By Hilary White
LONDON, January 27, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The leading life and family groups of Britain and Ireland say they have little hope that a government led by David Cameron’s Tories will significantly reverse the anti-life and homosexualist direction taken by Labour over their decade of rule.
The U.K.'s Christian Institute recently said that while Cameron’s promise of recognition for marriage in tax reform is a step in the right direction, including same-sex civil partnerships in the measure undermines their intention. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) went even further, saying that including homosexuality as equivalent to marriage and supporting abortion is directly opposed to the support for the family that Cameron has made a key point in his policies.
It was revealed last week that the Labour government will call a general election no later than May 6. Even with slips in the polls, it is widely expected that David Cameron’s Conservative party will form the next government.
During his leadership of the Conservatives, Cameron has presented himself as the defender of marriage and the family, but Britain’s leading life and family groups are skeptical.
Cameron recently answered a question from Stonewall, Britain’s leading homosexualist organization, about education in schools, saying, “Should we teach [kids] about civil partnerships being a way of same-sex couples showing commitment just as married couples show commitment? Yes we should.”
The question that Cameron was answering was about remarks made by Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, who said earlier this month that faith schools must be forced to teach that homosexuality is normal and harmless.
While Ed Balls, the Labour government’s Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families, last week said that he agrees with Clegg, Cameron took a slightly softer approach, but one that is far from satisfactory for pro-family organizations in the U.K.
Cameron said that there was one area where Clegg “potentially” got it wrong, saying, “I don’t think the style and content of religious or relationship education should be dictated from on high from Whitehall or from Westminster. I think there’s a danger with that.” However, he then went on to make his remarks about teaching children about “equality” and homosexual civil partnerships, and highlighted the need to address what he called the problem of “homophobic bullying.”
Mike Judge, the head of communications at the Christian Institute told LSN that though he supports the Tory plan to at least recognize marriage in the tax system, the flaw lies in their acceptance of same-sex civil unions as equivalent to natural marriage.
Judge said that although “Cameron wants to back marriage in the tax system, he also wants to extend these benefits to those in civil partnerships. I think we try to talk to any political party, but I am concerned about his definition of marriage. I don’t like his definition of what marriage is: it’s elastic, it’s slippery.”
Columnist and author Melanie Phillips wrote in the Daily Mail this weekend that it will take more than a few tax breaks for married couples to reverse Britain’s “descent into savagery.”
Phillips wrote, “Marriage is still the best vehicle for producing emotionally healthy, socially responsible children.” But it will not suffice to change the tax laws, she said. Instead a wholesale return to traditional ideas of family life and social order is required.
“The disintegration of the family lies at the heart of the progressive breakdown of moral and social behaviour – and the erosion of marriage lies at the heart of that disintegration. Its fragile state is due to the fact that it has been systematically emptied of meaning.”
Marriage, Phillips wrote, because it “requires people to act unselfishly” is an inherently fragile institution that needs “to be shored up and protected by a web of formal and informal laws, conventions and attitudes – not least disapproval of those who flout its core principles of faithfulness and chastity.”
Judge said he agreed with Melanie Phillips that “it certainly does take more than tax breaks” to restore moral and social cohesion in Britain.
“I don’t think anyone gets married because of the tax benefits,” Judge said, although he praised the notion of marriage being bolstered by the tax laws. “I’m planning on getting married in a few months time and I don’t want to be penalized by the tax system for being married.” Judge pointed out that Labour has flatly refused to even recognize the need for tax benefits for married couples.
Judge called for an overhaul of the benefits system that many believe rewards unwed motherhood and encourages indigence. He also said the sex education syllabus needs to be overhauled, saying, “The reality is that almost all schools do teach sex-ed anyway. Sex education has damaged our children for a long time, making it compulsory will make the situation worse.”
“Particularly the decision to tell parents that they lose the right to take children out of sex-ed classes until they are 15.”
John Smeaton, head of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) told LSN that it is Cameron’s insistence on equating same-sex partnerings with natural marriage that will be the downfall of the Tory party’s promises.
SPUC, he said, has been “absolutely clear that for the last forty-plus years, to urge people not to vote along party political lines. It has never been more important.” Smeaton pilloried Cameron for his willingness “to expand access to abortion, and to say that marriage has the same value as marriage.” These, he said, will do nothing more than exacerbate the “broken society” that Cameron publicly bemoans.
“What is increasingly necessary is for ordinary citizens to make it clear that they will not allow their children to be taught this stuff,” Smeaton said. “This is the message we have to send the party leaders.”
Smeaton said he has a “huge admiration” for the late Pope John Paul II and his encyclical Evangelium Vitae and his teaching that sexuality cannot be separated from procreation.
“You cannot hope to build an authentic culture of life without teaching young people about the human value of sexuality. The fruitfulness of marriage. Separate the unitive and the procreative aspects of marriage and everything else follows: contraception, abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia, since you have attacked openness to life at its very beginning.”
The Cameron Tories, he said, “pay lip service to marriage, but as long as they’re promoting concepts that run totally contrary to the foundation of society in marriage, they are seeking to undermine the social acceptance of authentic marriage.”
Read related LSN coverage:
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“Outreach to Gay Activists” among Top Five Priorities for UK Conservative Party