Fact check: The Church of England’s response to the Cass Review

18 April 2024

Christian Concern’s Ben John exposes the Church of England’s disingenuous response to the landmark Cass Review

The Church of England have welcomed the final publication of the landmark Cass Review.

The short statement says:

“We agree with Dr Cass’s conclusions that, as far as any form of social transitioning is concerned, a very cautious approach is necessary, and should involve full collaboration and consultation with parents and medical professionals. Something we have always maintained.”

It continues to say the Church eagerly awaits the publication of the guidance for gender questioning children in schools and that the Valuing All God’s Children document will be updated in light of the guidance.

So is it, in fact, true that the Church of England has always maintained that a cautious approach is necessary for social transitioning?

Valuing All God’s Children says:

“Trans young people may require specific support in order to feel comfortable at school, for example, schools may need to make changes to toilet facilities or a trans young person might require support to change their name or the pronoun by which they are referred to by staff and classmates.” (p19)

It goes on to advise on the legal framework saying that:

“Schools must not discriminate (either directly or indirectly) against gender variant pupils, pupils who are perceived to be gender variant or pupils with trans parents. In the context of a school, indirect discrimination could include an inflexible uniform policy that creates a particular difficulty for trans pupils. The protected characteristic of gender reassignment only works one way – not being transgender is not a protected characteristic. Consequently schools can make adjustments to meet the needs of a trans pupil without being accused of discriminating against non-trans pupils.” (p14)

It is worth noting that this is explicitly rejected in the draft guidance from the government.

VAGC adds:

“To be protected under the act, pupils must be transitioning, proposing to transition to live in the opposite gender or have undergone transition. They do not have to be undergoing a medical procedure to change their sex” (p14)

It continues to paint a picture of creating an inclusive school environment:

“The school’s Christian vision will play a central part in creating an inclusive environment where all pupils are valued and able to flourish. Speaking clearly about LGBT equality is also important in creating an inclusive environment where all, including LGBT pupils, feel recognised, respected and welcome.” (p18)

And this, which I think is the clearest quote:

“…pupils will be equipped to accept difference of all varieties and be supported to accept their own gender identity or sexual orientation and that of others. In order to do this it will be essential to provide curriculum opportunities where difference is explored, same-sex relationships, same-sex parenting and transgender issues may be mentioned as a fact in some people’s lives.” (p20)

So, what’s the verdict? Remember the Church of England’s claim:

“The Church of England has always maintained a very cautious approach to children transitioning.”

This is transparently false.

VAGC never advises or even mentions a ‘cautious’ approach. Instead, the Church of England has adopted an “affirmative” approach, which is criticised as having failed children in the Cass Report. The Church of England Education Office has embraced trans ideology, promoted it in schools, and is now saying otherwise. Valuing All God’s Children has Stonewall’s fingerprints all over it and even in an earlier edition signposted to the extreme trans organisation Mermaids.

VAGC has been used consistently in courts against Christians who spoke up in any way against radical trans groups in schools. Over all these years we have not heard anything from the Church of England to suggest their schools should be cautious on this point.

They have not stood with Nigel and Sally Rowe, whose case directly led to the government changing its guidance. Kristie Higgs, Rev. Dr Bernard Randall, ‘Hannah’. VAGC has been used against all of them for raising concerns about trans ideology in schools. Nor did the Church of England stand with Rev. John Parker when he objected to trans ideology being promoted by Mermaids in the Church of England school where he was a governor.

VAGC is an awful and destructive document and the Education Office is trying to hide the fact that they have contributed to the medical scandal that has mutilated and scarred many many people.

They should immediately withdraw VAGC and apologise.

Real dignity for gender-questioning children

VAGC places a great emphasis on the ‘dignity’ of children. Lying to them and leading them to destruction is not ‘dignifying.’ Causing harm to children who are broken and confused and encouraging them down a path that leads only to pain is not ‘dignifying.’

We need to be able to say it: what has been happening in Church of England schools, justified by VAGC, is wicked.

We ought to be leading the way in protecting our children, coming alongside them, helping them find their true identity in Christ, and embrace the bodies that God has given them.

Instead, the leadership of Church of England has been simply following the spirit of the age, allowing children to be harmed and led away from God’s good pattern for our lives. They don’t seem to have anything constructive to say and merely mirror the latest headlines.

It shouldn’t have taken the Cass Review for them to be saying this. They should have been stating it from the start.

We have so much good to say in a world crying out for truth and hope. We have a glorious and beautiful hope to give to children who are questioning their gender.

We come alongside those who struggle with their male or female bodies, love them and welcome them, and tell them about the goodness of how God has made them: the beautiful and glorious truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6 NIV

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