone or other therapies yet, but she's going to school in "the belly of the beast" in South San Francisco, so you know what the peer pressure is saying.

And as androgynous as she's trying to be, her (their) countenance is still unmistakably feminine.  She was at my daughter's wedding, crowding the dance floor as if she were wanting to be asked to dance.  I almost did.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I'm happy to see that CPost got the headline mostly right this time: 

Teacher suspended for not using trans pronouns jailed after violating court order

But the story itself shows that it's about more than pronouns (bold type added).

Ricard was suspended for declining to address a trans-identified student by their preferred name, which reflected their new gender identity.

In most of the English speaking world, and quite a bit of the non-English speaking world, names have gender associations. The argument that a pronoun that doesn't fit biological sex is "a lie," also means using a name that doesn't match biological sex is a lie.

(But these same people probably answer the question "How are you?" with "I'm fine" all the time, when it isn't true. Just saying. Courtesy is not really about communicating literal truth. The exchange is a ritualized way of saying "I'm showing you respect and communicating that you matter." Nothing more.)

 The teacher is at least consistent and not trying to reject preferred pronouns while allowing preferred name.

Digging into the ages old ethical debates on what constitutes "a lie," would be worth doing before making the 'lie' argument. It's easy to embrace one definition when useful and a completely different one when not. But if we do that, we're not really living by a principle. We're using a principle selectively to validate a choice we've really made for other reasons.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Not really. He's in jail because he refused to follow a court order to stay away from the school while they work through the issue. 

Isn't this a rather significant oversimplification? The reality is that if he were willing to use the pronouns and names, he wouldn't be here. 

With all due respect to my friend Aaron, this seems the kind of politicization of an issue that seems as bad to me as the other side. And I can't see the point in making this distinction. Why can we not simply admit that he is in this position because of his unwillingness to use the pronouns? Where is the harm in that? It is the most truthful thing we can say, isn't it?

It's sort of like a guy who gets stopped for speeding and told he can pay the fine or go to court. So he goes to court and says, "I am here because I was ticketed for speeding." And the judge says, "No, you are here because you didn't pay the fine without coming to court." The reality is that both are true in a sense, but the underlying issue that would have made the whole thing go away is the speeding, or in this case, the pronouns.

dgszweda's picture

This teacher is not doing himself any favors.  He seems to be taking a confrontational approach to this and other principles.  The judge was clear in another article that none of this was about the fundamentals of the position, but purely being jailed because he violated the order to stop attending or teaching at the school until the internal procedures were conducted.  He went into the school and just sat in an empty classroom.  The teacher stated, that it would be in violation of his conscience to stop teaching or attending the school.  That in my opinion makes no sense.  He didn't hire a lawyer and was just in court representing himself.  If you see the transcript, he keeps arguing about the pronoun issue, and the judge said that this is purely about him violating the court order.  That when a decision comes out of the school, he can challenge that in court, but since no decision was made he keeps arguing about something that is not relevant.

Larry's picture

Moderator

The judge was clear in another article that none of this was about the fundamentals of the position, but purely being jailed because he violated the order to stop attending or teaching at the school until the internal procedures were conducted.

The teacher may be doing himself no favors, and may in fact be doing this wrongly. But a statement like this from the judge is simply disingenuous. Here's why: If this teacher agreed to use the pronouns, all of this would go away. He is in this position because he won't use the pronouns. As I said above, parsing it out this way serves no purpose and adds no benefit. There can be multiple causes for a thing. It's okay to say that.