Christian Union’s ‘ex-gay’ course banned

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Edinburgh University’s Christian Union is considering legal action against the academic institution after being banned from teaching a course which included literature on “curing” homosexuality.

The Union’s PURE course on abstinence was heavily criticised after recommending books on “ex-gay” groups, leading Edinburgh University to ban its teaching, describing it as inappropriate.

But the university is now being accused of “blind and unthinking political correctness.”

Laura Stirrat, vice-president of Edinburgh University’s Christian Union, accused the university of censoring free speech.

Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, told The Scotsman: “This is nothing more than blind and unthinking political correctness.”

However, the university is standing firm, stating that he course contradicts “equality and diversity values.”

Earlier this year, students at the university began protesting the PURE course after it was discovered to recommend homophobic literature, such as What Some of You Were by Christopher Keane, which details the stories of “ex-gays” who have been “cured” of their homosexuality by the power of Christianity, and how “gay relationships are characterised more by promiscuity than by fidelity.”

Edinburgh students quickly began the protest online at the student social-networking website Facebook. The “Stop PURE” group page states:

a Group aimed at gathering all those who are clear minded enough to see that the Christian Union’s PURE course, aimed at “curing” homosexuality, is a derogatory and degrading course, with literature that is insulting and bigoted towards homosexuals and anyone else who doesn’t take the bible literally.”

Group creator Lucy Chambers told the Guardian: “We want to use the group to help make students aware of the issues raised by the presence of this course on our campuses and to encourage them to make a stand. Facebook is a great means to contact lots of students up and down the country in the space of a few minutes.

“We have already set in motion a process whereby our students’ association is investigating the course and it is our hope that we will be able to use the group, or perhaps set up a new one, to affect change nationwide.”

The Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) launched PURE earlier this year. It is believed to be the first of its kind in Britain and follows the controversial American programme, the Silver Ring Thing, where teenagers wear a silver ring to show they intend to remain virgins until they are married.