“In the last 12 months, the GPA has recorded a 74% increase in homophobic incidents, where the sole or primary motivating factor was the religious belief of the perpetrator.”
That seems like a fairly straightforward piece of information based on based on some fairly straightforward data. The controversy, one could be forgiven for imagining, would be around the the fact that religious faith is often a prime motivator for acts of violence.
But this hasn’t been the case. Instead, the controversy has been that the Gay Police Association (GPA) – which published this information – are being investigated after being accused of committing ‘a faith crime’.
Scotland Yard was reported to be considering an investigation into the group after it placed an advertisement in The Independent’s diversity supplement which coincided with the EuroPride rally, displaying a pool of blood next to a Bible.
The advert said: “In the last 12 months, the GPA has recorded a 74% increase in homophobic incidents, where the sole or primary motivating factor was the religious belief of the perpetrator.”
Scotland Yard is considering whether the ad “constitutes a faith crime,” after a member of the public launched a complaint.
Complaints are believed to have come from ant-gay Christian groups, possibly Christian Voice, who last week released a statement celebrating the fact that the GPA was to be investigated.
The GPA said in a statement:
“The intention of the advertisement was to cause public debate about an issue that has remained taboo for centuries. An issue that is now having a serious and detrimental effect on the lives of hundreds of law-abiding gay men and women each year and which, on the basis of our records, is growing at such an alarming rate that it could soon become a serious social problem.
“Whilst we accept that such behaviour is not condoned by all sections of all faith groups, neither is it as vehemently denounced as it could and should be. Suspicion exists that there is a lingering distaste for the concept of ‘homosexuality’, indelibly set in the minds of some religious followers. The British value system naturally perpetuates this position as it is steeped in centuries of religious influence.”
So, what’s the deal? Religious groups have already successfully lobied the government to grant them exemptions from compliance with equality legislation. The new single equalities unit now includes religious groups – the only groups in fact who don’t want to comply with the very equalities the unit is supposed to promote – under the watch of Ruth Kelly, an openly homophobic card-carrying member of Opus Dei.
It seems that not only are religious groups allowed to continue fulminating against lesbians and gays, but (with the so-called ‘religious-hatred’ law) are also given wide latitude to molest gay people when they complain about religiously-inspired homophobia.
George Broadhead, of the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association, hits the nail on the head when he says: “It is outrageous that Christians should suggest that complaints about their homophobia amount to an attack on their ‘religious freedom’. It increasingly appears that ‘religious freedom’ amounts to a freedom to attack and insult gay people.”
When those whose power and influence derives from a fiction are challenged, it is little wonder that they want to criminalise fact.