Not even in Baden-Württemberg, where the German Green party is at its most bourgeois.

Education in Germany is the business of each ‘Land’, and the Land of Baden-Württemberg, governed by a red-green coalition, is just implementing a new ‘Bildungsplan’ (Education Plan).

I was forwarded a plea to sign a petition for the revision of the Guiding Principles of this Education Plan, due to their excessive focus on sexual orientation and gender identity. Apparently, the initiator of this petition is a school teacher himself. The text of the petition uses measured speech throughout. It even supports the cause of non-discrimination of homosexuals, bisexuals, intersexuals and transgender, and is not against addressing this topic in school. It only claims that the new Guiding Principles exceed that aim, and, by making this issue part of cross-cutting principles pervading all subjects and forms, to aim at ‘pedagogical, moral and ideological re-education’ at schools. (And this is the most violent phrase in the whole petition text.)

In fact, even the Catholic Church, and the two Protestant churches, of Baden-Württemberg have voiced their complaint.

So far, so bad [or good, regarding that very last bit.]

The thing that really got me was the public reaction to the petition. Even as you click on its homepage, you are immediately notified that this petition is controversial. Reading an entirely unrelated news article about alleged ‘homophobia’ in Germany (in itself worth a post), I found that the petition was so infamous that it was mentioned even there.

redgreenscandalBy now, I was shocked and intrigued enough to actually research the disputed text of the Guiding Principles. Clicking on the relevant website of the Ministry of Culture, I found, under ‘Bildungsplan’, as a very prominent point (see picture), the response to the petition by the ministry. The claims made by the petition are ‘wrong and discriminating’. ‘The petition suggests’, it goes on, ‘that the intended guiding principles are wholly to be regarded under the aspect of sexual diversity. This is an exorbitant exaggeration, as this is merely one topic among many others. […] The suggestion that the Ministry of Culture wanted to pedagogically and morally re-educate pupils is entirely absurd. Such a claim and phrasing show the dogmatic background of the author. They are irresponsible and have nothing to do with democratical discussion anymore.’ [my emphasis, and translation]

So what is in the text? Fair enough: There are five guiding principles that are intended to guide education across forms and subjects. These are, at first sight, innocuous enough (regarding the topic under discussion):

  1. vocational orientation
  2. education for sustainable development
  3. media literacy
  4. prevention and health education
  5. consumer knowledge

There follow 28 pages listing in details all the competences that are to be imparted at the different levels. And for each and every one of the five points, apart from point four (where the topic gets two bullet points of competences for itself), all of them apparently entirely unrelated to ‘acceptance of sexual diversity’, there follows a whole paragraph (!) on what additionally needs to be taken regard of under the aspect of acceptance of sexual diversity. One topic among many others? Not quite, in my opinion.

I have to own that I have sometimes doubted, not the impact of this issue on society, but its probable consequences for professing Christians. Yet if it comes to the point that a reservedly phrased petition – not against the morality of LGBT lifestyles, not against non-discrimination of such lifestyles being taught at schools, but only against an entire educational plan being dominated by this issue – receives such a prominent and vitriolic reception throughout the mainstream press of Germany, and is denounced as no more consistent with democratic discussion by the very government that prides itself of its participatory approach: then even I concede that the darkness seems to be gathering indeed.