Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Links on SORs

Two intersting posts: Fr Tim Finnigan on the interpretation of SORs by a Commons Select Committee; and Archbishop Vincent Nichols' call for lobbying of MPs.

The Select Committee is only making suggestions, but it is good to be aware of them. The key point is the extraordinary claim that Church schools - state or private - should not teach about religion 'as if it were true.' If implemented this would end Catholic education in its entirety.

More from CFNews: A committee of MPs and peers has urged the Government to extend homosexual rights legislation so that Catholic schools cannot teach that homosexuals acts are sinful. The parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights said in its report that homosexual pupils should not be 'subjected to teaching that their own sexuality is sinful or wrong'. But critics say the proposal would stop Catholic schools from teaching Catholic moral doctrine as revealed truth. The legislation will be debated in a committee meeting that will last only one and a half hours, and will not be debated in Parliament, according to Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe.

Miss Widdecombe said it was a 'scandal' that the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs), which aim to outlaw discrimination against gay people in the provision of goods, facilities and services, would not be debated in the House of Commons. She explained that the decision to bypass Parliament was taken 'when there wasn't any idea that the legislation would be as controversial as it has been'. She said: 'We thought they would have the decency to move it down to the House. It is government by diktat.' The regulations, which had not been published as The Catholic Herald went to press, will still need a ratifying vote in Parliament before they come into force in England and Wales in April. In its report the human rights joint committee praised the new rules and concluded that no exemptions should be granted to Catholic adoption agencies because they would conflict with the rights of homosexual people.

The report said that the rules should be extended to schools and the curriculum so that homosexual pupils are not taught that their behaviour is sinful. Schools would be allowed to explain that 'certain religions view homosexuality as sinful', but would not be allowed to teach Catholic moral doctrine as truth. 'In our view,' the report said, 'there is an important difference between this factual information being imparted in a descriptive way as part of a wide-ranging syllabus about different religions, and a curriculum which teaches a particular religion's doctrinal beliefs as if they were objectively true. The latter is likely to lead to unjustifiable discrimination against homosexual pupils,' the report added. Labour MP Andrew Dismore, chairman of the committee, said: 'Nobody should be required to perform same-sex marriages, or to admit homosexual people to their organisations, if it would be against their religious beliefs. But any wider exemption, to allow religious bodies to discriminate on the grounds of sexualitywhen providing goods, facilities and services, or performing public services, cannot be justified.' [Catholic Herald]

No comments:

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen