A Christian teacher who was jailed following his refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns has been told that he will remain behind bars over Christmas.
Enoch Burke was jailed in September after refusing to obey a court order to stay away from Wilson’s Hospital School in County Westmeath, Ireland, a school he is employed at.
His school told him to stay away in August after he was suspended on full pay for refusing to address a transitioning student as ‘they’ rather than ‘he,’ citing his devout Christian beliefs, which he maintained are against ‘transgenderism’. But Mr Burke ignored the order and continued to attend school, leading to his arrest.
Mr Burke pleaded with the judge over video link today from Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, to let him out for the festive period.
He told Mr Justice Conor Digham he was ‘not a thief, a murderer or a drug dealer’ and that he was being imprisoned because of his Christian beliefs.
But the judge refused to release Mr Burke as he was not willing to comply with the court order.
However, Mr Burke can be released at any point so long as he purges his contempt before the court.
He told the court that he would not do so as this would be reneging on his duty to God and his core Christian beliefs.
He again pleaded with the court that he was ‘not a criminal’ and asked them to ‘free me for Christmas’.
‘I am in prison for my religious beliefs’, he told the court.
Mr Burke’s parents Sean and Martina were left in fury over their sons imprisonment.
Present in the court, Sean Burke said his son was not a criminal but had simply been brought up in a Christian family.
He added that his son was being wrongly persecuted over his objection to ‘transgenderism’ that was founded on the bible ‘from the book of Genesis to Revelations’.
Mr Burke’s mother Martina told the court ‘shame upon you’ and that they will face judgment from ‘God Almighty’.