John Deighan, parliamentary advisor to the Scottish Catholic Bishops, builds upon his November ‘07 survey of the radical development of anti-family legislation and attitudes in recent years. He describes the culture changing activities of Stonewall, the homosexual rights pressure group. He brings out a social and economic aspect of the accelerating secularization of Britain, and our own Church’s lack of ability similarly to harness cultural forces, for instance to promote the socially essential concept of religious freedom as developed within our tradition.
British culture is steadily increasing its support for values inimical to the Christian vision of life. We urgently need to examine why this should be so. One significant factor, this writer would suggest, is clever political activism based upon a post-Christian ideology.
This article briefly considers the effective activities of one group in altering society’s values and considers how we could respond in kind.
Stonewall is a campaigning organisation which promotes homosexual lifestyles and lobbies for policies conducive to such promotion. On their website they describe how they work for "Cultural and attitudinal change" by "Challenging the underlying cultural and attitudinal values that allow discrimination to flourish. Changing cultures and attitudes to positively value diversity."
One should note here that those who experience same-sex attraction do need support and that such support as offered by groups like Encourage has been sadly scarce. Opposition to actively homosexual relationships should not suggest opposition to the dignity of those who experience same-sex attraction. The problem for a culture compatible with Christianity is that the underpinning principle of Stonewall’s philosophy is that homosexual relationships are intrinsically good and equal to heterosexual relationships.
From a fringe organisation of social radicals Stonewall has become part of the mainstream of modern culture and is now cleverly helping steer society to a new set of cultural mores.
Incredibly on its website Stonewall states that it "receives no public funding and raises all its money itself in a range of ways including donations, sponsorship, and fundraising events." The reality is that they have devised initiatives which see large amounts of public money poured into Stonewall every year.
Take the Diversity Champions programme for example, through which scheme organisations sign up to Stonewall for an annual charge of £2000 for private organisations and £1500 for public or charitable organisations. The organization points out, for instance that "Inclusive work environments encourage loyalty, teamwork and maximise personal contributions, which are key in top performing organisations", and that "74% of gay and 42% of straight consumers are less likely to buy products from organisations that hold negative views of lesbian and gay people." The scheme is backed by a very slick video on their website.
At the time of writing the website celebrates that the Army has become the 400th Diversity Champion. That’s a guaranteed income from these groups of at least £600,000 a year!
Any charity would find good use for E600K and obviously that amount helps Stonewall advance its aims. The ingenious part however is that organisations will pay many times this amount to promote the Stonewall agenda. The organisations signed up as Diversity Champions are guided on how to be ‘gay-friendly’. Such advice will include recommending that the organisation employ a diversity officer. This becomes a formidable asset for Stonewall, once a company has such a person (or team) they have someone on the inside looking for work to do and Stonewall is only too happy to provide a plethora of ideas and initiatives which the diversity officer can implement in the organisation. The cost of the personnel and the programmes are thus not met by Stonewall but by the organisation itself. Effectively a parasitic cell is established within the organisation which can then work on ensuring that staff are sensitised to ‘gay’ needs and encouraged to be supportive of the idea that homosexual relationships are good.
Another aim and expectation of Diversity Champions is to raise the issue of sexual orientation in the context of recruitment. Having senior staff who are openly homosexual helps attain a higher rating. It is a package which ultimately is geared at normalising the special and preferential treatment of homosexuals. In turn as senior positions are disproportionately held by homosexuals the ethos is reinforced.
Each year Stonewall produces a Workplace Equality Index to score organisations on how favourably they perform in relation to the criteria they have created. They tell us that this "index is a powerful tool used by Britain’s 1.7 million gay employees and 150,000 gay university students to decide where to take their talent and skills." A look at the list is informative: among those scoring favourably are various police forces, local council authorities, the Royal Navy, the Prison service, numerous banks, the London Authority, the Home Office, and other government bodies. For 2009 Lloyds TSB, Hampshire Constabulary and Brighton & Hove City Council have won the coveted top three spots.
To score well you need to do things like sponsor a ‘LGB Community Event’ (that is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual); give special support to homosexual staff; recruit staff through ‘gay media’ (many of the companies are presently advertising well paid posts on the Stonewall website). The most recent report on the Equality Index noted that 61 % of participating organisations had an "openly lesbian, gay or bisexual person on their board". All of the organisations give diversity training, which is supportive of homosexual relationships. 99% of the organisations involved have a "diversity team".
Organisations will reinforce their approval by giving benefits to same-sex partners wherever benefits to spouses are given e.g. health insurance. They will be expected also to organise special meetings or networks for "LGBT staff". Diversity training will be compulsory to make sure that all employees learn of the values promoted by Stonewall.
Organisations involved, it seems, clamber to satisfy Stonewall’s demands to get a place on the top 100 and then Stonewall is waiting with further advice to help these organisations make their way further up the celebrated list.
A glance through their website also reveals how busy the organisation is, providing such services as: a Seminar programme; a Stonewall Workplace Conference; a Recruitment Guide; Stonewall Leadership programme; Workplace Guides; Awareness raising; Training Package and so on.
Stonewall is just one organisation among many that are shaping society’s values. They all know the importance of getting their message through to the next generation and unsurprisingly groups like Stonewall, Caledonia Youth, Equality Network put great efforts into working with young people to ensure that the message is a life-long one.
The success of the Diversity programme described above has led to the creation of an Education Champions scheme to use ‘homophobic bullying’ as the reason for giving support to local authorities to promote Stonewall ideology about equality in schools. Bullying of any description is wrong but in this context it is to be used to establish the view that homosexuality is good and to give pro-homosexual groups access to schools.
You may have noticed increasing calls in the media that young children even in nursery should be given sex education. This is typical of the sexualisation of children and social relationships that is taking place. Homosexual groups appear fixated on sexuality, and sex is the prism increasingly used for viewing even relations between children. You will find that most when pushed will accept that this ’sex education’ should be about relationships and preparing children to be accepting of differences and to be tolerant. Now these may indeed be virtuous traits to nurture but to have them viewed through the prism of sex is wholly inappropriate for children in the years of tranquillity before adolescence. The January 2009 edition of the teenage magazine Bliss, popular with many young girls I know, is typical of the publications aimed at Children, when it recommends the Lesbian and Gay Network as the key source of "Sexuality advice".
The vision of Stonewall is couched within a framework of tolerance and openness. How can one object? It is of course that classic clash inherent to modern radical individualism -in this case between so called ‘gay rights’ and religious rights. The Stonewall view is intrinsically hostile to the Christian view that sexual relationships belong only in marriage. The argument that people are free to marry and that diversity in the choice of sexual partnerships is a positive good evades the core of the problem i.e. that of the incompatibility of the two opposed visions of human sexuality.
The claim made, for example in the case of the police officer disciplined for promoting Christian teaching in responseto the dissemination of homosexual material in his workplace, is that it is intolerant to oppose homosexual practice. The advocates of this mantra cannot be so naive as not to know that the enforcement of the view that same-sex intercourse is good inherently implies that the view that sex belongs only in marriage is no longer tolerable. If institutions choose to promote one vision or the other they are in effect choosing to promote a belief system. This is the point that is lost on many – there is not a neutral position on the matter. To promote one is to oppose the other.
I’ve heard from employees of organisations signed up to the new equality agenda who’ve had to endure regular snide anti-Catholic remarks but feel intimidated from speaking out. Increasingly it appears that being anti-Catholic is a badge of enlightenment. It would be nice if all people really did benefit from promotion of ‘tolerance’, alas the tolerance is only extended to those who conform to the views currently in vogue.
It isn’t hard to see what is in mind when Stonewall’s Education Champions propose teaching children to be tolerant and respect differences. A Barney video can promote care and compassion as I’m sure most parents do also. These are values which decent human beings intrinsically support but without instumentalising them to smuggle in ideas about particular sexual practices that are to be condoned. When challenged on these the homosexuals declare horror that we should suggest any impropriety and most Christians are careful to be charitable, but we cannot allow this to give way to naivete as our children’s faith and views on sexuality are systematically eroded and distorted.
Remaking The Culture
Stonewall’s platform is not a matter of simply ensuring that people with same-sex attraction are given support or protected from discrimination; that would be supported by any fair-minded person. This is an agenda for redefining society’s understanding of human sexual relationships and avowing that homosexual relationships are as healthy and acceptable as sex within marriage.
The 400 organisations signed up to Stonewall include major cultural and political shaping organisations, and they are following a carefully crafted blueprint for advancing the status of homosexual relationships in society.
With the success of the demand that organisations employ and promote openly homosexual staff is it any surprise that we see police officers and fire fighters being disciplined for daring to withhold their approval of homosexuality?
In my November 07 article for Faith I explained how this vision is being implemented by legal force in Britain. The effect of the conditioning and widespread dissemination of homosexual propaganda is ensuring that more and more people in society will be supportive of the need for that legal force.
Stonewall is very effectively contributing to a cultural environment which is simply being absorbed unwittingly and few dare speak of the mental, physical and social damage of homosexual lifestyles, let alone the spiritual damage.
Meanwhile society’s understanding of human relationships and the nature of sexual identity has been turned upside down in a relatively short period of years
Is it any surprise that many are cowed from voicing their view that sex belongs in marriage? I have been told personally by government officials that it is homophobic to believe that sexual relationships belong only in marriage.
Of course none of this could have happened without the post-Enlightenment undermining of the ascendency of Christianity, aspects of which this magazine regularly discusses. But an immediate political and social question for the Church is: need we stand back whilst this cultural change is being forced upon us?
We need to be willing to fight the war of ideas and respond to the tactics of those who would have Christian values marginalised from public life. We know that presenting all with Christ’s message is the most compassionate response we can give to their concerns and initiatives.
We should be confident that the Christian message is a force for good. It is wrong-headed to think that offering the Church’s teaching to those who are living lives incompatible with it is insensitive. Undoubtedly many involved in supporting homosexuality do so firmly convinced of the Tightness of their cause. Such people are deserving of the truth: the Christian message is a gift not a burden.
The British Catholic community needs to and can take action to reinforce our vision of human life and support those who are willing to support that vision also. We can learn much from the efforts of Stonewall and their fellow travellers. They have ruthlessly pursued a programme requiring a massive investment in the promotion of their message and for a paltry return organisations have clambered over themselves to invest in the Stonewall ideology. The companies may get a mention in Stonewall’s pack for students and the promise that being tolerant will enhance their workforce. Is there an equal effort to ensure that organisations value and tolerate Christian employees? Do organisations routinely sponsor Catholic community events or recruit their staff through Catholic newspapers? The Catholic community is massive and can also offer real benefits to organisations which respect our values.
Take local newsagents for example, they routinely stock and openly display graphic pornographic magazines. Do we encourage and support newsagents who would refuse to stock such material? It certainly seems possible that we could establish a list of ‘family friendly’ retailers and make this well known in our parishes. Who knows they may even want to pay £2000 a year for the privilege (just kidding!) Surely businesses depend more on Catholics buying their goods than on supporters of same-sex marriage.
As well as responding to those who are actively working against Catholic values we need to try to inoculate our children against their detrimental influences. We could do this by restoring some confidence in the Church and its teaching. One example would be the need to make Catholic children familiar with an authentic understanding of the Church’s history; rather than the black legends of the Spanish Inquisition and the Galileo affair. A historical perspective is an important consideration; indeed homosexual campaigners are seeking and getting government support in promoting a ‘Gay History Month’. The official website for this month argues that it is virtually a legal priority for schools to prioritise the month, and so, among numerous other things, consider teaching about Alan Turing in maths classes emphasising that he was "gay". Numerous wild claims about historical figures having been homosexual are made. We need to raise awareness of the massive contribution that the Church has made in civilising the whole world, especially Europe, for instance in establishing the principles that made the eradication of slavery possible and speaking against the western trade from its very beginning.
Another example is the need to promote the concept of religious freedom. It is a recognised human right but our society has little appreciation of it. Whilst homosexuals have been successful in getting politicians to foster antidiscrimination on the grounds of ’sexual orientation’ as a basis to silence anyone who disagrees with homosexuality; no such ‘anti-phobia’ stance would ever be entertained in terms of opposing religious discrimination. That apparently would be a wrong understanding of equality. Now it would be preposterous to expect that laws should prevent people from stating their belief that the Eucharist is not really the body of Christ, and that Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is idolatory. Holding such non-catholic beliefs would rightly not be seen as anti-Catholic discrimination. Yet the law is moving towards proscribing public statements of the belief that homosexual activity is wrong. Furthermore Bishop Joseph Devine, for example, has been on the Stonewall website writing nominated for bigot of the year for stating Catholic teaching on sexuality. This attack should be publicly renounced in the name of religious freedom. The threat to religious freedom by the intolerance of homosexual groups is lost on most of our politicians. Freedom of religion should therefore be promoted through civil institutions especially in terms of freedom of conscience such that civil society could regain an appreciation of the importance and dignity of conscience and the right for individuals rationally to discuss their disagreements.
Catholic organisations could adopt and promote a charter of Religious Freedom or even a charter for freedom of conscience which highlights the need to defend conscience. This could be augmented with various initiatives such as seminars, talks, and articles in the press to detail the importance of the principle of Religious Freedom and how it links with freedom of conscience. Might not representatives of our Church challenge, for instance, Peter Tatchell, or better Stonewall, to a public debate?
There are many human rights groups who could be supportive but who need to gain a proper understanding of conscience and natural law. Organisations could be approached to sign up to support a freedom of conscience charter. Gathering support could take many years of effort. Many years promoting the idea to the Scottish Executive has in the past achieved their acknowledgement that it is a worthy idea. Such an initiative could extend to having businesses and other organisations in society to sign up to the Charter for Freedom of Conscience. A set of criteria about the organisation and how it made staff aware of the importance of respecting conscience could be established for them to meet.
To make this plan achievable there would have to be a benefit to the organisations willing to support the scheme. This would be the inclusion of that company’s details in a directory of ethical companies given to every Catholic parish in the country and could be easily disseminated.
There exists the possibility of using the Catholic school network in a way similar to how the Young Scot Card works. Companies which support Young Scot are included in a directory given to each school child in secondary school in Scotland. We need to realise that such initiatives have taken years to grow until they are a major influence in schools and wider society.
We need to take the opportunity of building on the good principles that some organisations promote. For example UNICEF has in the past reported on the state of society for children in terms of the adverse effects of family breakdown. The Catholic Church has the answers to many of these problems. Do many people know that divorce is almost unheard of with couples that practice natural family planning? We need to highlight that supporting the commitment of marriage is an investment in our children’s well-being not an imposition of a judgmental Church interfering with human freedom. The message has to be reinforced at every level such that people associate looking out for the wellbeing of children with following a pattern of responsible behaviour which tends towards that result.
Scotland gives much attention to sectarianism especially in relation to Celtic and Rangers football matches. The promotion of a tolerance of religious views in the public sphere should be an obvious antidote to sectarian intolerance. Diversity training should include courses on religious freedom, freedom of conscience and the Christian history of Europe among other things. We should seek the support of European Institutions for highlighting the Christian roots of Europe and the vision of the Catholic founders of the EU.
We should be willing to shun organisations that are acting in a manner hostile to our values. The Bank of Scotland was cowed by homosexual campaigners not to deal with Pat Robertson. Surely we can withhold our custom from organisations which promote abortion, pornography, promiscuity etc. And we should back this up by informing the Catholic Community of who should and shouldn’t be supported.
We are up against people and organisations that use a myriad of means and large amounts of money to foster deeply flawed visions of human love and corrupt the values of society. Perhaps in a future article I can address how this activity is going on at international level beyond even the control of state authorities.
We need to be willing to put in a similar level of effort to prepareing the ground of society for the gospel. The re-affirmation of the ordered reality of human nature is the start of this process.
See for example Education Guardian 24 July 2006 ‘Nurses Urged to Teach about Same-Sex relationships\ http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2006/jul/24/schools.uk
Also Mail Online, " Children ‘to be given compulsory sex education from age four"http://www.dailyrnail.co.uk/news/article-l 031837/Children-given-cornpulsory-sex-education-age- four.html
Cf ‘Truth and Meaning of Human Sexualitf, Pontifical Council for the Family 1995, Paragraph 78.
The case of police officer, Graham Cogman can be found on Lifesite news which details his troubles arising from his objections to wearing ribbons to mark gay history month and receiving emails from staff involved in ‘gay liaison’. See http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jul/08072215.html
Nine fire fighters were disciplined for refusing to participate in the Pride Scotia march held in Glasgow in the Summer of 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/l/hi/ scotland/glasgow_and_west/5301334.stm
StonewaU’s Publication ‘Starting Out: Lesbian <& Gay Recruitment Guide’ can be found at http://www.stonewall.org.Uk/workplace/l 468.asp The Scottish Government published Challenging Prejudice: Changing Attitudes Towards Lesbian, Gaj, Bisexual And Transgender Rople In Scotland (Recommendations of The LGBT Hearts and Minds Agenda Group).
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.