If anyone hears of this happening at Archbishop McGrath, I want to know about it please. I also want to know if anyone sees or hears of a homophobic booklet called “Pure Manhood: How to become the man God wants you to be” – distributed in some Catholic schools. (Andy Chyba)
Catholic school pupils have been asked to back a petition by the Coalition for Marriage, which has so far attracted about 466,000 signatures.
Wednesday 25 April 2012
Pupils at state-funded Catholic schools in England and Wales being asked to back campaign against same-sex marriage
The Roman Catholic church has written to every state-funded Catholic secondary school in England and Wales asking them to encourage pupils to sign a petition against gay marriage.
The Catholic Education Service, which acts for Catholic bishops in England and Wales, contacted 385 secondary schools to highlight a letter read in parish churches last month, in which two archbishops told worshippers that Catholics have a “duty to do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations”.
The CES also asked schools to draw pupils’ attention to the petition being organised by the Coalition for Marriage, a Christian campaign which has attracted more than 466,000 signatures to date.
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “This is a clear breach of the authority and privilege that the Catholic Education Service has been given in schools.
“Surely it is no part of its remit to promote a specific political campaign from this purely sectarian viewpoint. It is disgraceful that children are being encouraged into bigotry when they are attending a state school paid for by taxpayers.”
A pupil at St Philomena’s Catholic high school for girls in Carshalton, in the south London borough of Sutton, told the website PinkNews.co.UK that children aged 11 to 18 had been encouraged to sign the anti-equality pledge by their headteacher.
She said: “In our assembly for the whole sixth form you could feel people bristling as she explained parts of the letter and encouraged us to sign the petition. It was just a really outdated, misjudged and heavily biased presentation.”
She said some pupils had responded by buying Gay Pride badges to pin to their uniforms. “There are several people in my year who aren’t heterosexual myself included and I for one was appalled and actually disgusted by what they were encouraging,” she said. “After all, that’s discrimination they were urging impressionable people to engage in, which is unacceptable.”
The British Humanist Association said the CES’s actions were likely to be in breach of sections 406 and 407 of the 1996 Education Act, which ban the political indoctrination of schoolchildren and require political views to be presented in a balanced way. The Act was used in a failed attempt to prevent schools showing Al Gore’s climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth.