The Catholic Church in England is fighting against political correctness. The Catholic Education Service contacted almost 400 secondary schools in England asking them to circulate a recent letter, written by the Archbishops of Westminster and Southwark, that defended the traditional definition of marriage. A petition drafted by the Coalition for Marriage opposing the English government’s backing of homosexual marriage has been signed by roughly 470,000 people, and the Catholic Education Service asked the schools to promote the petition.
Secular champions were predictably outraged. Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: “This is a clear breach of the authority and privilege that the Catholic Education Service has been given in schools.” And Richy Thompson of the British Humanist Association, said: “The Coalition For Marriage petition is very deliberately a political document and for this reason we question whether the CES has broken the law.”
Maeve McCormack, policy manger for the Catholic Education Service, defended the Service’s actions: “It was an explanation of marriage and a positive affirmation of marriage, celebrating the huge value that it brings to society – we are proud of the fact that these kinds of values are taught in our schools.”
The Church is not alone in its pursuit of traditional values. Last month, after the Equalities Minister of Great Britain, Lynne Featherstone, launched a national consultation on how same-sex marriage might be introduced, Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet of Mill Hill United Synagogue in north London, who advises Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on family issues, accused the government’s coalition of launching an assault on religious values.