Chief Executive of Humanist Society Scotland, Gordon MacRae, above, has reacted angrily to an attack on LGBT school pupils by a clergyman who holds a position on a Highland Council Education Committee.
According to this report, Alexander MacLean, a member of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, suggested young LGBT people are bullied because they are “overt” and attract attention.
His anti-gay tirade came during a report on the work by Highland Council to reduce bullying of LGBT pupils at school, presented to the Education, Care and Adult services (ECAS) committee last week.
MacRae said if religious views are to be aired in such committees the representatives should be accountable at the ballot box.
The attempts to put religious dogma ahead of the needs of bullied gay and trans children is further evidence, if any was needed, as to why it is time to remove religious reps from all local education committees.
Unelected religious representatives are able to exercise power without any responsibility.
There is nothing to stop church leaders standing for election and to ask voters to support or reject their attempts to put religious dogma ahead of evidence-based policy.
A council spokeswoman said the local authority is working to address bullying in Highland.
Mr MacLean is an independent member of the Education, Children and Adult Services Committee and holds one of the places required by legislation for faith representatives.
His comments were rejected by councillors and by the chairman of the committee, who welcomed the report, and the work being done by Highland schools to promote inclusive practice.
While we know that LGBT pupils can experience bullying, we are committed to address this, and there are many examples of excellent work in schools across the authority.
MacLean, one of three religious representative on the committee who have full voting rights under UK legislation, is now facing calls for his removal over his “pernicious and offensive” comments.
MacLean also said books referring to same-sex couples should be removed from Highland schools. He asked:
Are these books really appropriate for young children? They are promoting LGBT practices. The percentage of LGBT people in UK population is two per cent therefore the number of LGBT children must be very small in our schools.
Many parents are concerned that their children are being exposed to the teaching of LGBT lifestyles which leave children confused and disturbed.
Some of these parents do not know what they can do about their concerns so as a representative of this committee I bring this matter before you.
LGBT lifestyles are now so overt that they attract attention and sadly one of the reactions against them can be bullying. We are certainly against bullying in our schools and elsewhere in our society, whether its against LGBT or any other group or class, but it appears the LGBT lobby is using the bullying of LGBT pupils to bring their agenda into our schools, promoting their lifestyle.
MacLean suggested that the words “homophobic” and “transphobic” should removed from a recommendation supporting the work to reduce bullying, so that it referred to all types of bullies, but this was rejected by councillors.
MacLean’s idiotic remarks sparked a plea from Lochaber councillor Bren Gormley to teach children to love and respect each other.
Phrases such as ‘promoting LGBT lifestyle’ I find pernicious, offensive and based on a misunderstanding of common human qualities we all share. To be comfortable with oneself it’s necessary to be comfortable with others and a key part of that is respect for others.
We need to support our young people to respect and love each other.
Nobody from the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland was available for comment.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn