School pupils take a stand against chaplain's homophobia

School pupils take a stand against chaplain's homophobia April 17, 2018

Rev Mike Goss, above, has expressed ‘disappointment’ that pupils from Carnoustie High School in Angus have launched a petition calling for Angus Council to break ties with him because of his opposition to same-sex relationships and marriage.
However, according to this report, equality campaigners have praised the pupils’ action. The Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign said it was “refreshing” to see young people working to make their school more inclusive.
Goss, minister of Barry Parish Church, said he was “very disappointed” with the petition, which accuses him of being against gay marriage and claims he has stated his opposition to the LGBT community “on multiple occasions”.
He has offered to meet with the LGBT community at the school to discussed their concerns.
Jordan Daly, co-founder of the TIE campaign, said the petition demonstrated the strength of feeling among Scotland’s young people on LGBT equality.

It is refreshing to see a group of students taking direct action while seeking to make their school a more inclusive environment for its LGBT learners, parents and carers.
This petition is indicative of an emergent phenomenon whereby young people, across Scotland, are feeling detached from and displaced by traditional religious institutions due to the perceived conflict between having faith and supporting LGBT equality.
Many young people, who have LGBT friends or family members, simply cannot relate to nor comprehend traditional religious doctrine which tells them that same-sex love is ‘unnatural’ and ‘sinful’.

Daly added:

This is why it is so crucial that faith leaders, such as those from across the religious spectrum who have endorsed our campaign for LGBT education in schools, are vocal about their support for diversity and equality.
It is encouraging that Mr Goss has indicated his willingness to sit down with the Inclusion and Equality Group, we would hope that this is sooner rather than later and that Mr Goss can perhaps become a figure of support to the LGBT community at Carnoustie High School.

An extract from the petition
Goss opened a formal protest over the Church of Scotland’s move to back same-sex marriages in 2016.
He also gave an interview to BBC Scotland last year where he stated that:

Same-sex relationships are not what God has planned for us as human beings.

The student campaigners claim it is “appalling” that the school, which set up an Inclusion and Equality Group last year to raise awareness of LGBT rights, has not cut its ties with Mr Goss.
Goss described the petition as a “tissue of lies” and said the allegations were “potentially actionable”.

I am certainly very disappointed to see this petition appear on social media, as I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy good relationships with the High School and both primary schools where I am chaplain.
School chaplaincy is a voluntary provision by church ministers which depends on the invitation of the schools themselves, and I have always treasured these links with the local community and any support that I can provide to staff and pupils, sometimes in difficult situations, regardless of their race, faith or gender.
I have never ever said that I hate any member of the LGBT community, nor do I hate anyone, as far as I am able to determine my own heart.
I met with members of the school inclusion group last June to discuss their concerns. I would be happy to do so again.


And he accused local councillor Brian Boyd, above, of pursuing a vendetta against him.
Boyd said:

It’s alarming to see this topic rearing its ugly head again and with hundreds of people signing the petition  the council clearly has a problem here that must be resolved.The council, and myself as an elected official have a duty of care to protect young adults whilst at school.
As a council we have a duty of care to all our young people.
In my view Rev Goss is an extreme anti-LBGTQ+ activist working against inclusion in his own church and is a frequent public commentator whose language is both hurtful and discriminatory. The council should not be seen to condone such activity.
Many concerned parents and pupils contacted me last year — there certainly is not a good relationship between Rev Goss and the schools he attends and with other ministers within the town. I hope to see a change in the chaplaincy soon.

Boyd said he believes there are “better candidates for this role” and suggested the schools should hold a ballot asking the pupils and parents which minister they would prefer.
Goss said he would be taking legal advice with regards the petition.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Daz

    “I have never ever said that I hate any member of the LGBT community, nor do I hate anyone, as far as I am able to determine my own heart.”

    And that there is an extremely carefully phrased statement if ever I saw one. It’s quite possible that he truly hasn’t expressed hatred of an individual, or even expressed his opposition to equal rights as personal hatred. And in framing it like that, he attempts to steer the reader away from an examination of the over-all trend of his words on the topic, and toward one of his individual statements without regard to that larger context.
    I believe it’s a technique known as gaslighting.

  • andym

    Yep. He’s denied something he hasn’t been accused of to distract attention from what he has said.

  • barriejohn

    This bit of news didn’t go down well with the religious – especially “Christian Concern”:
    https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/13-april/comment/columnists/press-humanist-chaplains-free-of-charge-on-the-nhs
    Putting a humanist in charge of the chaplaincy team shows how far we have come from the Christian roots of the NHS.
    I think that’s worth a lol!

  • Angela_K

    It is encouraging that younger people have a sense of fairness and support equality, unlike Mr Goss who uses the imagined wishes of his god to justify his bigotry.

  • andym

    @ Angela K. A microcosm of the way the world’s going. The religious spout the crap they’ve always spouted, thinking they’re going to be deferred to. The young refuse to tolerate them any more, and the religious try wheedling their way out of it, pretending they’ve been misrepresented.

  • Broga

    Goss is upset because his incredible belief that he knows what his fictional tyrant God wants is not accepted without challenge. I really have to take a step back to remind myself that this bigoted, cruel nonsense is still being spread in tax funded schools in 2018.
    Goss, like so many of his ilk, dare not examine the evidence for what he insists, without question, is the “truth.” If he did the entire crumbling, corrupt, fake “certainties” of his religious edifice would fall. And there goes job, house, status and he might have to look for proper work.

  • 1859

    ‘…as far as I am able to determine my own heart’.
    I think a shit load more introspection is needed Mr. Goss because your ‘own’ heart is not your ‘own’ – it has been taken over by religious squatters and twisted into ways you probably wouldn’t recognise. Self-honesty is a rare gift and loving people you have been instructed to despise is maybe as yet one act of generosity too large for your manipulated conscience to make. You are in a prison of your own making. You can reclaim your ‘own’ heart by making a bid for freedom.

  • Broga

    1859: Fear is at the core of much of religious belief. The fear of death. Their frail egos need a fantasy to escape the reality that the cosmos doesn’t give a toss about them or the rest of us. Such is their terror that an obvious fiction is preferred to the robust fact that we are not separate from nature, from the cosmos, we are just as much part of it as a beetle. (God seems to love beetles.) We control very little.

  • AgentCormac

    The writing is on the wall for people like Goss and organisations like his church. Young people are becoming more and more aware of their ability to influence their world (witness the actions of students in the US regarding gun control) and mould it to their ideals. The establishment needs to take heed if it is not to be thrown out once this generation comes of age, but thankfully I very much doubt that it can or it will.

  • I love it. This is very encouraging. The bright young things of today are giving the broken, crusty, religious minds of yesterday a well-deserved come-uppance.
    Yay, young people! We are in good hands.