Church Society defends vicar being investigated over views on LGBT education in schools

(Photo: Unsplash/La-Rel Easter)

Church Society has come out in defence of a vicar in the Church of England who likened the Government's planned LGBT education in schools to "child grooming".

The Rev Peter Hughes, rector of St Alban's, Wickersley, in South Yorkshire, is being investigated by the Church of England school where he is governor over the comments. 

Writing in the parish magazine, Rev Hughes said the Government's relationships and sex education (RSE) programme was "nothing but state-sponsored child abuse". 

"The culture war is hotting up," he wrote in extracts published by The Mirror. 

"Christian parents need to wake up to the danger posed by cultural Marxists directly targeting their children with LGBTI ideology. 

"Christians should love those who self-identify as LGBTI along with all our neighbours, but this cannot mean that we are obliged to celebrate LGBTI ideology and lifestyles and promote them to our children."

From 2020, relationships education is to become mandatory for all primary school children, and relationships and sex education for secondary school children in England. 

Rev Hughes said that the RSE lessons would result in the "sexual indoctrination" of young people. 

"This sexual indoctrination of young people prepares them for early sexual experimentation, normalises it and, in so doing, opens the doors for sexual predators," he said. 

READ MORE: Parental concerns over sex education should not be 'brushed aside', says bishop

The letter was written in response to protests that have been held outside Birmingham schools by Muslim parents concerned about LGBT awareness lessons. 

Rev Hughes said Christians needed to follow the example of their Muslim neighbours and insist on their right to have their children educated in accordance with their beliefs.

Rev Peter Hughes

"The UK media were desperate to portray the reasonable, mainly Muslim parents, as homophobic bigots.  Meanwhile Christian parents, duped by the seductive language, meekly acquiesce to this new programme of state indoctrination," he wrote. 

Rev Hughes has faced strong criticism over his comments, including from Paul Scriven, a Liberal Democrat peer, who said according to the BBC: "He's a fool, I think he knows nothing about what's going on."

READ MORE: Christian school worker dismissed after sharing concerns about sex education on Facebook

He added, "He doesn't have the right to use these opinions to stop young people being taught to understand the world they inherit.

"He is quite right to have his personal opinions; I think they're wrong and outdated."

Church Society, a conservative fellowship within the Church of England, has defended the vicar and echoed his concerns about the RSE lessons.

It said: "Revd Peter Hughes' article reflects the very real concerns of Christian parents, educators, and clergy all over the country. Church Society is working to support and encourage those who stand against the intolerance of the LGBT activists in our schools." 

The school and its trust said in a statement that they did not share his views: "There is a due process if we feel any governor has brought the school or academy into disrepute. That process has begun, which does of course include a full investigation before a decision is made."