Religious Schools Face Ban on Teaching Christian Sexual Morality

The Lawyers' Christian Fellowship (LCF) has expressed alarm following a recent report on the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs) which indicated that Christian schools may no longer be allowed to teach children that the Christian view on human sexuality is "objectively true".

The LCF said last week's report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) on the Northern Ireland SORs and proposed England, Wales and Scotland SORs was "highly concerning", as it warned that the "thrust of the secularist agenda cannot be underestimated".

The report will be a key source for the Government and politicians as they finalise the content of the England, Wales and Scotland SORs, and also when they take a ratifying vote on the legislation in April.

Paragraph 44 of the report stated that "the prohibitions on discrimination in the regulations limit the manifestations of religious beliefs" and went on to say that such a limitation on the freedoms of people of faith was "justifiable in a democratic society for the protection of the right of gay people not to be discriminated against".

The LCF warned that the JCHR "could not be clearer in saying that they believe the freedom to live a practising homosexual lifestyle trumps the freedom to live a religious lifestyle".

According to the LCF, the JCHR's proposals would make it unlawful to allow the right of Christians to live out their faith to override the right of homosexuals to practise their lifestyles.

The report also called on the Government to apply the regulations to the school curriculum, something the Government has stopped short of so far. The JCHR report said that school teaching on sexual morality must be modified so that "homosexual pupils are not subjected to teaching, as part of their religious education or other curriculum, that their sexual orientation is sinful or morally wrong".

If this proposal from the JCHR gets the go ahead, the LCF said that no Christian schools would have the right to promote marriage over homosexual relationships or hold to a Christian ethos that sex is only right in a heterosexual monogamous marriage.

The report also says the regulations will not "prevent pupils from being taught as part of their religious education the fact that certain religions view homosexuality as sinful", but they may not teach "a particular religion's doctrinal beliefs as if they were objectively true".

The LCF said this was an "astounding statement" which would make it illegal for faith schools to teach that Christianity and its principles are 'objectively true' and prevent any school from "having a religious 'ethos', which the law currently allows, in any true sense of the word".
The LCF also refuted the claim from the JCHR that a person's sexual orientation was the same as their race or sex as an 'inherent characteristic', saying it was an "unfounded claim with no basis in science".

"Whilst there is indisputable proof that race and sex are genetic, it is obvious that sexual orientation is not comparable in this regard, not least because no one can change their race or sex," it said.

The LCF warned that the JCHR report would be reported to the Government and politicians "unchallenged in its assertions" unless Christians took the "time and effort to stand up and explain the truth".

While it said that unjustified discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation must rightly be opposed, it also said that Christians must "be free under British law to lovingly and compassionately hold to the clear teaching of the Gospel that God created sexual relationships to be enjoyed only within a monogamous heterosexual marriage".

The LCF called on Christians to contact their local MPs and peers to oppose the regulations, as well as Ruth Kelly and the Department for Women and Equality.

The SOR's are scheduled to come into effect in England and Wales and Scotland in April this year after a ratifying vote in Parliament. They came into effect in Northern Ireland 1 January 2007.

To read the Joint Committee on Human Rights report into the Sexual Orientation Regulations click here:

For advice on how to lobby your MP and peer, click here: