Catholic Church Tackles British Government over Promotion of Homosexuality

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

London ( - A week before Tony Blair's government announces its intention to scrap a law banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools, the Catholic Church in Britain has accused the government of being out of touch with public views on the matter.

"People do not, in general, wish their children to be taught the theory or practice of homosexuality at school," the Catholic cardinal for Scotland, Thomas Winning, wrote in a Scottish newspaper. "If we are not very, very careful, we will inadvertently promote a lifestyle for our children which will reduce their life expectancy, increase their chances of HIV infection and expose them to predatory and abusive relationships," he warned.

Winning was reacting to the government's plans to abolish Section 28 of the Local Government Act, a law passed by a former Conservative government. Section 28 bans the promotion of homosexuality by schools and councils, and it bans the promotion "of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship."

During the last election, the Labor Party committed itself to dumping the clause, abhorred by homosexual activists since its introduction 11 years ago. The announcement is expected to be included in next week's Queen's Speech, which outlines government policy for the year ahead.

Homosexual campaigners charge that Section 28 has encouraged homophobic prejudice. But Winning wrote that abolishing the law "will leave the way open to a new values-free political correctness which would impose an 'anything goes' morality on our children."

He also backed opposition to homosexual couples being allowed to adopt children, and he said it was not wrong to discriminate against homosexual applicants when recruiting teachers, sports coaches or soldiers. "While denouncing homosexual activity, the church also defends homosexual persons from those forms of discrimination which are unjust and seeks to help them find joy and peace living in the joy of chastity," Winning wrote.

Last week, the executive of the devolved Scottish Parliament announced it would abolish Section 28 in Scotland early next year. Britain's House of Commons is expected to follow suit. Scotland's Communities Minister, Wendy Alexander, said the intention was to prevent homosexuals from being bullied in classrooms.

The Catholic Church is fighting this particular battle on many fronts. In California, the Church has joined a campaign aimed at banning same-sex marriages. It will lend its backing to Proposition 22, one of a range of questions that will be put to California voters next March. The proposal is being spearheaded by state senator Pete Knight, who lost a brother to AIDS.