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Sunday, 29 April 2012

More Catholic action against same-sex marriage annoys gay campaigners

The Pope’s representative in Britain has urged Roman Catholic leaders to form a united front with their Muslim and Jewish counterparts to oppose gay marriage. And the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) – the only gay humanist charity – isn't very chuffed about it.

Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Apostolic Nuncio, has called for closer cooperation with other faiths as well as Christian denominations to put pressure on the government over its plans to allow same-sex couples to marry.

At the same time the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, has defended  the right of Catholic schools to promote the Church’s position on marriage following accusations of “political indoctrination from secular and humanist campaigners”. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has threatened to take legal action.

The PTT’s secretary, George Broadhead, said: “This move by the Papal Nuncio should come as no surprise. After all, Islamic groups and Orthodox Judaism are as hostile to LGBT rights as the Roman Catholic Church. It is no less surprising to learn that the Archbishop of Southwark is defending the action of Catholic schools. It is outrageous that children attending a school paid for by taxpayers are being encouraged to be homophobic. Let’s hope that the BHA carries out its threat.”

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Wicked witches of the West?

It’s come to something when a police force has to have a unit devoted to “religious violence”.

This story in the Independent tells us: “Police officers in London will receive extra instructions on helping children accused of witchcraft and sorcery with plans to expand the training nationwide if it proves effective.”

Because of the modern trend of using lowercase initials for actual bodies with actual titles (a Guardian sin, mainly, though it’s creeping in on the BBC website, too), it’s impossible to know whether this thing the Indie calls “the Metropolitan Police’s religious violence unit” is a unit that happens to deal with religious violence among other things, or is the Religious Violence Unit.

But, either way, we actually have a unit that deals – exclusively or inter alia – with something called “religious violence”, a phenomenon that is accepted without further explanation.

I’m fed up of saying I have nothing against religion but . . ., because there seems to be more and more about it to object to. Yet these Christians who visit violence upon kids whom they suspect of witchcraft and sorcery presumably follow their Big Man’s examples of humility, turning the other cheek, compassion, understanding.

But, then, maybe JC went along with that Exodus 22: 18 thing: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Then again, there are several interpretations of that. One is that, in the original Hebrew, the word m’khashepah was used, and that means specifically a woman who uses spells to harm others.

Do these Christians really believe their kids want to use magic to harm others?

Just a few thoughts to be going on with . . .

Friday, 27 April 2012

Government probe after Catholic schools allegedly urge kids to sign anti-gay-marriage petition

I see the Welsh government, at least, is going to investigate after Catholic schools in England and Wales were, it’s alleged, found to be more than encouraging kids to sign an anti-gay-marriage petition.

See our post of yesterday for all the gory details.

According – again – to Pink News, the Welsh government “is to begin an official investigation”.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Sign anti-gay-marriage petition, pupils urged

There’s nothing like catching ’em young.

Pink News tells us: “Students at a Catholic state school in south London have been shown a presentation on religious opposition to the government’s proposal to allow gay couples to marry in civil ceremonies which, it is claimed, encouraged them to sign the Coalition for Marriage’s petition against the move.”

Kids as young as 11 were asked to sign this petition, says the online news source.

If this is true, it smacks of hypocrisy. One of the first things the bigots reach for when it comes to telling kids about sexual orientation in school is their age. Oh, they’re too young to have to worry about this sort of thing.

But they seem to be encouraging kids as young as 11 to put their names to a petition opposing equality for gay people.

Pink News quotes a sixth-form student, Katherine: “In our assembly for the whole sixth form you could feel people bristling as [the headmistress] explained parts of the letter and encouraged us to sign the petition.

“She said things about gay marriage and civil partnerships being unnatural. It was just a really outdated, misjudged and heavily biased presentation.

“A few of us in my year are buying Gay Pride badges to pin on our uniform and thought about staging a Stonewall coup by posting the ‘Some people are gay – get over it’ posters around school.”

Good for them!

“Most importantly though, there are several people in my year who aren’t heterosexual – myself included – and I for one was appalled and actually disgusted by what they were encouraging.

“After all, that’s discrimination they were urging impressionable people to engage in, which is unacceptable.”

The Catholic Education Service confirmed to the online outlet that it had written to at least 359 Catholic state secondary schools in England and Wales last month asking them to draw attention to a letter by senior archbishops that told Catholics of their “duty” to do “all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations”.

The Catholic Education Service says: “We have been aiming this towards older pupils and parents. The archbishops’ letter is a positive statement of the Church’s support for marriage, rather than negative comments about gay marriage.”

Yes, well, it amounts to the same thing. Hettie marriage is just there. People get on with it without let or hindrance. It’s taken for granted. People do it. Why bother to say what a jolly whiz thing it is if you’re not trying to hold up gay relationships as something to be condemned by comparison?

Good to see that some of the students have got more sense than the Catholic authorities, anyway.