Stop Catholic schools from distributing ‘homophobic’ literature: leader of UK’s largest union
LONDON, February 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The government is allowing “homophobia” to be promoted in religious schools, in the form of a booklet distributed to students at some Catholic schools in Lancashire, says the UK’s largest trades union. In a letter to Education Secretary Michael Gove in December, Brendan Barber, head of the powerful Trades Union Congress, (TUC), wrote, “Schools now have a legal duty to challenge all forms of prejudice. Such literature undermines this completely.”
At issue is the booklet titled, “Pure Manhood: How to become the man God wants you to be,” by American chastity speaker Jason Evert. It says that “homosexual attractions” may “stem from an unhealthy relationship” with a man’s father, “an inability to relate to other guys, or even sexual abuse.”
Reiterating the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the booklet went on to say, “The homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals. Both acts are directed against God’s natural purpose for sex – babies and bonding.”
Barber has demanded that Gove enforce the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits “discrimination” against people based on their “sexual orientation.”
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Minister Gove responded to the accusation, saying that the provisions of the notorious “Sexual Orientation Regulations” of the Equality Act 2007 do not apply to the curriculum taught in “faith schools.” Gove said the provisions “do not extend to the content of the curriculum. Any materials used in sex and relationship education lessons, therefore, will not be subject to the discrimination provisions of the act.”
“If a school conveyed its beliefs in a way that involved haranguing, harassing or berating a gay or lesbian pupil or group of pupils then this would be unacceptable in any circumstances and is likely to constitute unlawful discrimination.”
The response infuriated TUC which said it showed “lack of concern.” Barber said, “Having written to the education secretary to express our worry about the distribution of homophobic literature in faith schools, his lack of concern is very alarming.”
A spokesman from the Department of Education was quoted by the Guardian newspaper saying, “Any school engaging in the promotion of homophobic material would be acting unlawfully.”
Since its passage, the Equality Act, with its Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs), has had heavy repercussions on the ability of Christians to live according to the tenets of their beliefs in Britain. In countless cases, homosexualist activists have used the SORs to launch suits and complaints against Christians in a wide range of occupations and there are fears that the letter from TUC is a form of warning to Britain’s Christian schools.
A London parish priest and professor of theology, Fr. Timothy Finigan spoke with LifeSiteNews.com. He said that the SORs have created an atmosphere of anxiety in Catholic schools.
“The SORs have changed things in that everyone is now treading on eggshells,” Fr. Finigan said.
School officials and teachers are living in fear that “they might be accused of homophobia if they give voice to Christian teaching concerning the homosexual condition or homosexual acts.”
And the situation has not improved with the change of government. “It is not only a New Labour pet subject: there are plenty of Conservatives who have jumped on the bandwagon, including David Cameron who has now publicly committed his party to legalising gay marriage.”
Fr. Finigan said that Catholics have largely been undermined by their own bishops, leaving the hard work of defending Christianity in the public sphere to the Evangelical Protestants who have taken up the challenge.
“The Bishops have said that the Church is opposed to gay marriage, while recognising the reality of civil partnerships. Many Catholics consider that this sends out a mixed message,” he said.
Since the SORs came into effect in April 2007, there has been a steady stream of clashes between homosexualist activists and Christians in the courts. Falling afoul have been teachers, civil servants, nurses, psychological counselors and therapists, bed and breakfast owners and even property managers, who have all had their livelihoods threatened after speaking out against homosexuality or refusing to cooperate with the homosexualist movement’s agenda.
Immediately after the SORs came into effect, all of Britain’s Catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales were forced to either close or sever their ties with the Catholic Church over the requirement that they consider homosexual partners for adoption. Christian foster parents have been struck off for refusing to teach their charges that homosexuality is normal and acceptable. In 2009, Schools minister Vernon Coaker said that as of September 2010 all schools will be legally required to report all “hate incidents” no matter how small, and keep records on offending children.
In nearly every case, these clashes have resulted in court rulings against the Christian parties, and religious leaders and some politicians are starting to worry out loud about the future of the country’s ancient civil liberties. While the Catholic bishops have for the most part remained silent, Evangelical legal activists have warned that Christianity is being consciously shoved out of the public sphere by anti-religious zealots.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, head of the Christian Legal Centre, said, “Secularism, according to this scheme, is not neutral. It punishes dissenters.” Equalities laws, she said, promised a utopia of peaceful coexistence, but the reality is “in fact leads to the beginning of tyranny.”
TUC, the largest umbrella organisation of trades unions in Britain, has adopted promotion of both the abortion and homosexualist movements as part of its formal mandate. In 2008, TUC demanded that the government sack Joel Edwards, the director of the Evangelical Alliance, from the Equality and Human Rights Commission because he had defended the rights of Christians who disagreed with the homosexualist political agenda.
The same year, TUC declared that abortion is a “fundamental right” and demanded that the Labour government totally de-restrict abortion. The group wanted the government to remove the requirement for two doctors to sign permissions, to oppose any mandatory “cooling off” wait period for abortion and to force the 1967 Abortion Act to be adopted in Northern Ireland.