The Irish teacher who was jailed for refusing to refer to a student by their preferred pronouns has spoken out and defended his actions in court.
Enoch Burke is an evangelical Christian who is facing jail time after repeatedly violating his school’s orders to call a transitioning student by they/them pronouns rather than he/him.
The incident takes place in Westmeath, Ireland, where Burke ignored his teaching suspension and a temporary court order banning him from Wilson’s Hospital School, a Church of Ireland school.
According to the reports, the German and History teacher returned to class despite the ban he received for ‘improper’ use of pronouns while referring to a student who is transitioning.
Now, Burke appeared in court in front of a judge and doubled down on his anti-trans stance as he said he would rather “be a Christian in Mountjoy Prison” than “a pagan acceptor of transgenderism outside it.”
Since he violated a court order, the teacher will remain in prison for at least another week.
“If this court so determines, I will never leave Mountjoy Prison if in leaving the prison I violate my well-informed conscience and religious belief and deny my God,” Burke told the judge.
“It seems to me that I can be a Christian in Mountjoy Prison or be a pagan and respecter of transgenderism outside of it. I know where I belong.
“My faith has led me to that place and will keep me there, God helping me.”
The Christian teacher went on to insist that he would stand by his choices and belief for “every hour of every day for the next 100 years.”
“I have spent the last two nights in prison. As you will appreciate that is new experience for me as a law-abiding citizen,” he added as he blasted the “unlawful” attempts to persecute him over his anti-trans beliefs.
“I have had much time to consider my actions and behavior that brought me to that place and far from finding any instances of misconduct, let alone gross misconduct, I only found my actions to be commendable and that I had the courage to respond to the principal telling her that transgender was an abuse of children and a breach of my constitutional rights to free expression of religious beliefs.
Concluding his statement to the court, Burke made it clear he didn’t intend to abide by his temporary suspension from the school or the court order saying:
“This court can’t deprive me of my religion and can’t deprive me of my dignity, it can’t deprive me of my faith in God and those are things I intend to hold fast to.”
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