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Last Updated: Monday, 10 November, 2003, 14:09 GMT
Police chief criticises bishop
Bishop Peter Forster
Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster's remarks have been heavily criticised
Cheshire's Chief Constable has criticised the Bishop of Chester for his remarks on homosexuality.

Peter Fahy said civic leaders ought to promote diversity - including homosexuality and race - in a positive manner.

The police chief's comments came after the force announced it was investigating the Bishop for a possible breach of public order, however police confirmed he will not be prosecuted.

The Right Rev Dr Peter Forster said gay people should seek psychiatric help to cure them of their homosexuality.

Mr Fahy said the bishop's comments were for him "to justify himself".

The whole issue of diversity comes down to individual members of minority communities often being targeted, feeling under-protected and being victims of crime because of their sexual orientation
Peter Fahy
He added: "Cheshire Police, day in, day out, deals with offences against members of minority communities which are generated by hate and prejudice.

"I think all public leaders need to make sure that comments they make are balanced by that need for all of us to be giving clear leadership on this issue and to make sure that vulnerable groups are protected and that people have an awareness of the needs and the backgrounds of all these various groups.

"He has got his own personal view and I'm sure his comments are based on very strong personal religious conviction.

"But I do think we need to remind ourselves how this translates.

"The whole issue of diversity comes down to individual members of minority communities often being targeted, feeling under-protected and being victims of crime because of their sexual orientation, their colour or their religious beliefs.

Criticised appointment

"I think in a civilised society that is totally unacceptable."

Dr Forster's comments were made in an article in the Chester Chronicle newspaper.

He is one of nine bishops to write to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams criticising the appointment of the celibate gay canon Dr Jeffrey John as Bishop of Oxford.

Dr John later bowed to pressure and stood down before he was consecrated.

Dr Forster, whose diocese takes in Cheshire, Wirral, Stockport, south Tameside and south Trafford, has not yet commented on the row his remarks have prompted.




SEE ALSO:
Bishop: Gays should see a doctor
08 Nov 03  |  Merseyside
Church explores gay debate
04 Nov 03  |  UK
Unity plea over gay bishop
03 Nov 03  |  South West Wales


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