An anti-gay Christian group has been accused of the “ultimate hypocrisy” after celebrating recent reports that the Gay Police Association (GPA) may face investigation over an advert which attributed homophobic attacks to religious statements.
Scotland Yard is 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.”
Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, who are rumoured to have made the complaint, said: “It is obvious the Indy advertisement is so over the top as to be completely indefensible. The only explanation is that the Gay Police Association has collectively lost what remained of their sanity. In that case, I believe Christian Voice can take much of the credit. No other Christian organisation has done so much that has got under their skin.
“Although the Gay Police Association cannot abide the Christian Police Association, it is the actions of Christian Voice which appear to have tipped them into the clutches of the men in white coats.
“There has been a massive turn-around in just a quarter of a century. Twenty-five years ago, one might have allied evangelical Christians with the Establishment, while homosexuals were on the fringe, protesting. Now it is completely the other way round. Homosexuals are in the Establishment, evangelical Christians are the protestors, and God is calling us to be in truth what the Prayer Book describes as ‘Christ’s church militant here on earth.”
The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association called their actions “hypocritical,” a spokesman told PinkNews.co.uk: “A few weeks ago Christians were complaining about Iqbal Sacranie (former head of the Muslim Council of Britain) and Lynette Burrows (author) being questioned by the police for making anti-gay remarks. They claimed at the time that it infringed their freedom of speech. We agreed with them.
“But now they are celebrating because gays are being investigated over supposed ‘Christianophobic’ allegations. It seems the ultimate in hypocrisy, but this is the way it seems to be going. Christians must have the right to defame and insult gays, but we mustn’t answer back or its blasphemy and persecution. It heralds a new front on the war that religion has declared against gay people.”
Reverend Martin Reynolds of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement told PinkNews.co.uk: “Of course Christian Voice are going to celebrate this , the basic premise of the GPA advert is true, unfortunately some Christians and other religious groups have and do advocate harm to gay people,.
“Religious fundamentalists represent a real threat to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, they cannot be ignored.”
The controversial advert which appeared in The Independent supplement
Gay campaigners last week backed the GPA claiming the information is based on facts, Ben Summerskill chief executive of gay charity Stonewall said: “The advert is based on robust evidence, we currently know of a number of cases where the motivation is clearly based on someone’s beliefs from the Bible.
“I would rather Scotland Yard spent more time investigating homophobic incidents, The GPA wouldn’t be saying these things if they weren’t valid.”
Peter Tatchell of gay rights group Outrage said: “The advert was simply reporting the facts, it cannot be a crime to expose the truth about hate motivated attacks on gay people.
The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association’s secretary George Broadhead wrote a letter to the GPA backing their stance, he said: “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.
“The Government’s granting of exemptions from equality legislation to allow religious groups to go on discriminating against gay people is an example of this. Under the new Goods and Services Discrimination Regulations which come into effect in October, it will be illegal to discriminate against gay people in the provision of goods and services from that date, but religious groups are pressing for exemptions that would allow them, uniquely, to continue to do so. How religious people can claim that their faith is not homophobic is incomprehensible.”
The letter urges the GPA to “stick to their guns” and not back down on its claims under pressure from religionists.
A GPA spokesperson told The BBC they are unable to comment until the investigation is completed.
It is illegal to incite religious hatred under the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, however despite campaigning, incitement to homophobic attacks is not a crime.