Fact: Enoch Burke, whose convictions do not permit him to participate in the new trend of fast-and-loose gender norms now sits in jail. What people are a little confused about are the details of how that happened.
Strictly speaking, the first domino in the sequence that led him to his present situation is, in fact, an attempt to strong-arm speech conformity despite a teacher’s convictions that doing so would violate his conscience.
Until about seven seconds ago, in the broad scope of history, the West had come to grips with the fact that a government compelling someone to violate their conscience was a Bad Thing. Capital B, capital T.
Without that starting point, the entire logic of the Nuremberg Trials falls apart. Members of the SS claiming they were ‘only following orders’ becomes a perfectly VALID defense in a criminal trial the second you take away the right for a citizen to put their conscience above government compulsion. An entire series of legal doctrines guiding how to handle conscientious objectors grew out of that same premise.
It began with Burke’s refusal to refer to a student as ‘they’. Some reports also state he refused to use a student’s changed name.
Burke, who teaches German, history, politics, and debate in Ireland, was not willing to put this new secular ideology foisted by the state above his own conscience. His conscience is guided by his faith. In his case, Evangelical Christianity, but it ought to be just as valid if he were objecting as a Muslim, Hindu, Jew, or fill-in-the-blank.
For that, he was suspended. It was a suspension with pay, but a suspension nevertheless. Strictly speaking, this suspension was not ‘officially’ a punitive action. But he was told he could not teach for the duration of this suspension.
Burke continued to show up at the school. The administration objected, and took him to court over it… which is admittedly a little difficult to square with their official position that Burke was NOT under disciplinary action at the time.
This might be a good opportunity to mention the school at which he teaches is specifically a religious school. It is affiliated with the Church of England, which despite its reputation for being a sell-out to every new whim in culture does have some strong traditionalist movements pushing back in the other direction.
The court barred him from the school property for the duration of his suspension.
Burke, however, continued to show up to school every day for his scheduled lessons.
The school then got a court injunction barring Burke from the school building, which he violated, saying he would not comply with it because it went against his conscience.
Burke was brought in front of a judge, who stressed that the issue facing the court was whether he had violated the injunction. Burke was found to be in contempt of court for violating the court’s order that he stay away from the school. –CBS
This is the part that some people are getting wrong. Some voices sympathetic to his case are claiming he was jailed over pronoun use. In the strict and narrow sense, this is factually incorrect. He was jailed for showing up at school when the court had forbidden his doing so.
In the broader sense, there is at least something to the claim that some are making that he is being thrown in jail for his faith.
He could not have been in violation of the court order unless the school had gone to court to secure one. And the fact is, the school went to court to secure one despite the fact that he was explicitly ‘not under disciplinary action’. Again, this framing of his suspension is difficult to reconcile with the fact of his suspension and his disciplinary hearing.
But NONE of this would have happened in the first place unless the school first took a hard line on his refusal to comply to the school’s assertion of a right to dictate the limits of his conscience.
Here is the crux of Burke’s objection, in his own words…
“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,” he told the judge before his jailing.
The court heard on Monday that Burke had refused to stay away from the school on paid leave during the disciplinary process. Instead, he would sit in an empty classroom and declare he was there to work.
The judge told the History and German teacher he must stay in prison until he agrees to comply with the terms of the injunction, which would purge his contempt of court.
Burke said: “Transgenderism is against my Christian belief. It is contrary to the scriptures, contrary to the ethos of the Church of Ireland and of my school.
“It is insanity that I will be led from this courtroom to a place of incarceration, but I will not give up my Christian beliefs.”
Lawyers for the Church of Ireland school said it was forced with “a heavy heart” to take action leading to Mr Burke’s jailing after he broke the court order it secured last week.
Earlier Burke, who represented himself, had told the court he would return to the school, despite being arrested there on Monday. — Telegraph UK
Of course, heavy heart or not, there is another way this school could have proceeded in resolving this issue. They could have looked to the Apostle Paul’s guidance in First Corinthians 6, and resolved it in0house rather than put a civil judge in the middle of a trial over what amounts to a question of conscience.
by Doug Giles
Beginning in March 2020, many Christians went into lockdown-freak-out mode. Uncut, irrational, unbiblical, and not to mention, unconstitutional, fear gripped many churches and church leaders. Forced to choose between obeying the Word of God or the edict of man, most Western Churches buckled. We even saw it here in First Amendment-protected America.
The Apostle Peter buckled to fear on the night of Christ’s crucifixion. But he learned his lesson and lived the rest of his life bold as a lion. How can the church ‘go and do likewise’?
Read the book and find out!
Get your copy of Dear Christian: Your Fear Is Full of Crap now. Better yet, grab an extra copy for any petrified pastor who dutifully put obedience to the unconstitutional edicts of Mayor McCheese ahead of obedience to the explicit commandments of the LORD God Almighty.