Anger in Cambridge over leaflets calling homosexuality 'sin'

Leaflets circulated in Cambridge, Petersfield and Ely that refer to homosexuality as "a sin" have prompted a police search for their distributor.

Police have reported being contacted by several people distressed by the leaflets, which describe homosexuality as "distorted", "corrupted", "unnatural", a "juvenile disorder" and "contrary to the natural law".

The leaflets also link homosexuality to child abuse and warn that acceptance of it will have broader negative consequences for society.

"If the practice of homosexuality is acceptable then in time any form of sexual deviation, perversion and experimentation will be acceptable, including the progressive lowering of the age of consent, taking it below the age of puberty and thus legalizing paedophilia. A common form of homosexuality is pederasty," the leaflet reads.

Malcom Green, who received the leaflet, expressed frustration to the BBC that there was no way to respond as the leaflet provided no details about who was behind it.

"Having read the first few lines I wanted to see which religious organisation or other organisation was sending this out but there was absolutely no accreditation on it whatsoever," he said.  .

"There was no way of getting back to the people with our views on their views."

A Cambridgeshire police spokesman told the BBC: "We have received a number of reports about the leaflets and are treating the matter as a hate incident.

"We are liaising with local and national partners about the leaflets and investigations are ongoing."

Local councillor Sarah Brown represents Petersfield, which includes the diverse Mill Road area, where many of the leaflets were delivered.

She was quoted in Cambridge News as saying that her residents believed they had seen a "sinister monk" delivering the leaflets.

She said the leaflets were "homophobic bigotry masquerading as religion".

Local Christian Richard Herbert said he found the letter as offensive as anyone else: "It's offensive to Christians. What right do they have to be spokespersons on behalf of other Christians? This strikes me as a hate crime and the bottom line is that they are too spineless to leave contact details so that they can be challenged."

The Reverend David Gosling, who lives in Cambridge, said to Cambridge News that he felt it was "akin to the kind of propaganda distributed against the Jews".

The Mayor of Ely, Elaine Griffin-Singh, whose sister received a leaflet, told the BBC that the leaflet's content was "very graphic in its nature and must fall into the realms of unacceptable".

Inspector Steve Poppitt of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary said an investigation was ongoing.