The Gay Humanist

Spring 1987

Positive Images

Dr James Hemming, who is featured in our vice-president series in this issue, declared homosexuality to be “morally acceptable as a way of life” in a BBC2 Day to Day programme which dealt with promoting “positive images” in schools.

A well-known figure in the humanist movement (he is a former president of the BHA), Dr Hemming was introduced by the programme’s presenter, Robert Kilroy-Silk, as an educational psychologist. Giving his views on sex education, he said:

“What is necessary for children is that they should have a complete, profound understanding of the full range of human sexuality, without any special bias being put on here and there, or trying to sell one particular line or another. Let them know honestly. If we don’t tell them what the facts are through education, they will pick up distorted and garbled views from the mass media and their friends.

“That is the choice: whether we give children the information they need to grow up as mature citizens, or whether we deliberately seem to be withholding part of it because it’s ‘wicked’.

Today we don’t aim to tell children, we help them to discover what the truth is with our guidance. And in the sexual area particularly, what we want to develop is an open, mutually trusting situation in which children will ask their own questions, and the teacher help them to clarify their ideas by the answers that he or she gives.”

When asked by Kilroy-Silk: “Do we tell them homosexuality is okay?”, Dr Hemming replied: “Yes, as a way of life. Morally acceptable as a way of life”, a statement which drew warm applause from the lesbians and gays present and shouts of “no” from the religious contingent who had loudly protested earlier in the programme at such teaching of “positive images” in schools.

As reported in our previous issue, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Habgood, has led the Christian crusade against this sort of teaching and has given a great boost to Christian pressure groups like Christian Action, Research and Education (CARE).

CARE is all set to take advantage of the 1986 Education Act which from September this year gives governors in schools significant new powers, especially with regard to sex education. It is exhorting its supporters to “please prayerfully consider becoming a school governor now” to make sure that “due regard for moral considerations and the value of family life is taught”.

Its supporters are also asked to pray that the Local Government Act 1986 (Amendment) Bill which seeks to prevent local authorities from promoting homosexuality “as an acceptable family relationship” will be successful at the committee stage in the Lords, and that the Government will decide to support it and thereby enable it to become law.

Meanwhile GHG member Peter French, a student at the Middlesex Poly, reports that the Poly’s Christian Union threw up its collective hands in horror when it learnt that the Students’ Union were going to discuss a motion supporting the “positive images” campaign, fearing that if the motion were passed, “a Positive Images guest speaker will have permission to speak at the NUS Conference”.

“Homosexuality is a sin”, wrote the Christian Union in the Poly’s SU newspaper, “for it goes against God’s law as shown in Genesis. God shows marriage and true companionship to be only in the relationship of the opposite sexes. Adam was given an Eve, not another Adam to be his companion. It is for these reasons that we count homosexuality as a sin, and that is why we must oppose this motion.”

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Created : Sunday, 2003-03-09 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
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