The UK gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) has accused the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland of trying to outdo the Pope in his attacks on secularism and LGBT rights.
Cardinal Keith O’Brian has used his Easter sermon to rail against what he describes as “aggressive secularism” which was something Pope Benedict warned about on his state visit to Britain last year. The Cardinal referred to the enemies of the Christian faith in Britain and the power they currently exert.
In a reference to equality legislation preventing discrimination against LGBT people, Cardinal O’Brien denounced what he claimed was the way Christians had been prevented from acting in accordance with their beliefs because they refuse to endorse such lifestyles.
In 2006 O’Brian declared that Government proposals designed to outlaw sexual-orientation discrimination constitute grave threats to “freedom of conscience” and to “religious freedom”. In the same year he compared same sex partnerships to paedophilia.
In 2009 he urged Scottish National Party ministers to abandon plans to give gay couples the right to become foster parents. He described the measures as “misguided and inappropriate” and claimed they would put vulnerable children at risk.“The proposals are as misguided as the change to allow same-sex adoption”, he said.
Reacting to the latest attack, the PTT’s Secretary George Broadhead said: “It seems as if O’Brian is trying to outdo his boss in the Vatican with his anti-secularist and anti-gay rhetoric. When referring to the enemies of the Christian faith in Britain, he no doubt has in mind organisations like the National Secular Society (NSS) which campaigns for a society where everyone is free to practise their religion, change it or not have one, but asserts that religion must not have privileged influence in the public and political arenas where it can so easily become an excuse for conflict, inequality and injustice. The NSS provides some of the most vociferous support for LGBT people and their rights.”
Mr Broadhead added: “With the present government bent on promoting religion, notably by greatly increasing the number of so-called faith schools at taxpayers’ expense, the cardinal’s claim that Christianity has powerful enemies is ludicrous.”