By MIA FREEDMAN
Last week, a candidate for Bob Kattar’s Australia party, called Bernard Gaynor, took the extraordinary step of announcing that he would not want his children to have a gay teacher.
It prompted me to write him – and others who sprout similarly homophobic attitudes – an open letter, which was then widely shared via social media.
Today, Bernard Gaynor has responded with an open letter to me, where he goes into great – and disturbing – detail about why he thinks parents should be able to stop gay teachers from teaching their kids. Bernard makes his points calmly yet passionately and with a chilling pride in his belief that gay teachers are somehow corrupting children.
Dear Mia Freedman,
Thanks for your letter. You seem like you want to be a great parent. I guess that means you want to give your children a good education so they can understand what is right and wrong and grow into upright, strong members of society. So do I.
I hope you agree that any parents who do not provide this upbringing for their children neglect their responsibility.
I also hope you agree therefore, that parents have a duty to know the men and women they entrust their children to for the greater part of the day. This is because parents carry the primary responsibility for education, not teachers. And because impressionable children soak up information, attitudes and examples, especially from those their parents trust.
A good teacher will develop children so that they reach their full potential – not just as human vessels of knowledge, but as persons capable of making good decisions. A bad teacher will ruin a child’s conscience and character for life, regardless of how much knowledge is imparted.
That is why I would not send my children into the care of the teachers you rejoice in.
Considering you admit that you have no idea about the values your own teachers held, I am not surprised that we disagree on who is fit to teach. If a student is unaware of his teacher’s values it is probably because the teacher has none. And because of that poor education, when that child becomes a parent, he will happily send his children to teachers devoid of value.
I have values and they were imparted to me by my parents and teachers. They are Catholic values and until someone can explain to me why they are unsound, I will defend them and pass them onto my children.
I am sure you would do the same with your Jewish beliefs.
These Catholic values include an understanding of why it is objectively good for marriage to be between a man and a woman and why the creation of families is the purpose of marriage. They include an understanding of why adultery, sodomy, pornography, prostitution and other evils lead only to misery and the destruction of family life.