The gay Humanist educational charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) has expressed its dismay and disgust at the amendment included in the Children, Schools and Families Bill carried in the House of Commons yesterday. This will allow sex education to be taught in a way that “refects” a school’s “religious character”.
The PTT secretary George Broadhead said: “Once again the government has kowtowed to religions by allowing faith schools to tailor their sex education lessons to their own beliefs.
“Why should atheist and Humanist parents have to send their children to faith schools and risk having their minds polluted by some of the reactionary teachings of these faiths?
“To echo the words of the British Humanist Association, the consequence of this bill is that it will shift the focus of the law as it applies to faith schools away from the needs of children, towards the religious prejudices of the school, as if this is what the law should really be protecting. Who is education supposed to benefit – the child or the church?
“Faith schools now make up one third of the total number and all three main political parties intend to expand them further. Unsurprisingly, a Stonewall survey revealed that a higher proportion of anti-gay bullying occurs in faith schools that in others. How is this going to be tackled if such schools are permitted to teach pupils that gay sexual relationships are sinful?
“New Labour has achieved a good deal in relation to gay rights and equality, but Harriet Harmen has given way to the unelected Anglican Bishops in the House of Lords and Catholic pressure on the Equality Bill and now Ed Balls has evidently succumbed to that same pressure on the Children, Schools and Families Bill.”