What price for a Herald? The debate over compulsory LBGTI+ education in schools

Whilst on holiday in Australia I was sent an article which was published in the Sunday Herald.  It was one of the most vicious personal attacks I have had in public and it’s reproduced as Article 1 below.  I was tempted to sue but instead asked for a right of reply – which was granted.  Article 2 below was my reply.  Article 3 is the MSP Patrick Harvie’s response in his own words.

When you read them all you will note that Patick Harvie is unable to provide a single homophobic quote from me.   Instead he just repeats the general assertions and associations with racism etc.  He also makes the somewhat chilling statement that he hopes for a Scotland where such debate is banned and those who oppose his views are subject to disciplinary action!

In a week when I read of yet another Christian bowing the knee to Baal, it was encouraging to be allowed to explain the biblical position in a national newspaper and set it in a gospel context.  I have no desire to be the martyr but it would be really helpful if other Christian leaders, whether politicians, clergy or media, also made a stand. Anyway as usual please let me know what you think.  And any ideas for how I can improve on this type of interaction would be appreciated…


ARTICLE 1 – SUNDAY HERALD – 3rd July 2016

 

Scotland’s new ‘Section 28’ Culture War breaks out over mandatory teaching of LGBT issues in school

Gemma Clark
Gemma Clark

THE moderator of the Free Church of Scotland has been denounced as homophobic for claiming LGBT campaigners are trying to “indoctrinate children” by teaching them about gay relationships in schools in order to end discrimination.

Reverend David Robertson said children should not be introduced to ideas about gay or transgender relationships by their class teachers.

Campaign group Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) is calling for mandatory education of LGBT issues to be brought in to schools as young people are self-harming and taking their own lives as a result of homophobia and transphobia.

Speaking to the Sunday Herald, Robertson said: “Primary school children do not need to be taught what gay and transgender is.

“We are concerned that what is being proposed is not teaching children facts but indoctrinating them with a particular political/sexual philosophy.”

He claimed mandatory LGBT education would go against the human rights act, and added: “The bottom line is that we are opposed to our state education system being used for social engineering and for foisting propaganda upon children.

“We believe that no one should be subject to bullying but that the way to combat bullying is to teach people respect for all human beings, not to indoctrinate children.”

Garry Otton, founder of Secular Scotland, said: “David Robertson is obsessed with gay sex. Hardly a day goes by when he is not making some foamy-mouthed condemnation of a subject he has an extraordinary interest in. If he wants to talk about what is unnatural about any aspect of sexual orientation he need look no further than his own reflection – denial of what is an everyday reality for many people is certainly not natural.”

Fellow secularist Megan Crawford, Chairwoman of the Scottish Secular Society, said the debate could be described as Scotland’s new Section 28 – which banned the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools until its repeal.

She said: “To cherry-pick where you can and cannot speak about normal human issues that are non-offensive, non-violent and normal is ridiculous.”

Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie, who supports the TIE campaign, attacked Robertson’s views as hypocritical and coming from “the most extremist fringes of religion” .

The MSP and equalities spokesman for the Scottish Greens, said: “David Robertson’s long history of opposing equality and promoting homophobic and transphobic ideas is no secret – though it’s scarcely credible to see a voice from the more extremist fringes of religion innocently claiming to be against the indoctrination of children. In truth, I suspect he’d just prefer to indoctrinate them with ideas at odds with equality and human rights.”

STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINE OF DISCRIMINATION

AS campaigners call for the teaching of LGBT issues in schools in order to tackle homophobia and transphobia, three young members of Scotland’s LGBT community spoke to the Sunday Herald of their experiences at school, and how their lives would have been different if their peers and teachers had been more aware of the issues affecting them.

Dean Coyle, 18, from Balloch

In Dean Coyle’s house, he has a small black box containing around 30 pencil sharpeners.

They act as a reminder of the transgender 18-year-old’s not-too-distant past – of his school days, and times that he is not quite ready to let go of.

For the last four years, he carried the box wherever he went, and every so often he would open it, find one he liked, carefully unscrew the blade and cut himself.

As it tore the skin on his arms or thighs, the tension, anxiety, and negative thoughts would wash from his mind, he says, and he could think, at last.

Coyle, who was designated female at birth but came out as transgender last year, still considers himself one of the “lucky ones”.

Despite experiencing periods of severe depression, suffering from anxiety and self-esteem issues, as well as self-harming almost daily for years, he has a supportive family and went to a school which placed an emphasis on equality.

Coyle said: “I was very lucky. I had no idea until I was about 14 that something really wasn’t right. I learned what trans was, and what it meant, and it made sense to me.

“I started to change the way I looked to the way I wanted to. It happened quite fast. I cut my hair and dress as a boy, I present as that. I’ve transitioned socially but medically, I’m on the waiting list and I can’t really do much about that.”

A lot of his abuse he suffers come from online.

“I wrote something on Twitter, and a group of people jumped on it, started retweeting it, writing nasty things about me.” he explained.

They would say things like ‘you’re pathetic, you’re a girl. You’re a chick.’ They were making fun of things I’d said when I was feeling good.”

A budding musician, Coyle has had to change the way he performs and thinks about music since he came out as trans, and still has difficulty with everyday things such as going to his local shop.

“I don’t regret coming out as trans.” he said, confidently. “I’m getting there eventually. I would like to be a singer/songwriter but I struggle with singing now as I don’t sound like a guy, I sound like a girl.

“Socially I don’t like going out and talking to people in shops I don’t like being misgendered, as most transpeople don’t.”

Coyle said education is an essential part of making members of the LGBT community completely equal, and can see the benefits, having been to a more tolerant school.

He said: “A lot of people, when they get to adulthood, they are set in their thoughts about LGBT people, and telling young people about it will hopefully help change things permanently for the future.

“Adults have said they are worried about people ‘turning their children gay’ by teaching them about LGBT education. That’s complete nonsense.

“My school had an LGBT committee, and it was great. It had the LGBT flag up, people came in and talked at assemblies about their experiences and I think it made people much more open. It changes people’s minds, makes them aware of the LGBT struggle within school and society.”

Gemma Clark, 22, from Gourock

This time last year, Gemma Clark weighed 5 stone and had just been admitted to a mental hospital in Glasgow, where she would remain for the next four months.

The 22-year-old, bisexual woman had suffered from major organ failure, and her heart had begun wasting away along with the rest of her muscles.

Clark, a trainee journalist, suffered with depression and an eating disorder for a large part of her adolescence, which she believes was brought on in part by the difficulties she faced with her sexuality and the torment she suffered trying to hide the fact she was attracted to both men and women.

Growing up in Gourock, Clark said she knew nobody else who was part of the LGBT community except one transgender person in her school.

She watched as they were bullied and shunned by teachers and pupils, and was too afraid to admit to her peers she was part of the same community.

She began to stop eating and would go for days without a single piece of food passing her lips.

Existing on up to 17 cups of coffee a day, she would starve herself until she was so weak she was unable to stand, and had to be sectioned and given medical help to stop her from dying.

Clark said: “I just felt like it wasn’t safe for me to come out. I was really confused. I liked boys, but I also liked girls. I didn’t feel that it was safe to say anything.”

In the last 12 months, Clark has started a new relationship and is the happiest she’s ever been. Having gained weight, and completed her degree at Glasgow Caledonian University, she is looking forward to starting a new chapter in her life.

She said having proper teaching of LGBT issues in schools would have helped her to be more at ease with her sexuality.

“Trying to suppress my sexuality was a definite part of my problem, and what contributed to my mental breakdown and eating disorder. When you’re seeing a transgender girl pilloried in school, it doesn’t inspire courage to come out.”

Niall Gillon, 23, a drag performer living in Glasgow

Niall Gillon, is a confident, intelligent man in his 20s, with a broad smile, great fashion sense and a sharp tongue.

Educated in a Catholic school, Gillon said being gay was not well received by the majority of his teachers and the impact of their treatment has been long-lasting in his life.

Five years since leaving school, Gillon said he still has difficulty trusting people, and doesn’t make friends easily.

He feels as though he missed out on education and as though many of his chances have been ruined due to the homophobia and bullying he experienced at school.

Gillon said: “I was a really camp kid, and was told by a teacher I had gone to talk to that I didn’t help myself because of the way I acted. I just thought I was being me, I couldn’t help it

“People would say horrendous things about me too – I felt really alone and insular.”

He added: “After I came out, it became the school scandal for that week and I didn’t get help from the school, it just got worse.”

An avid performer from a young age, Gillon said he was heavily involved in his school’s drama department but when he came out as being gay, his progress in the subject “was made very difficult.”

He explained: “The head teacher for example was an older, very Catholic man, who didn’t get me and I don’t think he wanted to.

“It wasn’t in their agenda to help LGBT kids. They would miss out my name from programmes of school shows we had done, not thank me when they were thanking everyone else, stuff like that.

“It made a lot of people frightened to come out and be themselves, as they didn’t want to be the next person who was treated that way…It f****d with my education.”

After leaving school, Gillon started university but faced more homophobic attitudes and decided to drop out.

He said: “I got thrown out of a nightclub for kissing a guy…I didn’t want to leave but I just felt isolated.

“I was in a pub once and a group of old men started hurling abuse at me. I was 18. There was no point in me trying to hide who I was.”

Gillon admitted he does want to return to studying but he doesn’t know if he will ever be able to due to the bad experiences he faced before.

He is determined that other young people should not have to go through the same ordeal he did, and has joined the TIE campaign to help tackle homophobia.

He said: “If teachers have to teach it, they have to embrace what they are teaching. That is so important. Nobody’s education should be ruined because of attitudes like that.”

Fact-file: Scotland and LGBT rights

SIXTEEN years ago, the Scottish Parliament made history as the first government in the UK to repeal section 28. The act banned local authorities from promoting homosexuality, publishing anything which could promote homosexuality, or teaching children that homosexuality was a “pretended family relationship.”

It was repealed by MSPs on June 21, 2000, and was one of the first pieces of legislation that passed through Holyrood after the Scottish Parliament’s formation.

Since then, equality has progressed for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual (LGBT) people in Scotland with the country now considered one of the best at offering legal protection for the LGBT community. Holyrood itself has been described as the “gayest” parliament in the world with four out of the six main party leaders openly gay.

However, campaigners say there is still more to be done to tackle homophobia and transphobic attitudes, and LGBT people are still suffering – particularly in schools.

Campaign group Time for inclusive Education (TIE) is calling for mandatory education of LGBT issues to be brought in to schools.

They argue that children and teenagers are self-harming, and at the most extreme level taking their own lives as a result of some of the abuse they have faced by school staff and their peers.

The campaign has attracted high profile support from Scottish politicians, legal professionals and teaching staff, including Patrick Harvie, Willie Rennie and prominent human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar.


 

 

ARTICLE 2 – SUNDAY HERALD – 10th July 2016 – DAVID ROBERTSON

‘I am not a foaming-at-the-mouth homophobic religious extremist. I am a Christian’

by Rev David Robertson, Former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland

Anyone reading the Sunday Herald last week on the mandatory teaching of LGBTI issues in schools would get the impression that I am some kind of homophobic religious extremist with an unhealthy interest in gay sex. According to Garry Otton of Secular Scotland hardly a day goes by when I am not making some ‘foamy mouthed’ condemnation of homosexuality. According to Patrick Harvie, the Green Party leader, I have a long history of promoting homophobia and transphobia as someone from the ‘most extremist fringes of religion’, thus putting me on a par with ISIS and the Westboro Cult.

An accompanying article described the personal struggles of a transgender self-harming 18 year old, a 21 year old bisexual woman suffering from depression and a 23 year old drag performer. The equation is simple – the solution to these problems is for schools to teach more LGBTI issues and therefore any one opposed to this is in fact responsible for all this suffering. Little wonder then, that since the publication of the article I have received significant hate mail and abuse. Surely the best way to fight hate and intolerance is not with hate and intolerance? Can we not learn to listen to one another and not just engage in prejudice, intolerance and abuse of which there is far too much in Scotland today? I am grateful to the Sunday Herald for allowing me to present my side to this story.

Firstly, I do not have an obsession with homosexuality and I do not issue condemnatory statements almost every day. The Sunday Herald asked me for comments on the proposals by the campaign group Time for Inclusive Education being put to the Scottish parliament. I gave my considered opinion and whilst I do not expect every one to agree with me, I do expect that in a democracy my views are entitled to be heard without being subject to the kind of irrational and prejudiced abuse demonstrated in the article. Civic discourse in Scotland is not going to be helped if people who disagree with the establishment views are to be mocked, sidelined and abused in these ways.

Secondly, I do not accept that I am homophobic. Homophobia is wrong and abhorrent. To ‘fear’ people because of their sexuality is irrational and immoral. I think I was the first minister in Scotland to speak out publicly against Putin’s persecution of homosexuals. I challenge Patrick Harvie to show me one statement from me that is homophobic. If he cannot then he should apologise for his slander. He needs to remember that the definition of homophobia is not ‘someone who disagrees with Patrick Harvie’. I admit that I have committed the great blasphemy of being opposed to Same Sex Marriage (SSM), but that does not mean that I am anti-LGBT.

The Free Church’s position, which is the mainstream Christian position, is as follows:

  1. Human beings, without exception, are made in ‘the image of God’ – this means not that God has a physical body but rather that we are spiritual, personal, rational and relational beings. This means that we are de facto all equal.
  2. God has revealed himself to us through the book of nature and through his special revelation the Bible. Although the bible is primarily a book about what God has done for us through His son Jesus Christ, not a book of ‘morals’, it does nonetheless give us guidance. ‘Obey the Makers instructions is’ I think a reasonable perspective – at least for those of us who believe there is a Maker. For those who don’t they can choose to get their rules and principles from elsewhere but in reality that means that the rich and powerful will just make up their own morality and impose it on the rest of us. Morality just becomes the fashion of the rich and powerful.
  3. As regards marriage, the Bible teaches that marriage is a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman, for the purpose of mutual companionship, the good of society and the procreation and upbringing of children. This is the position that Western Society has held and on which our culture has been based on for almost 2000 years. I object to being called homophobic just because I continue to hold to that view. Despite what Patrick Harvie says about my position being on the ‘extremist fringes’ of religion, this is the position of the Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical and Reformed churches – in other words this is mainstream Christianity. Advocates of ‘Queer theory’ have long sought the destruction of marriage as an institution which they consider patriarchal and harmful. Ironically I think SSM provides that for them. It is my belief that such a destruction of marriage will be harmful for all people, whatever their sexuality.
  4. As regards the examples of the three young people mentioned in the article, I cannot comment on their specific cases because I do not know them. In over 30 years of working with people of many different backgrounds and sexualities I have found that people and situations are far more complex than is usually portrayed, and that to offer simplistic solutions often does more harm than good. Young people self-harm, take drugs and attempt suicide for a wide variety of reasons. To simplify these reasons and use personal tragedies in order to promote a particular political/social philosophy is itself manipulative and harmful.

My concern is not with the philosophy or ideology but with the people. How can we best help our young people, whatever their sexuality? And why just focus on sexuality? What about economic poverty, drug abuse, pornography, family breakup, unemployment, religious and anti-religious discrimination, and the shortage of good mental health care? I realise that the Equality Network and Stonewall are well funded lobby groups, and that giving them what they demand is an easy way for politicians to show they ‘care’ and how ‘progressive’ they are, but the reality is that only 1-2% of Scotland’s young people are LGBT. They are important, but they are not just defined by their sexuality and neither are the other 98%. I agree that we should deal with homophobic bullying, but then we must also deal with the many other issues that our young people face.

In conclusion I would like to suggest that the Free Church of Scotland is a radical church that seeks to turn the world upside down. We believe that our society is in desperate need of good news and that the best news of all (especially for the poor) is the Good News of Jesus Christ. My aim and mission in life is to proclaim that there is forgiveness, healing, love, wholeness and identity in Christ and his Church. And that is for all, whatever their sexuality. You do not have to agree our religious views, but don’t condemn us because we don’t agree with yours. Please let’s seek to understand and not demonise one another.


ARTICLE 3 – SUNDAY HERALD – 10th July 2016 – PATRICK HARVIE

5262655‘Homophobia must be challenged the same as racism, misogyny and sectarianism’

by Patrick Harvie, Co-Convenor of the Scottish Green Party

A tiresomely familiar aspect of public debate on the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people is the way in which the argument of free speech is distorted. Free speech is an important principle, but it does not extend to the right to speak without criticism or challenge. Those who defend or promote discrimination should not only acknowledge that others have the right to challenge their prejudice – they must face up to the fact that we have a duty to do so. Prejudice and discrimination against LGBTI people can no more be allowed to go unchallenged than racism, misogyny, or sectarianism.

Yet every time equality takes a step forward, I lose count of the number of times when those campaigning against us loudly denounce equality in the national media while simultaneously complaining that their freedom of speech is being undermined.

Five minutes with the search engine of your choice will tell you all you need to know about the track record of David Robertson in opposing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. If there has been any legal step forward for equality which he supported, I’m damned if I can find evidence of it. Indeed, at every step of the way we have been up against those who innocently proclaim their complete lack of prejudice, but whose track record demonstrates the opposite. “Of course we accept civil partnership,” they said during the equal marriage debate, “but this is just a step too far”. Nine times out of ten these were the same people who campaigned or voted against the introduction of civil partnership in the first place.

David Robertson’s formal submission on the equal marriage legislation is good example. He described the proposed law as the act of an “ultra-liberal” establishment, and made the bizarre argument that if the state was to give religious groups the freedom to choose whether or not to welcome same-sex couples and conduct their marriages, this would represent an intolerable intrusion by the state. At times he denounced secularism, and at others demanded that the separation of church and state be respected. Terms like gay rights (is it still 1981?) are put in scare quotes, and the funding of equality organisations is condemned. Yet nowhere is the claim that our legal equality would be harmful and destructive ever justified with evidence of any kind. Of course not – there is none.

In fact, in twenty-five years of campaigning and working on these issues, I have never yet heard a coherent moral argument as to why a same-sex relationship should be treated as second class, inferior, or less morally good.

Now, as the debate about inclusive education gets under way, the same voices are being heard again with the same threadbare arguments against equality. Young LGBTI people have a right to be treated fairly, to have their equal rights and dignity respected, and to live free of prejudice and discrimination. It’s not enough for those who promote our inequality in law or in society to make simplistic statements against bullying, and agreeing that we should “deal with it”, whatever that means, while still promoting the basic prejudice which underpins it.

Let’s remember that in Scotland we still send a large proportion of our young people to be educated by an organisation which describes lesbian gay and bisexual sexualities as “intrinsic moral disorder”, and which cannot even bring itself to recognise trans people’s true gender. Fortunately, not all teachers in religious schools (nor all religious people, it must be said) subscribe to those ideas, and I know that there are those who do their best to create a culture of equality. But in truth young people’s experience of education in this country is patchy at best, and many LGBTI people’s lives are done lasting harm.

The campaign for an education system which is inclusive, which promotes equality and which truly educates all young people about the rich diversity of our lives will no doubt be denounced by David Robertson and others. But we should remember when that happens that every step toward equality, from decriminalisation onward, has been opposed. Indeed, even that basic legal freedom is still being opposed, often under the cloak of religion, in many countries around the world. The reason why it’s comparatively safe and easy for me and many others to be out in Scotland today is that people were willing to act when it wasn’t safe and easy. I owe my legal and cultural rights to those who took bigger risks than I’ve had to take, and I’m not about to let anyone tell me that we should not continue the progress they began.

I sincerely hope that we can get to the point when this debate isn’t even necessary. We don’t have special “votes of conscience” to make the political expression of racism more socially acceptable. We don’t see most political parties select candidates who openly support sectarianism. We expect these odious views to result in disciplinary action. Yet when it comes to LGBTI people’s equality, such special pleading is the norm.

Like most countries, Scotland has made much progress toward equality over recent decades. But while our education system still fails so many of our young people, and while LGBTI people’s equality and even legitimacy is still the subject of this kind of debate, it’s clear that we have a long way yet to go.


 


21 thoughts on “What price for a Herald? The debate over compulsory LBGTI+ education in schools

  1. Is the TIE petition widely known? Was it the trigger for the Herald article?

    You seem to be seen as the figure head and the heat needs to be dispersed more widely, the load shared. Perhaps the Christian Institute might support and you may have links with other organisations, eg RZIM, Evangelical Alliance. It needs to be moved away from being personally against you. And it is a statement of the obvious this is the world of no holds barred politics where all the signatures in the Coalition4 Marriage were disregarde by being counted as one, not equality of vote like a referendum. From the tenor of the articles I would suggest that Harvie is not suitable for high public office in a democracy. He is still operating as pressure group spokesperson, not the voice of his electorate.

    I don’t think this is the forum for particular advice, but Harvie is having both the first and last word, which is not permitted in any tribunal and even more inequitable in the court of public opinion.

    Perhaps you could seek permission to publish the substance of articles like this from Trevin Wax from the Gospel Coalition, to show that there is more to this than Havie makes out and to depersonalise the issues, and that there is a debate to be had. You may be aware of other articles.

    https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/trevinwax/2016/05/03/7-questions-transgender-theories/

  2. I find it so disheartening that there is so little desire to understand our point of view as Christians. I come across this all the time. Couching the issues in the cover-alls “equality” and “prejudice” immediately demonises anyone who disagrees with the liberal standpoint. I find it refreshing, David, that you call them out on their intolerance and hate – not to mention dismissive attitude. Yes, we can disagree and yes, we *could* live peaceably together in that disagreement.

  3. I am not sure for how long I have had this comment box open, as I seek to find some helpful response. I just know that it has now been the best part of an hour! All that I have come up with is that we are living in the last days, and that we may expect more, not less, opprobrious opposition from “the world” – which most certainly includes, although is not confined to, Patrick Harvie and others who practice any form of sexual deviancy.

    I am reminded of the words of the Lord Jesus, as recorded by Luke: “Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26). The answer would appear to be in the words following: “But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28).

    Personally, I find it very difficult to be obedient to that command of the Saviour – but He doesn’t provide any option!

    Please be assured that there are many who uphold you, in prayer, and who appreciate your prophetic boldness. More than that, you are safe in Him Who alone has the final judgment.

    “… if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God’s approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on His lips. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten; but He trusted to Him Who judges justly.” (I Peter 2:20-23).

    Blessings, and shalom.

  4. Nothing in all my life (I’ve lived on planet earth for way more than half a century) has infuriated and made my blood boil more than the diatribe of verbal sewage in Harvies vile and libellous comments. His christophobic hate is shocking. He must be reported to the police. We Christians and other right-thinkers have a duty to protect our children. I cannot believe you are not sueing him.

  5. David. I am committing myself to pray for you, and your clear, courageous witness against the progressive lapse by many into immoral insanity, and the anti-intellectualist response by others. The Heralds’ only response was to implicitly admit there is neither a moral case to answer against their moral LGBT+ madness, or an intellectual one. The standard response by the media illiteratti, or unintelligencia is to simply put a case that by-passes the mind, and appeal to the emotions. This is the sensual climate we live in today. Regards in Jesus, our King. Andrew Shearer. Fellow citizen and heir of the Kingdom.

  6. As a teacher in a Catholic Secondary school, I am appalled that the government is planning to introduce this social engineering experiment into scottish schools, especially primary schools. And it is an experiment, whose outcome is unknown and won’t be known, like all these other government initiatives (Named Person scheme for example), for many years to come. In the meantime we are putting the moral education of our youngsters at major risk.
    Does Patrick Harvie really think that Cathoilc Schools preach hatred of people just because their lifestyle is not in accordance with Biblical teaching and Catholic Doctrine. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is an insult to everyone, Catholic and non-Catholic, who do a sterling job in Catholic schools ensuring that everyone, irrespective of their choices in life, are treated with equality, fairness and respect. I often remind my pupils that to condemn people for who or what they are is non-Christian and cannot be tolerated. This does not mean, however, that our Christian beliefs and values should be compromised, as they are based on the Word of Christ in the Gospels, and I for one am proud to stand up for these revealed truths.
    As for the troubled young people mentioned above, I have nothing but sympathy for them and believe that they should receive compassion and practical help to overcome their difficulties. The reasons that teenagers are troubled and self-harm etc, are many and varied and to try to use their sad situations as a lever for bringing in this insidious policy is shameful.
    One final thing on the equality and fairness argument; I wonder what are Mr Harvie’s views on the abortion of innocent unborn children? Would he be so quick to defend their rights not to be discriminated against?
    Anyway, David, I applaud you once again for your courage in the face of what only be described as the evil of our times. I will keep you in my prayers.

  7. Patrick Harvie does not understand tolerance himself. I shudder to think what this man would do to those who oppose his views if he was King of Scotland.

  8. Thanks for your courage in facing down the liberal establishment David. It is quite clear from the language being used by Patrick Harvey and people of his ilk that the aim is to drive the Christian worldview and those who represent it from the public square. Their use of words and phrases such as ‘extremist’, ‘bigot’, and ‘homophobic’ demonstrates a clear agenda aimed at demonising, smearing and discrediting anyone prepared to articulate a Biblical view on any issue. It is surely time for evangelical Christian leaders in Scotland at all levels, pastors, elders and deacons in every village, town and city to stand up in support of people like David Robertson, rather than wringing their hands and hiding silently behind the barricades.

  9. I’m sorry David – I did write a comment that was more reconcilliatory in nature previously which doesn’t seem to have got past your moderation. Among my friends that are LGBT+ it would be the kind of approach I would take but perhaps this context require a different approach and this may not be the right place for that.

    Much of what is called abuse or trolling and homophobia in the media or social media are comments that one camp (although feel uncomfortable about) are not discriminatory. It seems a minefield to negotiate with trigger happy responses. One thing for sure is you can’t negotiate with a brick wall.

    My thoughts go to a video I have seen of Milo Yiannopoulos “The gay lobby started a big lie in the 1980. Now the religious right started with saying that homosexuality was a sinful lifestyle choice.It was an immoral way to behave… they then came up with this gay gene – that would make everyone else massive bigots, so lets go with that. So they invented “born this way”.. but it’s a lie, it’s not true. In my case it’s mostly nature… if we could choose we would have children that are heterosexual… I do want to try the “pray the gay away” therapy.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgoyQevEhhQ

    Now, being gay himself, it would be difficult to accuse him of homophobia. Therefore it may be that these kind of ideas publicly are best communicated by someone who is LGBT.

    I’m not sure what the answers are and I don’t know for sure to what degree being gay is about nature or nurture but surely it is knowingly inflammatory to preach to a gay lobbyist that homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle choice (as you have said about so called street preachers in Perth) or for anyone who is LGBT+ or supporters to say born this way and calling anyone a bigot who doesn’t think that.

    And maybe anyone in a high profile who can turn down the heat on this might have a greater influence. Just a suggestion.

  10. Anyone who is any doubt that we are in the midst of a cultural war on Christianity need only look at today’s Glasgow Herald and Ms Craven’s hatchet piece in the opinion section. The aim is to drive Christianity from the public square.

    Scripture bids us speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) and I commend you, David, for doing that. I only hope others will follow your lead.

    I take some comfort from the fact that he is taking a swipe at Rome as well as at you – it means we must be doing something right. Catholic teaching is summarised in a letter (by an old fellow by the name of Ratzinger) to bishops on the pastoral care of homosexual persons. It is an articulate summary of compassionate, Christian teaching (and for the benefit of a wary evangelical readership) “based, not on isolated phrases for facile theological argument, but on the solid foundation of a constant Biblical testimony.” If there is any difference in its content and the content of your article, I can’t find it.

    Speaking the truth in love. If only the old boy’s successor (and others) could write/think with the same clarity.

      1. A group of young American Baptists on a trip to Scotland (they’ve been performing music and dance routines in Princes St) are compared to ISIS and the Nazis because of their views on same sex “marriage”, the sexual mores of the age and abortion. Anti-social behaviour that has no place in modern Scotland apparently. Must be rooted out. Remind me who are the intolerant ones?

  11. David, we pray for you lots and you need it! Thank you for standing firm in the faith and speaking out with love, balance and compassion. It is a sad state of affairs when an elected politician treats disagreement as homophobia, most balanced observers see that as simply an attempt at bullying people into their ways or else. Is this not akin to the bullying that happens in playgrounds that all of us would not wish to see. Scotland is supposed to be progressive and tolerant. It is not. We need more Bible believing Christians to speak out against the anti-Christian stance that is fairly prevalent in certain sectors in our society.

  12. This paper is now relegated to bog roll. David Robertson has a valid point. Social engineering which seems to be the accepted norm unless it goes against LGTB. Harvey speaks out both sides of his mouth and is unfair, unbalanced and ridiculously dictatorial.

  13. Good response David. Definitely not foamy-mouthed. That prize goes to someone else!

    Has there ever been an instance where anyone taking Patrick Harvie’s line, and apparently concerned about misogyny, has explained how they reconcile that with being dead against the existence of something, the whole purpose of which is to focus on the reciprocal responsibility and commitment between men and women (and towards their offspring should there be any)? Why is that a problem for non-heterosexuals? Is it the inherent achievement of understanding between the sexes?

    The LGBT spirit seems to feed and feed off conflict between men and women. I learned recently that there were originally more stripes in the rainbow flag. Turquoise was replaced with blue; pink and indigo were given the heave. Pink stood for sexuality and indigo stood for harmony. Interesting.

  14. Patrick Harvie says, ‘In fact, in twenty-five years of campaigning and working on these issues, I have never yet heard a coherent moral argument as to why a same-sex relationship should be treated as second class, inferior, or less morally good.’ This is somewhat less shocking when we consider what is required for Mr. Harvie to recognise an argument as ‘moral.’ Given that the major dimension of his view of morality is equality, ‘2nd class’, ‘inferior,’ or ‘less morally good treatment’ would be immoral judgements and there cannot be a moral argument for what is by definition immoral. No wonder he has not heard an argument which in his book cannot exist! Besides, I’m pretty sure that most arguments available to him in the last twenty-five years have not pressed for 2nd class classification of homosexual relationships but rather just declared that they are sinful.

    Similarly, Patrick Harvie says that it is a risk for him to stand up for ‘progress’ – ‘I owe my legal and cultural rights to those who took bigger risks than I’ve had to take, and I’m not about to let anyone tell me that we should not continue the progress they began.’ – but people who live on the edge need to be very careful about the direction of any progression. It is perhaps revealing that he talks about ‘young people’ when he means children and it is no doubt alarmist to say that our children will be put at greater risk if voices of principled non-approval are stifled. Mr. Harvie might forget that the vast majority of his legal and cultural rights were won for him by risk-takers who did not have his additional LGBTI agendas in mind but we should remember it for him and go on raising the alarm.

    Some warnings bear repetition: [Proverbs 14:12] ‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death’. [Proverbs 16:25] ‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.’

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