LONDON, November 10, 2003 ( – The Rt. Rev Dr Peter Forster, the Anglican Bishop of Chester is under investigation by police for suggesting that homosexuals may benefit from reorientation therapy.  The bishop may be found guilty under a UK hate crime law enacted in 1986.  That law, The Public Order Act, defines hate crime as “abusing people because of their race, faith, religion or disability – or because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual”.

The London Telegraph reports that the offending statement reads: Some people who are primarily homosexual can reorientate themselves. I would encourage them to consider that as an option, but I would not set myself up as a medical specialist on the subject – that’s in the area of psychiatric health.”  The bishop’s statement was made after studying the issue for 18 months while assisting in writing the Church of England report Some Issues in Human Sexuality – A Guide to Debate.  Rev. Royal Hamel, a Canadian pastor and spokesman for Campaign Life Evangelical told LifeSite, “Its one of the scariest things that I’ve seen in a long time.  Here you have a man, a clergyman, who has studied the issue for a long time, making a perfectly reasonable reflection.”  Rev. Hamel warned that with hate crime bill C-250 looming in the Senate Canada should expect the same.  “There is no doubt that this is exactly where Canada is heading.  To actually see it happening in other counties . . . we think its never going to happen here. Nonsense, we have the proof that it is happening in other countries.”  Cheshire Police told the media they had received a complaint and were investigating and had sent a copy to the Crown Prosecution Office to determine if an offence had been committed.  Homosexual activists welcomed the police investigation.  Martin Reynolds of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (the LGCM) told the Telegraph “These are irresponsible remarks that could inflame latent homophobia.  I am sure that the bishop is a very gentle man and his views are sincere. But many people in history who are gentle and sincere have said things that are evil.”  See the coverage in the Telegraph: