Ireland: Christian teacher jailed for contempt of court following school row over transgender pronouns
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A Christian teacher in Ireland has been jailed for contempt of court after being suspended from the school he taught at for refusing to address a transgender student by their preferred pronoun, Christian Today (CT) reports.
A teacher at the Wilson’s Hospital School, a Church of Ireland boarding school in County Westmeath, Enoch Burke was subjected to disciplinary proceedings after he refused a student’s request in May to be addressed with the pronoun ‘they’ instead of ‘he,’ CT reports. The student had both parental and school support for their request.
The matter reached the courts after Burke was suspended from his employment at the school but insisted on arriving for work and sitting in an empty classroom, CT reports. A court order was then issued to prevent Burke from entering the school, but he defied this. He was arrested on Monday and sent to Mountjoy prison for contempt of court. Judge Michael Quinn said he would be released if he agrees to comply with the court order and stay away from the school.
“I will not give up my Christian beliefs,” Burke told reporters. “I love my school, with its motto Res Non Verba, actions not words, but I am here today because I said I would not call a boy a girl. It is contrary to the Scriptures, contrary to the ethos of the Church of Ireland and of my school.It is extraordinary and reprehensible that someone’s religious beliefs on this matter could ever be taken as grounds for an allegation of misconduct.”
Representing the school board, Rosemary Mallon BL told the court: “Mr Burke is knowingly in breach of this order, he is therefore in contempt and he has made it clear that if he is not committed to prison he will attend at the school [today], and the concerns of the school regarding the ongoing disruption to the students remain.”