In June, an Anglican vicar came under fire for expressing concerns about proposed changes to Relationships and Sex Education (RSE).
Writing in his parish magazine, Rev. Peter Hughes commented on sex education in general, suggesting that it can encourage experimentation and have the unintended consequence of grooming children and making them vulnerable to abuse.
RSE will change from 2020. The ‘relationships’ element will become compulsory and parents will be unable to withdraw their children from lessons where LGBT lifestyles are endorsed.
In the article, Parents; Take back control!, Rev. Hughes called upon Christian parents to ‘wake up’ to the dangers of LGBT indoctrination and insist on their right to withdraw their children from relationships education.
He also decried the teaching of gender as a mere ‘social construct’ which can be changed, rather than a biological fact. And he suggested that the distress caused by such teaching is ‘state-sponsored abuse’.
Rev. Hughes is rector of St Alban’s, Wickersley, near Rotherham. He was also a governor of a local Church of England primary school. He maintains good relations with the school but recently felt compelled to resign as governor following the furore surrounding his comments.
From the outset, however, he tempered his concerns with a call for compassion and charity: ‘Christians should love those who self-identify as LGBTI along with all their neighbours’.
Sheffield Academies Trust and the Diocese of Sheffield formally distanced themselves from Rev. Hughes’ comments. An investigation by the Trust began but was discontinued following Rev. Hughes’ resignation as school governor.
Commenting on the affair, Rev. Hughes remarked, ‘I have learned from the media storm surrounding my article that proponents of LGBT ideology vehemently oppose any criticism. However, despite the difficulty this has caused, I feel God’s Word on this matter is clear and that he has upheld me throughout. I have been greatly encouraged by the support I have received from Christians and others’.