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Religious Figures

Oct 15, 2015

          Campaigners and religious figures reject reverend's anti-LGBT rights claims

Supporters of a campaign for LGBTI+ education tell church “we have left the 1950's behind”


SUPPORTERS of the Time for Inclusive Education (Tie) Campaign have rebuffed a submission from the Free Church of Scotland to the Scottish Parliament regarding a petition supporting LGBTI+ education in schools.


The submission written by Rev David Robertson on behalf of the Free Church claimed that the petition calls for measures which are in violation of the UK Human Rights Act (1998) and said: “If granted the results would inevitably and evidently involve the promotion of a lifestyle which we view as contrary to God’s good plan for us.”


The letter further stated: “We believe that the real object of the petition is to indoctrinate school pupils with one particular perspective on moral and sexual ethics and one which is contrary to mainstream Christianity. We believe this is a Trojan horse to impose an ideological perspective on all pupils, whether they want it or not.”


Supporters of the Tie movement, which campaigns for a statutory education that presents a realistic and inclusive picture of relationships and sexuality to secondary school pupils, hit back at the criticisms.


Niall Gillon, a Gay Catholic & Glasgow based Drag Queen told CommonSpace: “Tie are not looking to incorporate LGBT education into schools for the sole purpose of teaching LGBT children. The campaign is looking toward a holistic curriculum that encourages inclusion between people of all genders and sexual orientations, which can only produce positive results.”


Andrew Page, a member of the Church of Scotland and Affirmation Scotland a pro-LGBTI group within the Kirk, told CommonSpace that the Free Church moderator did not understand the campaign: “David Robertson objects to the petition on the grounds that it 'involves the promotion of a lifestyle which we view as contrary to God’s good plan for us'.


“In this, he fails to understand the purpose of the petition, which is not to promote any 'lifestyle' but to ensure basic standards of education are delivered in order to combat what is a very real problem in Scottish Schools - homophobia and transphobia.”


Rob McDowall a member of the Equality Council told Commonplace that the Free Church does not have a “monopoly” on Christian teaching: “Being LGBT is not a lifestyle choice and is not a 'sexual preference'. LGBT+ relationships are not defined purely or singularly by sexual acts and I would urge the responder to use more sensitive and Christian language. We have left the 1950's behind and someone should ensure the Free Church of Scotland are reminded of this. 


“Thankfully this Church does not enjoy a monopoly on God and I will continue to use my platforms to spread a message of love and acceptance for all those at odds with these, all too often, virulent utterings masquerading as Christian in nature.”


The Tie campaign argue that more effort is required to deal with ailenation and lack of support for pupils with a variety of sexual identities.


26 per cent of Scottish pupils from a sexual minority have attempted suicide, over half commit self-harm and 99 per cent deal with homophobic language in school, according to the 2012 Stonewall Scotland schools report.


The group will present its case to the Scottish Parliament public petitions committee on 27 October.


Picture courtesy of TIE Campaign