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Wednesday, 19 January, 2000, 20:15 GMT
Section 28: Church leaders

Churches in Scotland are heavily involved in the debate over the repeal - or otherwise - of Section 28.

A disparate group of Christians - including the Free Church of Scotland's moderator Rev Kenneth MacLeod and the leader of Scotland's Catholics Cardinal Thomas Winning - have united to oppose moves to alter the status quo.

They outline their concerns in this open letter.

We write as representative Christian leaders in Scotland to express our deep concerns over the declared intention of the Scottish Executive to repeal Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988.

We deplore bullying wherever directed and would never encourage prejudice or unjust discrimination against people of homosexual orientation.

We are extremely doubtful that the removal of the clause will directly affect either of these issues.

Salvation Army logo Section 28 supporter: Salavation Army
It was introduced to stop certain London councils funding and promoting educational material overtly promoting homosexual practice.

It was a necessary preventative measure.

Properly understood, it in no way inhibits the giving of appropriate information about homosexuality to young people nor the active protection of all children who might be bullied.

It does not limit effective responsible teaching and since its introduction has dealt efficiently with the deep concerns expressed by parents.

Effective restraint

Its repeal would remove an effective restraint.

The most recent scientific study of sexual behaviour in Britain identified that 0.7% of our population was exclusively homosexual in behaviour.

We are convinced that there is no moral equivalence between heterosexual commitment in marriage and other expressions of sexual behaviour
Scottish church leaders
This represents a tiny minority of our society and as such rights need protecting.

A government properly committed to social inclusion will provide that.

However, opening the door to the possible funding and promotion of homosexual propaganda in our schools and youth work is likely to be counterproductive.

Remaining protection

Wendy Alexander (Local Government Minister) has given assurances that the repealing of this clause will not lead to the promotion of homosexual practice.

Why then is the executive deleting the section?

What protection remains in law for children and their parents' rights? To what can they appeal?

David Anderson Section 28 supporter: David Anderson, Evangelical Alliance
We live in a society where three out of four children can live in a home headed by a married couple.

We have a Labour Government committed to promoting family values.

A recent Gallup Poll found that more than 70% support for strongly promoting the value of marriage in schools.

How is this "listening" Scottish government going to respond to that?

We are convinced that there is no moral equivalence between heterosexual commitment in marriage and other expressions of sexual behaviour.

We seek the protection of our children, reflected widely in the community and amend their agenda.

Signed by: Cardinal Thomas Winning, Roman Catholic Church

Bishop Mario Conti, Roman Catholic Church

Ann Allen, convener of the Board of Social responsibility of the Church of Scotland

Rev William Slack, general secretary of the Baptist Union

Major Norman Armistead, Scottish secretary of the Salvation Army

Rev Angus Morrison, Associated Presbyterian Church of Scotland

Canon Rev Mike Parker, St Thomas' Episcopal Church Edinburgh

Rev Kenneth MacLeod, moderator, Free Church of Scotland

Gordon Murray, general manager, CARE Scotland

David Anderson, general secretary, Evangelical Alliance.

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Section 28: your questions answered.

See also:
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28: Education Minister Sam Galbraith
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28: A parent's view
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28: A gay man's view

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