Izzy Montague

Christian parents have said they will appeal after losing a legal challenge against their child’s school for allegedly forcing his participation in a Pride parade.

Izzy and Shane Montague launched legal action against Heavers Farm Primary School after claiming that their son, who was four at the time, was not allowed to be withdrawn from the parade in 2018.

The parents also claimed that the school became “hostile” and “intimidating” towards them and other parents who questioned the promotion of LGBT ideology in the school. 

They allege that at a meeting with the head teacher, her daughter attended wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “Why be Racist, Sexist, Homophobic, Transphobic, when you can just be quiet”.

Mrs Montague was also later banned from entering the premises or calling the school.

This week, the Central London County Court dismissed their religious discrimination claim.

In his ruling, Judge Christopher Lethem claimed that much of the school Pride parade’s values were in alignment with the Montagues’ Christian beliefs.

“The Claimants have focussed on the use of the word ‘celebrate’ seeking to instil it with the suggestion that it was advancing LGBT issues over other lifestyle forms. The delivery of the teaching does not bear this out,” the judgment reads.

“The celebration was of diversity and acceptance of the differences between people; no hierarchy of equalities. Thus there was little in the Parade that was inconsistent with their beliefs.

“The Claimants have argued that the Parade and the teaching in general amount to weaponising education to undermine parental teaching to undermine parental teaching and foster the school’s view. In the cold light of day I cannot ascertain the divergence between the teaching and the Christian views.”

The judgment added, “In short there was no moral re-education and there was no case for exemption.”

However, Judge Lethem did find that the school’s communication about the event had been “poor” and that the T-shirt worn at the meeting between the Montagues and the head teacher had “set an entirely wrong tone”. 

“[It] was entirely reasonable for the parents to view this as a hostile message,” he said. 

On the banning of Mrs Montague from the school, the judge criticised the manner in which this was imposed, writing, “I cannot detect that Mrs Montague was given any opportunity to make representations in relation [to] the ban. There is no mention of it in the letter [informing her of the ban] and plainly there should have been.

“This could be indicative of a school that was riding roughshod over the parents’ rights because of an animus against the Claimants because of their complaints.”

Expressing disappointment at the ruling, Mrs Montague called the judgment “perverse” and said she was “deeply insulted” by the court’s assertion that there was nothing inconsistent between her Christian beliefs and the Pride event. 

“Throughout this ordeal it has felt like I and my Christian beliefs that have been on trial,” she said. 

“This is not over and we will appeal this perverse judgment which has made the evidence fit with the school’s agenda.

“What are parents like us meant to do? The court appears to be as ideologically motivated as the school.

“No parent should have to go through what I, and so many other parents at Heavers Farm have, for wanting to protect the innocence of their children and raise them according to their own beliefs.

“I am a Christian, and I don’t believe there is anything redeeming about forcing a 4-year-old child to march among rainbow flags and sing ‘gay anthems’.”

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the Montagues in their case, said the judgment was “remarkable for all of the wrong reasons”.

“What this entire case stands for is that there are some schools in this country where biblical beliefs and Christians are not welcomed,” she said.

Source – https://www.christiantoday.com/article/christian.family.to.appeal.after.court.dismisses.school.pride.parade.complaint/140143.htm