License to Proselytize

John A. Quayle blueoval at SGI.NET
Thu Jan 20 20:47:43 MST 2000


The Free Congress Commentary: License to Proselytize
by: John Nowacki

        With Bill Clinton's push for hate crimes legislation and Al Gore's
admitted pro-homosexual litmus test for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (which he
now insists is not a litmus test, after all), homosexuality in the military
promises to be once more on the front burner of American politics. But it
isn't just here in the United States that the debate about mainstreaming
homosexuality is being conducted. The United Kingdom ended its ban on
homosexuals in the military last week, after the European Court of Human
Rights overruled the British government, calling the ban a "grave
interference in private lives." With that out of the way, the
pro-homosexual interests in Britain are focused on their next move, the
repeal of Section 28.

        Section 28 of the Local Government Act was enacted when Margaret Thatcher
was still Prime Minister. The law prohibits local authorities from
intentionally promoting homosexuality or publishing material with the
intention of promoting homosexuality. The teaching of the acceptability of
homosexuality as a pretended family relationship is also prohibited in any
maintained school. Calls for the law's repeal have gone on for some time,
and in 1997, the British Medical Association recommended that lessons on
homosexuality should be included in sex education curricula for students
under the age of 16.  Incidentally, the Association also maintains that
teachers should be allowed to tell children-even those whose parents have
withdrawn them from sex education classes-where to get condoms or
"morning-after" pills, because "this does not count as sex education."

        While the Labour Party is bent on repealing the law in both the
Westminster and Edinburgh parliaments, it is not without opposition. Some
recent polls show between 82 and 90 percent of Scots opposed to repeal,
with up to 97 percent of parents of the same mind. On Wednesday, the Catholic
Cardinal Archbishop of Glasgow, Thomas Winning, called for the "silent
majority" to rise up and support Section 28. In a piece published in the
Daily Telegraph, Winning warned of the materials waiting in the wings under
the label "health promotion" that would begin to appear in classrooms if
Section 28 were repealed: role-playing a "coming-out" situation, being
caught performing "lewd behavior" in a public place (à la George Michael),
or being a transvestite cabaret performer. He added that the publishers of
Jenny Lives With Eric and Martin-which helped bring about Section 28 in the
first place-have declared that they will reprint the book and make it
available to schools if the law is repealed.

        The leader of the Church of Scotland, the Rt. Rev. John Cairns, responded
by calling for "rational debate" and an end to "extreme views" leading to
an "unbalanced discussion." To Cairns, Section 28 is a "completely useless"
law that creates fear and stigma about homosexuals. "I am not
frightened.....that our children, at an appropriate stage in their
development, be taught what the reality of the world is today," he
declared. "Is it seriously being promoted by people that there should be no
mention of homosexuality?"

        The answer is no, a point which Cardinal Winning made in his written
comments. Section 28 does not prevent the mention of homosexuality. Neither
does it prevent the discussion of homosexuality. What it does prevent is
the promotion of homosexuality as an acceptable, alternate
lifestyle. Homosexuals should enjoy the same rights as every other person
(without special rights tacked on because of whom they choose to sleep
with). But homosexuality is morally wrong, and it is not-and should not be
presented as-a moral equivalent to marriage.

        The mainstreaming movement-which preaches moral equivalency, either subtly
or overtly-has made tremendous gains.  For them, a repeal of Section 28
would be a great victory, not because it would allow for children to be
taught the facts of life (as Prime Minister Tony Blair put it), but because
it would grant license to proselytize. Children should not be targets for
pro-homosexual propaganda, and it is certainly not the proper role of
schools and schoolteachers to redefine morality. Unfortunately-and in spite
of the polls-with the huge majorities that the Labour Party enjoys in both
the English and Scottish parliaments, the prospects for preserving the
protections of Section 28 do not look good. It would be in the best
interests of Britain to retain Section 28. One can only pray that Cardinal
Winning's "silent majority" hears his call and takes action quickly.

 John Nowacki is deputy director of the Free Congress Foundation's Center
for Law and Democracy.
For media inquiries, contact Robert McFarland   202.546.3000 /
rmcfarland at freecongress.org
For other questions or comments, contact Angie Wheeler
awheeler at freecongress.org


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