BHA: Christian group slammed for ‘dangerous’ and ‘misleading’ campaign against sex education
Discussions of the Education Bill in the House of Lords became heated last night as prominent children’s rights advocates slammed the Christian Institute for spreading ‘misinformation’ and ‘wicked insinuations’ about amendments relating to inspecting well-being in schools insinuating that proposed changes ‘would force schools to teach five year-olds about sex’.
Leading health and education campaigner, and secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group, Baroness Massey, and the former shadow Children, Schools and Families Minister for the Liberal Democrats Baroness Walmsley, both spoke out against the campaign organised by the Christian Institute against their proposed amendment to the Bill.
Baroness Massey said ‘Never in the time that it has been my honour to serve in your Lordships' House have I known such a sinister and vicious campaign, which has sought to misinform others.’
Baroness Walmsley stated, ‘The Christian Institute recently sent out a letter in which it claimed that I would be laying an amendment to make PSHE compulsory. As your Lordships see from the Marshalled List, this is not true. It also claimed, in a subsequent letter, that my fictional amendment, and that of the noble Baroness, Lady Massey, which we are now debating, would force schools to teach five year-olds about sex. That is also not true. There have been wicked insinuations that we would want to do something that would harm children and their innocence. The noble Baroness and I have spent our whole parliamentary lives, much of what went before and a lot of what goes on outside, working to promote the well-being of children, and to suggest that we would harm them is outrageous and very un-Christian.’
Commenting on the debate, BHA Head of Public Affairs Naomi Phillips said, ‘This is not the first time the religious lobby has been accused of using misinformation and scaremongering to try to influence public policy. In the past few years we’ve seen misleading campaigns not only on sex education but also on assisted dying, stem cell research, and human fertilisation and embryology.
‘In a liberal democratic society, people and groups must be able to express their views and opinions freely, and to lobby parliamentarians if they wish. However, it is also really important and in the public interest to challenge and expose information that is misleading or false.’
For further comment or information contact Naomi Phillips on 07540 257101.
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belie
Moved by Baroness Massey of Darwen
80: Clause 40, page 37, line 8, at end insert-
"(5C) In reporting under subsection (5), the Chief Inspector's report must consider the wellbeing of the children in the school and, in particular, must report on-
(a) school policies on bullying and healthy eating;
(b) the delivery of citizenship education;
(c) the delivery of personal, social and health education, including sex and relationships education; and
(d) child protection measures.
(5D) In reporting on the matters listed in subsection (5C), the Chief Inspector must take into account the age and stage of development of the pupils.
(5E) The Chief Inspector's report must also consider-
(a) how the delivery of the matters listed in subsection (5C) is coordinated across the school curriculum and in pastoral care; and
(b) how many parents, pupils and members of the wider community are involved in the delivery of the matters listed in subsection (5C)."