A VICAR sparked outrage by describing classes teaching children about LGBT relationships as “state-sponsored child abuse”.
Rev Peter Hughes — who is also a school governor — said the lessons could “open the door to sexual predators”.
He described the teaching of same-sex relationships and transgender issues as “anti-Christian and harmful” and said pupils were being “indoctrinated in culturally Marxist LGBTI ideology”.
The rector made his comments, which he defended this week, in the latest edition of the Wickersley St Alban’s parish magazine under the headline “Parents: Take Back Control”.
Council leader and Wickersley ward member Cllr Chris Read condemned the claims as “homophobic” and “nonsense”, while the Diocese of Sheffield distanced itself from his position.
Department for Education guidance about relationship lessons, which will be compulsory from next year, says content on LGBT relationships should be integral but “sensitive, age-appropriate and delivered with reference to the law”.
Mr Hughes, who is an ex officio governor at Wickersley St Alban’s C of E Primary, wrote: “This sexual indoctrination of
young children prepares them for early sexual experimentation, normalises it and, in so doing, opens the door for sexual predators.
“Via the Trojan horse of teaching tolerance and opposing bullying, the extent of which they greatly exaggerate, the LGBTI activists are imposing a sexual philosophy which at its heart is both anti-Christian and harmful.”
He called on parents to “take back control” and “follow the example” of Muslims who had recently objected to Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), most notably by protesting outside a school in Birmingham.
Ex officio governors are normally appointed by the church diocese’s education board to promote its ethos and interests.
In a joint statement, Andrew Walton, chief executive of Diocese of Sheffield Academies Trust, and Alison Adair, executive headteacher of St Alban’s Primary, said: “Rev Hughes is entitled to his views, but neither St Alban’s Primary nor the Diocese of Sheffield Academies Trust, to which it belongs, agrees with them.
“We are fully behind the new DfE proposals, but as with any changes to our children’s education, we will inform and work with parents before the full implementation in 2020.”
The diocese’s director of education, the Rev Huw Thomas, added: “These views are not shared by the Diocese of Sheffield and the language used is regrettable.
“As a diocese, we welcome the Government’s new RSE guidance and support its aims to promote a healthy and respectful approach to relationships. This includes respect for the differing views in faith communities.
“It also recognises the right for parents to exercise discretion in withdrawing their children from sex education.
“Personally, I feel the new guidance is the clearest we have ever had and I wish it had been available when I was teaching. “You stand a better chance of talking through differing viewpoints with children and young people that are educated in the subject.
“The good quality RSE, outlined in the Government guidance, enables young people to be wise and protect their own choices.”
The National Secular Society, which campaigns for the separation of religion and state, described Mr Hughes’ views as entirely inappropriate.
Its education and schools officer, Alastair Lichten, said: “Smearing the transmission of knowledge of LGBT people as child abuse sends a vicious message to LGBT pupils, parents and local people.
“Comprehensive, age-appropriate and equality-based RSE enjoys overwhelming support across the political and religious spectrum.
“The loud minority and their ludicrous claims that RSE is an anti-religious conspiracy must be confronted.
“This also shows how inappropriate it is to have religious representatives given automatic places as school governors.”
Cllr Read said Mr Hughes’ article was “deeply alarming” and would be more at home in the darker corners of
“It is misleading in its interpretation of the law, confuses gender and sexual orientation and relies on the classic homophobic slur that gay and lesbian people are any more likely to be connected to child abuse than anyone else,” he added.
“Ironically, you can only conclude that the fact that such blinkered views could be promoted by anyone in a position of responsibility today only means that educating children safely and responsibly with age-appropriate information is even more important now.”
Mr Hughes told the Advertiser he wrote the article “with the wellbeing of all children in mind” but declined to comment further.