Teacher jailed and fired after refusing to use trans pronouns now faces daily fine for showing up at school
Teacher jailed and fired after refusing to use trans pronouns now faces daily fine for showing up at schoolFollow @KnightsTempOrg
A Christian teacher who refused to use the transgender pronouns of a student is facing a daily fine of €700 if he does not obey a court order barring him from attending the school he was fired from.
Enoch Burke, who spent 108 days in jail last year for his refusal to abide by the court order, was officially fired last week by the Church of Ireland (Anglican) Wilson’s Hospital School in Co. Westmeath, Ireland.
Responding to High Court Justice Brian O’Moore’s decision to fine the teacher €700 per day from Friday unless purges his contempt of the court order, Burke told reporters that the judge “wants to fine me for the profession of my religious beliefs.”
“What has become of us as a nation, to fine somebody for their religious beliefs?” Burke asked. “We’re at a time in this country where people are at their wit’s end, with the cost of everything as we know … and Brian O’Moore, a judge of the High Court, has sat down and said to himself that not only will you have to pay for all those things, but you now have to pay for your religious belief.”
“He’ll make you a pauper for the profession of your religious belief,” Burke added.
The teacher declined to answer questions on whether he would continue to attend the school and face significant fines or purge his contempt of court.
An Evangelical Christian who taught German, history and politics at the school for four years, Burke has consistently maintained that to use transgender pronouns would violate his religious beliefs and that his subsequent suspension by the school, and the court orders against him, were therefore unjust.
Jailed on September 5, 2022, Mr. Justice Brian O’Moore released Burke on December 21st, despite the teacher’s unwillingness to purge his contempt of the court order barring him from the school’s property.
Mr. Justice O’Moore said today that he hoped the prospect of paying almost €5000 in fines every week would “end his (Burke’s) utterly pointless attendance at a school which does not want him on its property.”
The judge warned, however, that the fines could be increased if they do not have the desired effect.
Burke was fired by the school last Friday and has shown up at the school grounds for work each day this week despite being arrested and released on Tuesday.
He has until 2 p.m. GMT on Friday to officially purge his contempt before the court or the €700 daily fines will begin to be applied.
Mr. Justice O’Moore admitted today that it was not “immediately attractive” to jail the Christian conscientious objector again as he theorized that Burke had exploited media attention surrounding his imprisonment last year for his own ends, while the judge also considered the schools suggestion to sequester the teacher’s assets to be futile.
Before his imprisonment, Burke told the High Court that “transgenderism is against my Christian belief.”
“It is contrary to the Scriptures, contrary to the ethos of the Church of Ireland and of my school,” the teacher added. “I love my school, with its motto Res Non Verba, actions not words, but I am here today because I said I would not call a boy a girl.”
“It is insanity that I will be led from this courtroom to a place of incarceration, but I will not give up my Christian beliefs,” he insisted.
Burke also promised Mr. Justice Max Barrett on September 7th that he would “never leave Mountjoy Prison if in leaving that prison I must violate my well-informed conscience and my religious beliefs and deny my God. I consider it commendable that I chose to obey God rather than man.”