By Hilary White

LONDON, March 5, 2007 ( – After this April’s implementation of the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SOR’s), British religious schools may no longer be allowed to teach school children that the Christian viewpoint on sexual morality is “objectively true,” a government report says.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights, made up of members from Parliament and the House of Lords, has issued a report on the implementation of the Regulations recommending that religious schools be required to modify their religious instruction to comply with the government-approved doctrine of “non-discrimination”.

Although religious schools will be allowed to remain open and may continue to give instruction in various religious beliefs, instruction must be modified “so that homosexual pupils are not subjected to teaching, as part of the religious education or other curriculum, that their sexual orientation is sinful or morally wrong.”

The report says the Regulations will not “prevent pupils from being taught as part of their religious education the fact that certain religions view homosexuality as sinful,” but they may not teach “a particular religion’s doctrinal beliefs as if they were objectively true”.

Published February 26, the report says, “We do not consider that the right to freedom of conscience and religion requires the school curriculum to be exempted from the scope of the sexual orientation regulations.”

With the Equality Act 2006, the government empowered itself to create regulations making it illegal for anyone providing goods, services, facilities, premises, education or public functions, to discriminate against that person on the grounds of “sexual orientation”. The SOR’s are scheduled to come into effect in England and Wales and Scotland in April this year after a ratifying vote in Parliament. They came into effect in Northern Ireland January 1.

Fr. Tim Finigan, founder of the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life and pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic parish in Blackfen, wrote an ominous warning on his weblog that the government’s interpretation of the SOR’s may represent the end of freedom of religious expression in Britain’s schools.

“Make no mistake – this proposal will make it illegal for Catholic schools to teach that the Catholic faith is true,” Fr. Finigan wrote Friday. “If the recommendations of the Committee are accepted, it is difficult to see how Catholic schools could continue in Britain.”

Fr. Finigan, who teaches sacramental theology at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh and is a trustee of Britain’s Faith Movement, said the wording of the report was “deliberately muddied”. “Our faith does not teach that ‘homosexuality’ itself is necessarily sinful, it teaches that it is disordered. It is homosexual acts that are sinful.”

He points out, however, that the distinction is moot in government circles. “The people who framed this guidance will not accept our teaching that homosexuality is a disorder nor that homosexual acts are sinful.”

The homosexual political doctrine, accepted by the British as well as other governments, requires that no distinction be made between the person, the act and the condition or “orientation”, making any criticism of the movement’s political goals an offence against persons.

British legislators have fully incorporated this doctrine in the law. “They have the bit between their teeth,” Fr. Finigan writes. “Although the direction in which public policy has been moving is obvious enough, I am a little surprised at the pace it has now picked up.”

The bishop of the Scottish Catholic diocese of Paisley warned his flock last month in blunt terms to become spiritually prepared for open persecution with the implementation of the SOR’s. Speaking on the problem of Catholic adoption agencies, Bishop Philip Tartaglia wrote, “This unfortunate episode may well herald the beginning of a new and uncertain time for the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom.”

Read the Joint Committee report:

Read related coverage:
Vatican and Scottish Bishop slam Britain for Equality Act’s “Violation of Religious Liberty”

British PM ~ No Religious Exemption to Law Forcing Provision of Goods and Services to Gays

Read Fr. Finigan’s weblog, The Hermeneutic of Continuity: