Archbishop of Canterbury defends CofE school policy

The Archbishop of Canterbury has defended the Church of England's anti-bullying policy that Christian parents and campaigners say is transgender-affirming and harmful.

Christian parents Nigel and Sally Rowe, together with Christian Concern, are calling for 'Valuing All God's Children' to be scrapped.

They say that the policy is being used by Church of England schools to defend affirming policies and shut down complaints from parents and staff who raise objections. 

They also claim that the policy states that children as young as five should be affirmed if they want to identify as the opposite gender, a claim that has been strenuously denied by the Church of England's chief education officer, Nigel Genders.

The Rowes shared their concerns about 'Valuing All God's Children' in a letter sent to Archbishop Justin Welby last year, in which they also asked to meet him.

Replying to their letter, the Archbishop rejected calls to scrap the guidance and declined a meeting, saying that he was "in full agreement with Nigel's recent statement".

"The policy document 'Valuing All God's Children' is integral to our vision for education and the wisdom, hope and integrity it aspires to," he said.

"The prevention of any form of bullying is essential to the dignity and respect we encourage in schools. I recognise that this can be quite complicated to live out in a school community where parents, staff and children may all have different views."

He added: "We will continue to review our policies in light of updated legislation and Government guidance."

The Rowes, who withdrew their children from a Church of England school over its trans-affirming policy, said they were "very disappointed" by the Archbishop's response and that the Church of England is "manifestly failing in its duty of care" towards children. 

"It ultimately demonstrates that the Archbishop of Canterbury upholds the position of our son's primary school that we and our child were potentially 'transphobic' bullies for not believing in transgender ideology," they said.

"The Church of England appear to be acting as puppets to the government and are kowtowing to whatever the government and Stonewall say on these issues. They are not standing on the Word of God but the word of man.

"The Church of England has 4,700 primary schools under its care which it is exposing to an ideology that promotes chest binders and affirming children as young as five in the opposite gender.

"By standing by Valuing All God's Children, the Archbishop of Canterbury is supporting secular culture and allowing bible believing Christians to be persecuted for their beliefs on human sexuality.

"The Church of England is repeatedly abandoning bible-believing Christians and their children on the altar of transgender affirmation."

Christian Concern chief executive Andrea Williams stood by their claims about 'Valuing All God's Children'.

"Even at this late stage this is an opportunity for the church to speak clearly of what true identity is. This is actually what society wants to hear and our children need to hear," she said. 

"Instead, the response from the Archbishop of Canterbury is sadly predictable. It is no surprise to see the CofE hierarchy refusing to tell the truth on what it means to me made in God's image and speak boldly into one of the most important social issues of our time.

"Schools, local authorities, and the Archbishop of Canterbury have sadly believed and enforced Mermaids' and Stonewall's lie that if you question an affirmative approach to gender-confusion you could be breaking the law. Tragically, this is harming our children."

She continued, "If the Church of England wishes to make clear that it does not believe young children should be affirmed in a transgender identity it can do so simply – by withdrawing Valuing All God's Children.

"VAGC fully affirms the concept of 'trans pupils' which entirely reflects the worldview and legal understanding of Mermaids rather than a Christian one."