Thursday, March 29, 2007

Homophobic Bullying

The House of Commons education select committee have called for a national inquiry into bullying, they believe that schools are not addressing the issue because they are trying to protect their reputations. New guidance is also needed to ensure that victims who dare to fight back are not suspended or expelled. ChildLine reported that it had received 37,000 calls about bullying in 2005-6, 12% up on the previous year.

The report singles out Catholic schools, which, it says, should be forced to make public their commitment to stop gay pupils being bullied. The Catholic Church has refused to follow government guidelines urging schools to set up specific policies against homophobic bullying. The MPs' demand for schools to detail types of bullying conflicts with the policy of the Catholic Education Service, but the committee says this must be challenged. “Unless specific forms of bullying are explicitly included in anti-bullying policies, there is a danger they will not be adequately addressed.”

The committee was told that about 10-20% of young people had experienced general bullying, while that might rise to 30-50% among secondary school pupils who were attracted to the same sex.

Giving evidence to MPs the Archbishop of Birmingham defended the way Catholic schools teach children about homosexuality. Vincent Nichols said specific policies to tackle homophobic bullying were unnecessary. He said, “As to the moral codes concerning sexual behaviour there is a simple principle - sexual intercourse belongs within the marriage.”

The Pentecostalist view on homosexuality is quite clear, one of the largest groups are the Assemblies of God they view it as an aberration, evil, a sin against God and man, and ungodly. The Canadian web site Religious Intolerance states,

‘They view the issue of homosexuality as not a matter of discrimination but of morality. Thus, in order to preserve the moral and spiritual health of the nation, gays and lesbians must not be granted equality with heterosexuals. Homosexuality is regarded as a conscious choice; a lifestyle; the implication being that an adult can change their sexual orientation. They believe that all sexually active gays and lesbians are destined for hell. However, those who repent and accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour will be converted to heterosexuality and attain heaven. A homosexual is not permitted to join the denomination as a member. Thus, ordination is out of the question.’

On other Pentecostalist web sites you will struggle to find a statement of beliefs about anything, they are too busy selling DVDs, CDs and books or soliciting donations.

Graham Dacre the man behind the academy in Norwich used to belong to the Assemblies of God influenced group ‘Proclaimers International’, recently he merged his own church with Mount Zion Family Life Church to form Norwich Family Life Church.

Let’s imagine the following scenario, your child attends the new Norwich academy they have a particular sexual orientation and as a result suffer homophobic bullying, will they receive support from the school? The trust that sponsors the academy (Graham Dacre is supplying £1.95 million the Church of England Diocese of Norwich £50,000) will have a majority on the board of governors, they will decide on the “ethos” of the school.

Graham Dacre left Proclaimers International in December 2004. Was it because of their attitude towards homosexuality or does he still believe it is a ‘sin’? I’d like to know.

Assemblies of God statement on homosexuality

Ted Haggard

Anti Academies Alliance


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