Crusading Catholic Gerard Gaskin, the head of Catholic Education Tasmania, has complained that sexual consent education designed for the national curriculum contains amoral information.
Occasionally, we like to check in on the modern-day crusaders. You know. The moralists who create a God after their own image and then strive to have everyone else obey their rather convenient diety.
Since LGBTQIA+ law reform began in the seventies, the crusader focus has often been on stopping and even reversing such reforms.
The political power and income of the crusaders often derive from their anti-LGBTQIA+ activity. Yes. Bigots build careers on hatred — and hatred alone.
So we take a keen interest in every word they utter.
The sexual consent update
After federal and state education ministers agreed in 2022 to make consent education mandatory, the Federal Education Department designed materail incorporating an understanding of gendered stereotypes, coercion, and power imbalances. The reform enjoyed bipartisan support.
It was partly a response to a post by a former Sydney private school student who asked on Instagram if followers or someone close to them suffered a sexual assault during their schooling. Over 200 replied yes within 24 hours and more than 6000 shared their stories of sexual assault since.
So what is Gerard Gaskin worried about?
Gaskin complains that the curriculum teaches that sex is okay if both persons consent.
“Consent is proposed as the only standard we should use to judge whether a sexual act is right or wrong, legal or illegal.
“In Catholic morality, consent is necessary, but not sufficient, to make the sexual act right or wrong. It is the long-held teaching of Christ that sexual activity is only legitimately expressed within the loving relationship between husband and wife.”
Now that seems a bit of a stretch to me. The most direct statement from Christ on marriage quoted in the Christian Bible is Mark 10:6-9. According to Mark, Christ was responding to Pharisees asking if it was legal for a man to divorce his wife.
“From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Now, I don’t see anything there that could be described as a prohibition against sex outside of a heterosexual marriage.
Has Gerard Gaskin made the news for anything else?
In June 2023, Gaskin apologised over a complaint about unwelcome ‘greeting hugs’ he’d given two female colleagues.
“As commonly happens, at the beginning of a meeting of a large group of people who work around the state, a number of colleagues offered hugs to each other, and to myself.
“I found out some two weeks later that someone made a formal complaint that my greeting hug was not welcomed by two colleagues.”
Notably, the complaint did not emanate from the two women hugged.
Gerard Gaskin stated that Catholic Education Tasmania engaged an independent investigator to look into the complaint. Also, an external legal firm to independently audit the process.
“At the conclusion of these investigations, I was informed that the two persons concerned were satisfied with the outcome of the investigation and wanted no further action.”
However, church activist group Concerned Catholics of Tasmania called for an independent investigation of the culture at Catholic Education Tasmania following the allegations.
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