Friday, 17 May 2013

Same-sex marriage votes imminent, contact your MP now

As MPs prepare to debate and vote on the report stage and third reading of the government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on Monday (20 May) and Tuesday (21 May), please make a point of emailing or phoning your MP to ask him/her to oppose the Bill, especially by voting against it at third reading. MPs can be emailed via SPUC's website at http://www.spuc.org.uk/mps or telephoned via the House of Commons switchboard on 020 7219 3000.

Please ask any clergy you are in touch with to tell people that this is their last chance to lobby MPs – who can be phoned or emailed on Monday prior to the third reading on Tuesday.

The principal reason for having laws supporting marriage is because marriage is the best environment to conceive and raise children. Redefining marriage so that it has no particular link with children means there will be no real justification for laws recognising marriage at all. This is why “same-sex marriage” will damage marriage and harm future generations. You can read SPUC's position paper on same-sex marriage at http://www.spuc.org.uk/documents/papers/ssm201201

Please stress that it is most important that MPs oppose it at this stage, because as a bill without mandate, the government needs to appreciate how strongly it is opposed by people all over the country.

Please remember always to forward any replies you receive from MPs to SPUC, either by post or by email to political@spuc.org.uk

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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Thu 16 May

Top stories:

Same-sex marriage is "policy by magic", hear parliamentarians
Changing the law to allow same-sex marriage is "policy by magic", parliamentarians heard on Monday (13 May) in an expert briefing. Proponents are claiming that the change will benefit marriage in general, but this is wishful thinking and not evidence-based. MPs and Lords gathered in Parliament for the official launch of a scholarly analysis of same-sex marriage in various countries by Patricia Morgan, a leading social scientist and family policy expert. Parliamentarians and other interested parties were briefed with arguments prior to next week's Commons Report stage and 3rd reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The Bill is expected to be debated in the Lords very soon. The launch was hosted and chaired by Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and organised by SPUC. [SPUC, 14 May]

Lord Falconer attacks right to life for elderly and disabled people

A new onslaught on disabled and vulnerable people has been launched with the introduction by Lord Falconer of a bill in the House of Lords to legalise assisted dying. Lord Falconer's bill is expected to be targeted at the lonely and disabled elderly. Previous attempts to undermine the right to life of elderly and disabled people have met with strong opposition in the House of Lords. Paul Tully, SPUC Pro-Life’s general secretary, said: “We will be collaborating with disability rights groups, health professionals and pro-life politicians to resist Lord Falconer’s proposals with all our strength." [SPUC, 15 May]

Other stories:

Abortion
Embryology
Population
Sexual ethics
  • The scandal of Stonewall in a Catholic primary school is the tip of the iceberg [John Smeaton, 16 May]
  • Majority of British women would pick being a housewife over having a career, suggests new research [Mail, 16 May]
  • Former teen mum criticises campaign underming young mothers [Telegraph, 15 May]
General
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The scandal of Stonewall in a Catholic primary school is the tip of the iceberg

Stonewall's poster for schools
The Telegraph, The Evening Standard, the Protect the Pope blog and other media have reported on the scandal of a Catholic primary school in Wimbledon which invited Stonewall, the UK's main homosexual lobby, to train its teachers how to deal with 'homophobic bullying'. Antonia Tully, the coordinator of SPUC's Safe at School campaign, was quoted in the reports, saying:
“Many parents will be very concerned that a gay rights organisation is considered to be an appropriate source of advice on how to deal with children using inappropriate language in the playground.

If a primary school takes on Stonewall’s agenda, young children will be exposed to homosexual issues, which they are too young to understand properly. Parents expect a school to provide an education, not subject their children to gay propaganda.”
The Catholic Herald reports that an unnamed source close to the school:
"said the training day had the blessing of the Archdiocese of Southwark. The archdiocese was not available for comment."
The paper also reports that:
"Wes Streeting, Head of Education at Stonewall, said that about half a dozen Catholic primary schools had been given the accolade of “Stonewall School Champion”, including St Mary’s. He added:
'Thousands of primary schools have received Stonewall’s primary school resources through local authorities, including Catholic primary schools.'
The resources used to guide Stonewall’s work with some Catholic primary schools include a “best practice” guide which advises teachers on how to promote equality in the classroom.

The guide provides case studies of different primary schools, describing how some put up Stonewall posters with the slogan “Different Families, Same Love” with cartoons of same-sex parents.

In another case study a primary school compared books from the 1960s and 1970s that portrayed conventional families with a modern children’s picture book called Prince and Prince."
The Edge on the Net website reports that [my emphasis in bold]:
"As part of their "Different Families, Same Love," program, Stonewall provided the teachers with education at a training day last September. The education teaches that same-sex couple households are equal to heterosexual households. Children are advised not to use the word "gay" in a negative way, as it might upset kids with gay parents."
Pink News (and other sources) quotes Sarah Couch, the school's headmistress, saying:
"...we log all incidents of homophobic language use..."
The school's approach sounds like Communist East Germany's notorious system of encouraging citizens to inform the Stasi secret police of any comments against the state ideology. In fact, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) sex education programme, "It's All One Curriculum", recommends just such a Stasi-like system:
“Indicate a person or organization to go to or call if someone’s sexual rights are being ignored." (p.21) "[I]dentify trusted individuals (or organizations) who can help respond to incidents of discrimination" (p.32) “[J]oin organizations or groups that fight for sexual and reproductive rights using various tactics. Examples include:...community “watch groups"."
Pink News also quotes Wes Streeting of Stonewall (my emphasis in bold):
“Our work with St Mary’s is part of an ongoing programme to help staff challenge homophobia, which helps meet Ofsted guidelines and the Catholic Education Service’s advice that Catholic schools tackle homophobic bullying."
Fr Timothy Finigan, a leading priest of Southwark archdiocese, has blogged that:
"I know of at least one other Catholic school in the Diocese where posters saying "Some people are gay. Get over it." were posted on classroom notice-boards."
I hope that Peter Smith, the Catholic archbishop of Southwark, will issue a prompt statement denying that the archdiocese approves of Stonewall's presence in any of its schools and assuring parents that measures will be taken to block Stonewall and its material.

Sadly, groups inimical to pro-life and pro-family Catholic principles have been welcomed into Catholic schools in England and Wales for many years, courtesy of the Catholic authorities. Connexions, a government service which facilitates secret abortions on schoolgirls without parental knowledge or consent, has been welcomed into Catholic schools courtesy of the Catholic Education Service, an agency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. And most recently, Catholic primary schools in Tower Hamlets have been trained how to use the sexually-explicit teaching materials supplied by the Christopher Winter project.

The scandal in Wimbledon is but the tip of an iceberg which threatens to sink a whole generation of schoolchildren. The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in paragraph 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Lord Falconer attacks right to life for elderly and disabled people

A new onslaught on disabled and vulnerable people has been launched today with the introduction by Lord Falconer of a bill in the House of Lords to legalise assisted dying.

Lord Falconer's bill is expected to be targeted at the lonely and disabled elderly. Previous attempts to undermine the right to life of elderly and disabled people have met with strong opposition in the House of Lords, but the increasing costs of looking after frail elderly people may be leading euthanasia supporters to think that the government will eventually lend support to such a measure.

Commenting on news of the proposal, Paul Tully, SPUC Pro-Life’s general secretary, told the media today:
“Earlier this week, we saw ‘Martin,’ Paul Lamb and Jane Nicklinson renew the legal attacks on the right to life through the courts. This means that disabled people and elderly people are in the firing-line from several directions at once. Present financial difficulties in providing the necessary health and social care will be leveraged by euthanasia supporters to aid their cause. Any down-grading of legal protection for vulnerable lives should be resisted.

We are also seeing disturbing abuses of palliative care, through incentivised pathways for example, which are being used to hasten or bring about death in many cases. The pressure is on health trusts to put budgets before good care. This situation is being exploited by those who think that people with limited lives or serious disabilities should be helped to die.

We will be collaborating with disability rights groups, health professionals and pro-life politicians to resist Lord Falconer’s proposals with all our strength."
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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Same-sex marriage is "policy by magic", hear parliamentarians

Changing the law to allow same-sex marriage is "policy by magic", parliamentarians heard yesterday in an expert briefing. Proponents are claiming that the change will benefit marriage in general, but this is wishful thinking and not evidence-based.

MPs and Lords gathered yesterday in Parliament for the official launch of a scholarly analysis of same-sex marriage in various countries by Patricia Morgan, a leading social scientist and family policy expert. Parliamentarians and other interested parties were briefed with arguments prior to next week's Commons Report stage and 3rd reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The Bill is expected to be debated in the Lords very soon. The launch was hosted and chaired by Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and organised by SPUC.

Patricia Morgan's paper "What happens to marriage and families where the law recognises 'same-sex marriage'?" can be read in full at www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/ssmsub20130301 She is a leading researcher on family policy and author of numerous books and scholarly papers on marriage and the state. She has researched the effect on marriage when same-sex marriage legislation is introduced. She has produced the "What happens to marriage..." paper for SPUC, based on research and data from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and the US and Canada.

Dr Morgan told the meeting that same-sex marriage in various countries is being promoted by the same people who have facilitated the decline of marriage generally over recent decades. Legislators and officials, having used law and public policy to undermine the conjugal model of marriage, are now seeking to debase marriage further by redefining it as a genderless relationship.

In Sweden, the authorities have conducted a campaign of massive public re-education and forced the state church to perform genderless marriage ceremonies. In Spain, the terms 'mother' and 'father' have been replaced in birth certificates with the terms 'progenitor A' and 'progenitor B'.

There has been a low uptake of same-sex marriage in various countries, explained Dr Morgan. In the Netherlands, the number of same-sex marriages conducted has fallen from 2,500 in 2001 to 1,355 in 2011. Same-sex marriages are often short-lived and have higher rates of dissolution than heterosexual marriages. In Scandanavia, nearly 50% of same-sex unions are between nationals and non-nationals, suggesting that many same-sex unions may be unions of convenience for immigration purposes. These facts expose the false claim that same-sex marriage will rejuvenate the institution of marriage generally.

Dr Morgan argued that same-sex marriage advocates cherry-pick their statistics and fail to explain how same-sex marriage is going to rejuvenate marriage, which faces decline due to increasing rates of cohabitation and divorce. In fact, parliamentarians are being misled into supporting a bill which will contribute to the evisceration of the rationale for state recognition of marriage, which is the best interests of children.

Lord Carey expressed his appreciation for the high quality of Dr Morgan's research and for the work of SPUC in organising the meeting. He quoted the Book of Proverbs, "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set", arguing that the heterosexual nature of marriage is a timeless institution which we must uphold.

Toward the end of the meeting, I told the parliamentarians present SPUC has an interest in defending marriage on two main grounds: An increasing body of robust research shows that children do better when brought up by their biological father and mother who are committed to each other in marriage; and in the UK, babies conceived outside of marriage are about four to five times more likely to be aborted than those conceived within marriage.

Patricia Morgan's research indicates that as marriage is redefined to accommodate same-sex couples, this reinforces the idea that marriage is irrelevant to parenthood; and that same-sex marriage may begin the process of severing marriage from family in otherwise family-friendly societies such as Spain and The Netherlands.

Legalising same-sex marriage is not about removing an 'inequity' in the law, as Lord Fowler said last Wednesday in the debate on the Queen's Speech. It is about the destruction of the oldest human institution in the world which protects the mental and physical wellbeing of men, women and children. Future generations of children will simply not know that the natural habitat for children is the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman as a permanent exclusive union. I concluded by expressing my hope that the parliamentarians present will be successful in persuading their colleagues to reject completely the government's bill.

SPUC has published a position paper on same-sex marriage – explaining why SPUC campaigns for real marriage, and a background paper to be read in conjunction with the position paper and which provides some additional references and reflections.

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