April 16, 2011

Icon‘Homophobic’ charity gets £89,000 to support troubled teens

The Catholic Children’s Society have been awarded an £89,000 to “help and support [school] students” in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. The charity is known for its anti-gay views.

Conservative leaders of the Borough Council insist that the charity is well-equipped to provide counselling and support for teenagers. “I have no concerns that they will not carry out an excellent job,” said Councillor Christine Percival, the cabinet member for education, youth and children’s services.

A number of secular charities also applied for the contract. Percival claimed that the Catholic charity’s application was “way better than anyone else’s”

The Catholic Children’s Society requires counsellors to “uphold the Catholic ethos”. In 2007 the organisation withdrew adoption services nationally in response to new regulations outlawing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

“This decision beggars belief,” said Liberal Democrat council leader Stephen Knight. “Counselling services for young people have to address issues such as contraception, unwanted pregnancy and homophobic bullying and the appointment of a religious group to provide these services on behalf of the Council is totally inappropriate.”

“What on earth was the council thinking about in appointing such a partisan and dogmatic organisation to provide counselling and support services?” asked Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society. “The Catholic Children’s Society went so far as to dump its adoption service because of the Government’s insistence that they consider gay couples as adopters. So what kind of reception would a gay child get if it came to one of their counsellors for advice?”

This is the second major public sector contract to be awarded to an anti-gay Christian group in the last week, after the Salvation Army won a £6 million contract to run services for victims of sex trafficking.

10 Responses to ‘Homophobic’ charity gets £89,000 to support troubled teens

  1. Rob Westwood-Payne says:

    More lazy journalism, it appears. That’s being charitable. What evidence is there that The Salvation Army is anti-gay? As a local leader, I have never heard anyone preach an anti-gay sermon. I have heard plenty on reaching out to all regardless of religion, race, gender and even sexual orientation. The Salvation Army in the UK is second only to the Government in the size and number of social services it provides on a daily basis – to all. A basic checking of the facts ought to be a prerequisite of good journalism.

  2. Joe says:

    Rob, the Salvation Army does not allow homosexuals to be ordained as ministers as “their values are [not] consistent with the church’s philosophy” (see http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=121498&page=3). That sounds quite like discrimination from where I’m sitting.

  3. Hannah Winter says:

    Some ‘interesting’ quotes taken from ‘Battle Orders’ – the course book for those wanting to be enrolled as a ‘soldier’ of the SA:

    “There is no place in the Christian’s life for the kind of hatred and prejudice against homosexuals…” (pg 54)

    BUT also…

    “Homosexual practices are condemned because they are unnatural…they are linked with evils which disrupt the harmony and well-being of society… those who indulge in such practices cannot be part of the Kingdom of God.” (pg 54)

    “The promise of liberation in Christ must be held out. MEN AND WOMEN CAN BE DELIVERED FROM HOMOSEXUAL PRACTICES EVEN IF THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION REMAINS UNCHANGED” (pg 55. I added the caps).

    The SA is “accepting” of anyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation etc UNTIL you want to wear their uniform and then you see just how accepting they really are… It may or not be preached in sermons but the anti-gay undercurrent is undoubtedly there.

  4. Rob Westwood-Payne says:

    What we believe about how our ministers and soldiers behave does not mean that the way we provide social services (which I thought was the point of the article) is anti-gay. We do not believe that our ministers and soldiers should drink alcohol, but that does not stop us from providing excellent service to alcoholics without discriminating against them.

  5. Janine says:

    Rob, If you see homosexuality as equivalent to alcoholism, then I think you have revealed wtih your own words your condemnatory attitude.

    Alcoholism is a sickness which can kill. If an alcoholic asks for support, it is in order to recover from alcoholism by stopping drinking. Gay people do NOT need to recover from homosexuality – it is not an illness and they do not require support in giving it up!

  6. I agree with Janine and I don’t believe anyone of the catholic church should be counseling anyone but other catholics.

  7. Sandra Payne says:

    The 6 million given to the SA is to run services for victims of sex trafficking which surely all of us including gay people agree should be stopped. So what’s the fuss about!!!

  8. Rob Westwood-Payne says:

    @Janine. Sorry if that’s how it reads but if you re-read I don’t think you’ll find I suggested alcoholism was somehow “equivalent”. I was talking about providing all sorts of services to alcoholics – housing, protective care (e.g. victims of abuse), meals and many others, not just those which seek to “cure” alcoholism. All our services are provided for the benefit of all without judgement.

  9. J McK says:

    The issue at hand is the Catholic church getting a stack of dough to provide counselling services to schoolkids in Richmond on Thames. Richmond already has a fantastic youth counselling centre: Off The Record at the bottom of Church Street, pretty much behind the civic centre. Give them the money to expand into schools instead. They’re secular, which will make it far easier for them to meet their obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

  10. John Smythe says:

    The point in both of these cases is that the funding and contracts were withdrawn from inclusive secular charities which did not discriminate in any way and given to faith based groups which do.

    @j mck
    It is from ‘off the record’ that the contract has been taken and given to the CCS.

    More info below:
    According to local councillor Stephen Knight, leader of the Council’s Liberal Democrat group, Richmond Council has withdrawn funding from ‘Off The Record’ a local, inclusive secular charity that had been providing the counselling service for the past 20 years and have awarded the contract to the Catholic Children’s Society. Mr Knight has questioned the ability of the Catholic Children’s Society to provide services in an appropriate way, stating: ‘Counseling services for young people have to address issues such as contraception, unwanted pregnancy and homophobic bullying and the appointment of a religious group to provide these services on behalf of the Council is totally inappropriate.  Most young people facing these issues simply won’t want to seek help from counselors required by their employer to “uphold the Catholic ethos’.

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