Saturday, 19 January 2013

Watch SPUC's Anthony Ozimic stand up to the same-sex marriage agenda

On Thursday Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, debated live on ITV's This Morning programme (pictured right) on the question of whether same-sex marriage should be taught in schools. The debate was in response to SPUC's letter to headteachers on the subject. You can watch the debate again on the ITV Player until Wednesday 23 January. As you will see, Anthony held his ground though outnumbered three-to-one. At one point in the debate, the viewers' poll was 80% for and 20% against teaching gay marriage in schools, but by the end the gap had narrowed to 60% - 40%. I'm very proud of Anthony's effective witness.

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Thursday, 17 January 2013

"Protect life from the moment of conception" says papal nuncio to Ireland

Here is an important press release from SPUC's colleagues Ireland United for Life:
"Ireland United for Life welcomes the statement from Archbishop Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland, who states that; “2013 is an incredibly important one for the sanctity of human life in Ireland and in other nations as well. People of conscience from all religions and from no religion need to work vigorously and courageously to protect and nurture human life from conception to natural death."

It is now clear that political parties and party leaders cannot be trusted to keep their pre election promises. Pro life people must unite to protect life from the moment of conception. Ireland United for Life is clear in that there must be no legislation for abortion - no deals, no more broken promises, no redefining of when life begins and no half truths.

The final day of the recent "Health hearings on abortion" was a talking shop and all about the way to introduce abortion, with all arguments against ignored and with a determination to set aside the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. We must ask - why do those seeking to introduce abortion want to repeal the 1861 Act?

The Government does not have the legal authority to introduce legislation for abortion in Ireland

Nora Bennis, from Mothers Alliance Ireland, states that Mervin Taylor, a former Labour Minister, in the Fine Gael led Rainbow Coalition outlined the legal position in 1997 in a report to the United Nations five years after the X case Judgement. The Irish Government made it quite clear that abortion was still illegal in Ireland. Ireland's Combined Second and Third Reports under the United Nations CEDAW, introduced by Mervin Taylor, Minister for Equality and Law Reform, in February 1997, states quite clearly on page 116 that: “Abortion is prohibited in Ireland by the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.”

European Life Network’s Patrick Buckley states that this very point was put to the people of Ireland in 2002 as part of the then referendum, that sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 should be repealed. The people in voting to reject the 2002 Referendum therefore clearly voted to retain sections 58 and 59 of the Act.

Anthony Murphy, editor of Catholic Voice, says that once an Act is decriminalised it will become accepted by society as normal and accepted practise, thus the occurrence of it will grow. The Irish people have always protected the most vulnerable and will never live in a society where killing is acceptable, especially of the weakest, most vulnerable and innocent members of society. "
Precious Life’s Bernadette Smyth says abortion is a criminal offence and prohibited in both the North and South of Ireland by the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
Life, as the Papal Nuncio has made absolutely clear, is from conception to natural death."
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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The appointment of Julia Neuberger to head Liverpool Care Pathway inquiry is worrying

The Government has just announced that Baroness Julia Neuberger, a rabbi and former Liberal Democrat health spokesperson, has been appointed to chair the government's inquiry into the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) (see my blog last week on the LCP). This appointment is worrying. In 2011 she said in the annual Tyburn Lecture (my emphasis in bold):
“Just so everyone knows, let’s be very clear, I am not in favour of euthanasia, I am not in favour of physician-assisted suicide. I don’t think it is a good idea for our health professionals to kill their patients any more than they do accidentally, I just don’t think it is a good idea.

I do have some sympathy – and many people I think will disagree with me – I do have some sympathy with the idea that that people who are already terminally ill and finding their situation unbearable, that they should be given the wherewithal to take their own lives. I am sure that many people – those who are true Catholics will strongly disapprove of that and there are Jews who strongly disapprove of that – but I do have some sympathy because there are some people for whom actually life becomes unbearable when they can’t control the pain. I think it is the exception. All the experience where that has been tried, for instance, in Washington State in the United States has shown that when people are given the wherewithal they barely ever use it, which suggests they want the reassurance rather than the actual capacity to deal with it.”
But there are few ethical differences between euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (which she claims to oppose) and suicide assisted by non-physicians (for which she expresses sympathy). In all those three categories, the intentional killing of an innocent member of the human family is brought about.

And in 2005 she voted against an anti-euthanasia amendment to the pro-euthanasia Mental Capacity Bill (now Act). The amendment would have removed the ability of attorneys to deny life-sustaining treatment to mentally-incapacitated patients.

One of the most worrying claims about the nature and operation of the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) relates to euthanasia by omission (sometimes called euthanasia by neglect) - the  denial of life-sustaining care (food and/or fluids) and/or reasonable medical treatment. Her vote against the amendment should disqualify her from the chairmanship of any inquiry into the LCP.

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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Shocking impact on schools if same-sex marriage allowed, warn experts

Below is the press release we at SPUC have just issued regarding a press conference we held in Westminster today. I hope to blog about the press conference in more detail tomorrow:

Shocking impact on schools if same-sex marriage allowed, warn experts

Westminster, London, 15 January 2013: There will be a shocking impact on schools if same-sex marriage is passed into law, experts warned at Westminster press conference today.

Experts on family policy, sex education and ethics agreed that schools will become a focus for the promotion of radical and explicit homosexual material to schoolchildren. In addition, same-sex marriage will be used as a reason to silence objections by teachers and parents to explicit sex education.

The press conference was organised by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) , a leading pro-life and pro-family organisation, to launch its campaign warning headteachers about the consequences to schools of same-sex marriage (see further below for the full text of SPUC's letter to headteachers of all state-maintained secondary schools).

SPUC opposes the redefinition of marriage in law to include same-sex couples, because it would undermine the true nature of marriage and thus the pro-life benefits of marriage. Marriage offers the most protective environment for both unborn and born children. SPUC also campaigns against explicit sex education because such teaching fails to reduce abortions.

At today's press conference, Dr Lisa Nolland, a social historian and expert on child protection (biography below), revealed the shockingly explicit material being spread in schools by homosexual activists. She warned that such material will become entrenched and much more widely promoted in schools if same-sex marriage is allowed. Parents have been kept in the dark about the dangerous so-called sexual health information being given to their children. Dr Nolland added that in places where same-sex marriage has been enshrined, it is becoming socially unacceptable to object to the negative influence of homosexual material on young people.

Dr Patricia Morgan, an expert on family policy (biography below), warned that allowing same-sex marriage would result in an increase in the sexualisation of children through current models of sex education. She said that such sexualisation had many negative health outcomes, and added that her research suggested that promoting sexual abstinence was the key component of effective sex education.

Robert Harris (biography below), the author of the new book “Is there a case for same-sex marriage: questions of eligibility and consequences”, pointed out that the issue of same-sex marriage was often divorced from its wider context, which is cultural. Part of the cultural impact of same-sex marriage will be the mainstreaming of homosexuality via the information given to children in schools.

Antonia Tully, coordinator of SPUC's Safe at School campaign (biography below), highlighted SPUC's letter to headteachers, which explains how legal duties under equalities legislation mean that belief in same-sex marriage will be imposed on schools. There will be compulsory teaching of same-sex marriage, dismissal for teachers with a conscientious objection to teaching about same-sex marriage, and no opt-out for faith schools.

Anthony McCarthy, SPUC's education manager (biography below), predicted that there will be an increase in opposition to same-sex marriage as more teachers and parents begin to realise how the enshrining of same-sex marriage will affect what will be taught in schools regarding sexual ethics.

John Smeaton, SPUC's chief executive who chaired the press conference, said that the chief goal of SPUC's activity regarding same-sex marriage was encouraging and facilitating grassroots lobbying of members of Parliament.

For further information, please contact SPUC's communications department on:
  • email
  • mobile 07939 177683
  • direct dial landline 020 7820 3129
  • Twitter @spucprolife
Biographies of speakers, SPUC press conference, 15 January 2013:
• Dr Lisa Nolland: the convenor of the Working Party on the Sexualisation of Children, Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group, Jim Dobbin MP, chair. She edited and co-authored 'God, Gays and the Church' (Latimer 2008) and researches and writes on issues of children, adolescents, sexuality and culture. She also convenes the Marriage, Sex and Culture Group of Anglican Mainstream, whose website she serves as consultant for. Lisa has worked with children and their families in a variety of educational and religious contexts over the twenty five years she has lived in this country.
• Patricia Morgan: Author of numerous books relating to family change and policy, national and international; family structure and outcomes, plus related topics like adoption and child care. Forthcoming work includes a paper and a book on Gordon Brown’s teenage pregnancy strategy. She is also completing a book on capitalism and the family, partly funded by the Atlas Foundation, USA. She has a Visiting Fellowship with the School of Humanities, Buckingham University. She takes a special interest in the impact of same-sex marriage on society.
• Robert Harris: member of the Marriage, Sex and Culture Group of Anglican Mainstream. He is the author of “Is there a case for same-sex marriage?”  The first study of its kind in the UK.
• Antonia Tully: Co-ordinator of the SPUC Safe at School campaign which supports and advises parents who want to protect their children from graphic and pornographic sex education, as well as campaigning for a ban on sex education which sexualises children and usurps parents. She contributes regularly to TV and radio debates on these issues, most recently on Newsnight, opposing compulsory relationships education. She has four children at school.
• Anthony McCarthy: SPUC’s education and publications manager, and author of SPUC’s position paper on same-sex marriage
• John Smeaton (chairing the press conference): SPUC director and blogger

Full text of letter to headteachers from SPUC:

14 January 2013

Dear Headteacher,

Same-sex marriage: The impact on schools

On December 11 2012 the government announced the introduction of such a bill. The impact on schools has been under-reported. We wish to draw your attention to the serious issues your school will face if this bill reaches the statute book:

• Compulsory teaching of same-sex marriage
• Dismissal for teachers with a conscientious objection to teaching about same-sex marriage
• No opt-out for faith schools
• Further promotion of homosexual activity in schools
• Parents undermined.

Marriage between one man and one woman is the basis of the family, the fundamental group unit of society. Research shows overwhelmingly that children brought up by their married, opposite-sex parents do better in terms of health, happiness and education. Marriage also offers the most protective environment for unborn children.

SPUC campaigns against explicit sex education because it sexualises children and teenagers and has failed to reduce teenage pregnancies and abortions.

In connection with our concerns in this area, we are currently writing to every state-maintained secondary school in England and Wales to highlight the position of schools regarding proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, which we believe will further sexualise children and teenagers and further encourage the spread of sexually explicit material in schools.

We urge all schools to oppose proposals to legalise same-sex marriage. It is important to recognise that the equal marriage proposals will have a real, significant and disturbing impact on your school, and therefore it is essential that schools express their concerns about these proposals.

Teachers will have to teach about same-sex marriage

There is no question that schools will be required to teach pupils about same-sex marriage. Schools are already clearly mandated to teach pupils about marriage. The Education Act 1996, Section 403, states that where sex education is delivered in state-maintained schools pupils must be taught about

“the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and the bringing up of children.”
If the nature of marriage is redefined to include people of the same sex, pupils will have to be taught about this.

Leading QC Aidan O'Neill included this point in a legal opinion on the consequences of same-sex marriage legislation:

“… if marriage is extended to include same sex couples then the Secretary of State’s Section 403(1A)(a) Guidance will require to ensure that children learn of the nature of marriage as being a commitment of two people, regardless of gender or sex, and of the importance of this, now gender-neutral institution, for family life and the bringing up of children.  This duty of ensuring that pupils learn of the nature of marriage as redefined and its relationship to family life and the bringing up of children could not be avoided by any suggestion that such teaching might be said to be, in terms of 403(1A)(b),  'inappropriate having regard to the age and the religious and cultural background of the pupils concerned'.”
This means that even if same-sex marriage is contrary to the religious and cultural background of the pupils, they will still have to be taught about it.

Faith schools will not be exempt from teaching same-sex marriage. On 11 December 2012 when Maria Miller, Culture Secretary, introduced the government's measure on same-sex marriage in the House of Commons, she said:

“Teachers will continue to be able to describe their own belief that marriage is between a man and a woman while, importantly, acknowledging that there can also be same-sex marriages.” (Hansard, 11 December, col 167)
Whatever the ethos of the school, pupils will have to be taught about both opposite-sex and same-sex marriage.

Teachers will be unable to exercise conscientious objection

It is also the case that teachers will be unable to exercise conscientious objection to teaching same-sex marriage.

 Aidan O'Neill QC stated in his legal opinion that if a teacher

“refused to obey the otherwise lawful instructions of her employers then this would constitute grounds for her dismissal from employment.”
Helen Grant, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Culture Media and Sport, tries to suggest that teachers with a conscientious objection will be accommodated. In a letter dated 19 October 2012, she states:
 “We would expect that any teacher with concerns about their personal views being in conflict with what they are required to teach would discuss this with their head teacher and reach a mutual understanding on a way forward. There is nothing in the School Teacher's Pay and Conditions Document that sets down what a teacher should or shouldn't teach and it will always be a matter for the head to determine what teachers under his control should be teaching and he/she will have a range of disciplinary measures at their disposal if they are needed including ultimately dismissal.”
It is very hard to see how a way forward can be found for a teacher who holds that marriage is a natural institution uniting a man and a woman, and therefore that a same-sex couple’s legally recognised “marriage” is invalid or immoral.

It is clear from Helen Grant’s statement that teachers will be required to teach something about same-sex marriage. It is likely, in our view, that they will be required to say that homosexual unions are equal in some way to man-and-woman marriages. (The government’s principal reason to justify the redefinition of legal marriage is to try to make homosexual couples ‘equal’ to married couples.)

A headteacher would not be able to accommodate a teacher with a conscientious objection because the headteacher would have a legal obligation to ensure that same-sex marriage is taught to pupils. Mrs Grant makes this clear in her letter when she states:

“Head teachers and governing bodies will always be expected to be fully aware of their responsibilities under employment law and equalities law when reaching any decision on matters of this nature.”
In other words, when the law redefines marriage to include same-sex marriage and schools remain legally obliged to teach pupils about marriage, a headteacher will  be required to silence or sack teachers who oppose 'equal' marriage.

Compliance with equality duties

Teaching pupils about same-sex marriage and gay relationships will be underpinned by the statutory obligation all state-maintained schools are under to publish information showing that they are complying with equality duties arising from the Equality Act 2010.

The equality duties relating to “sexual orientation and gender reassignment” as set out in the guidance for schools issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in November 2012, are presented in active terms:

“Under the equality duty all schools must have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality and foster good relations between lesbian, gay and transsexual pupils and those who do not share those protected characteristics. Schools are required to publish information to demonstrate compliance with this aspect of the equality duty.” (Our emphasis).
While it is wrong that any school pupil should be subjected to bullying or discrimination, schools are clearly required to be pro-active in accommodating lesbian, gay and transsexual pupils and will be breaching the law if they don’t say how they are doing this.

These equality duties are effectively requiring schools to promote gay lifestyles and practices.

Effect of legislation in Canada

In Canada, where same-sex marriage was legalised in 2005, the Accepting Schools Act, an anti-bullying law, was passed in June 2012. This law requires all schools to run 'gay-straight alliance' clubs if the students request one.

Such clubs will be used to promote homosexuality in schools. Faith schools in Canada are not exempt.

Although the legal age of consent, in the UK, is 16, you will be aware that prosecutions are rarely brought for under-age sex when the victims are 13-15 year olds. On “equality” grounds, the homosexual abuse of children will be treated in a similar way.

Current moves to teach homosexual practices in schools

There are already moves to bring teaching on homosexuality into schools. For example, the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), a homosexual charity, has been generously funded by the state to work with pupils age 14 and older in schools in England. In 2011 THT was granted £203,508 to run a peer-led sex education programme in schools and youth clubs. 100 disadvantaged children have been trained to give sex education training to 2,000 further teenagers to deliver sex education in schools.

While much of what can be viewed on the THT website is concerned with support and help for HIV and Aids sufferers, THT also publishes booklets such as “The Bottom Line” and “Below the Belt”.  These full colour booklets use pictures of action man dolls to describe a range of gay sexual activity. For example, on page 22 of “Below the Belt” we read, “No one teaches you at school, so just how is it meant to be done? Here are your tips for successful sucking;”. This high-profile charity will have a major opening when schools come under pressure to deliver information about same -sex relationships.

Gay sexual practices are detailed on sexual “health” websites aimed at teenagers. The NHS Warwickshire website “Respect Yourself” contains a “Sextionary” which gives an A to Z of sexual activities from analingus to donkey punch to spit roast to zelphilia. The NHS endorses this website, announcing that it provides

“more than just the standard guidance on sexual health.”
It is doubtful that such information can be truly classed as health advice. Rimming and fisting, for example, are extremely dangerous. Anal sex is 20 times more risky that vaginal sex, because of the fragile construction of the rectal wall and the very real possibility of tearing the membrane and subsequent leakage back into the blood stream of rectal content which contains high levels of pathogenic organisms. Directing pupils to websites promoting these activities will be seen as evidence that a school is complying with equality duties.

When it becomes mandatory for schools to give equal teaching on same-sex marriage as heterosexual marriage, schools will come under further pressure to teach pupils about gay sex.

Parents and school governors

Schools will also bear the brunt of parents objecting to the teaching of same-sex marriage and other aspects of homosexual life within the national curriculum, for example LGBT history week, from which they are unable to withdraw their children.

Aidan O'Neill QC has confirmed that parents will have “little prospects of success” in challenging schools. Two couples in Massachusetts, David and Tonia Parker and Robert and Robin Wirthlin, made a legal challenge to require schools to notify parents about homosexual teaching and to give parents the right to withdraw their children from such classes. In 2007 their case was dismissed by Chief Judge Mark L. Woolf of the US District Court, who ruled that parents who disagree with what is taught in publicly funded schools have the choice of home schooling or private education.

Once the law is changed, many school governors will be compromised over same-sex marriage. Such governors will be unable to object to teaching on same-sex marriage and the use of materials from organisations such as the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Yours sincerely,

John Smeaton

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