Christian Teacher Imprisoned After Refusing to Call Male Student ‘They’

An evangelical Christian high school teacher was jailed Monday after refusing to use transgender pronouns, according to multiple reports.

Enoch Burke, an Irish teacher at a Church of Ireland boarding school, has refused to comply with court orders barring him from his workplace after spending two nights in prison, according to the Independent.


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“I can be a Christian in Mountjoy Prison or I can be a pagan acceptor of transgenderism outside it,” Burke told the high court. “I consider it commendable that I chose to obey God rather than man.”

The teacher was suspended with pay pending a disciplinary process last month after he opposed a request from Niamh McShane, the Wilson’s Hospital School principal, to call a boy “they” instead of “he” and use a different name.

He teaches students German, history and politics, as well as debating, the Daily Mail reports.

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“I love my school. I am here today because I would not call a boy a girl,” Burke told the court Monday. “I am a teacher and I don’t want to be in prison. I want to be in my classroom today.”

Although Burke said transgenderism violates his conscience and religious beliefs, McShane said his refusal violates the school’s inclusive admission policy.

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Burke continued to come to the school despite being ordered by the court not to because he claimed the suspension was invalid because he did not “commit an act of gross misconduct.”

“It is reprehensible that anyone’s religious beliefs could be taken as a ground for misconduct or gross misconduct,” Burke said. “Were I to obey the order of the board of management and the order of the court, I would have to accept that sticking by my belief in male and female is wrong.”

The judge ordered Burke to go to prison indefinitely “until he purges his contempt or until further order of this court.”

The teacher, however, said he plans to refuse to comply: “I cannot purge my contempt by holding my Christian beliefs in contempt…The tragedy of this case is that by merely stating my opposition to transgenderism, I have paid dearly.”

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