Church of the Poisoned Mind
Throughout the 1980’s schools were gagged from talking about homosexuality by the Conservative Government’s hated Clause 28. Fast forward to what many of us would like to think are enlightened times, with Clause 28 consigned to the history books and our knowledge of how HIV can be prevented through education and safer sex. David Cameron has apologised for the way the conservatives dealt with these issues in the past and now schools are legally obliged to condemn discrimination on the grounds of sexual-orientation, although there is still a long way to go with many schools not discussing enough but the issues of safer sex. However, last year Pope Benedict XVI has pulled off his blinkers to the AIDS crises and said that in exceptional circumstances, (male prostitutes ) condoms can be used. Hearing these things from such high power, one could almost believe things are getting better, but a report in the news recently has shown there are still those intent on peddling untruths and causing as much damage as they can with views on homosexuality. Last week it was reported that a US preacher has visited Catholic schools and peddling outdated hatred by distributing a booklet called: Pure Manhood: How to become the man God wants you to be. Within the pages the booklet suggest that feeling of homosexuality is a disorder against Gods wishes and that homosexual feelings in adolescence men may be a reaction to an unhealthy relationship with the young person’s father, an inability to relate to other young men, or even sexual abuse. The book goes on to say that “scientifically speaking, safe sex is a joke”. Returning to Cameron and his rousing words at the time of the last election promising that his government would be a fairer, inclusive Britain; it would be hoped that he would step up to the plate and condemn these preacher’s words and ban him from peddling such hatred in schools. After all, we have seen just how fiercely he has come down on other preachers who peddle hatred with the likes of Abu Qatada under house arrest with the backroom boys working day and night to have him extradited. But unsurprisingly Cameron’s government have proven they are as eager as ever to continue discriminating as they have always done with education secretary Michael Gove saying, “The education provisions of the Equality Act 2010 which prohibit discrimination against individuals based on their protected characteristics (including their sexual orientation) 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.” A further statement from the Department for Education added, “Any school engaging in the promotion of homophobic material would be acting unlawfully.” But the row highlights a grey area over the teaching of sex education. A review intended to offer new guidelines on what was right for schools to teach was kicked into the long grass when the last election was called.” This in other words translates that the government don’t see this as a vote winner and hope that the issue will get pushed aside, even though chief executive Ben Summerskill has said, “It would certainly be helpful if there was clarity as to what is appropriate for young people of all ages, the water could no longer be muddied by people pushing age-inappropriate sex material on the one hand and fundamentalist anti-gay religious materials on the other.” Church leaders are continuing to bemoan that their views are being marginalised. Perhaps for one moment the likes of the former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey should take a look at how his religion is being used to frighten, misinform and ruin lives and then take stock at how the Christian faith can be used for the better and not hate.