The principal at an all girls primary school in Belfast has apologised after landing in hot water over religious worksheets that labelled gay people as “perverts”
Children at Hunterhouse College were given the worksheet and told to answer questions about a Bible verse, ‘1 Corinthians 6: 9-11’, which suggest compared homosexuals to adulterers, “drunkards” and thieves. Parents quickly criticised the school, with one telling the BBC the the worksheet suggested that “all homosexuals are perverts.”
The Bible verse that children were asked to analyse read:
Surely you know that the wicked will not possess God’s Kingdom.
Do not fool yourselves; people who are immoral or who worship idols or are adulterers or homosexual perverts or who steal or are greedy or are drunkards or who slander others or are thieves – none of these will possess God’s Kingdom.
Some of you were like that. But you have been purified from sin; you have been dedicated to God; you have been put right with God by the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
After reading the passage, children were asked to answer the following questions:
What do these verses tell us about homosexuals?
Who else is included with homosexuals?
What hope is there for all these people?
School principal Andrew Gibson called for the worksheets to be removed from the religious curriculum and sought the advice of LGBT rights group Rainbow Project Northern Ireland on how to respond to the controversy.
“This was in the introduction to Christian ethics centred around personal and family issues. As part of this, pupils are encouraged to consider a variety of attitudes to homosexuality,” said Gibson. “The questions were set in house but they were in the context of the CCEA specifications. We have a very strong pastoral care system at the school and deal with issues around sexuality with great sensitivity,” he added.
Dr Richard O’Leary, Chair of the Church of Ireland pro-gay group Changing Attitude Ireland (CAI) welcomed the school’s apology. “Schools should be aware that an increasing number of Christians are affirming of persons who are gay,” said O’Leary. “I was surprised at the Bible translation the school used, which is not one of the accepted translations.”
He continued, “Just as it would be inappropriate for a school to refer pupils to fundamentalist Islamic material as a guide to Muslims, it is inappropriate for schools to rely on fundamentalist Christian translations of the bible when discussing people who are gay”.
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