Bigot bishop’s comments raised in parliament

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The Bishop of Motherwell’s recent outburst about gay people and the Holocaust could be debated in the Scottish Parliament.

Patrick Harvie, the Green party MSP for Glasgow Region, was so incensed by the bishop’s comments that he has tabled a motion condemning his comments.

Bishop Joseph Devine, speaking at an event on Tuesday, accused the gay community of “aligning itself with minority groups.

“It is ever present at the service each year for the Holocaust memorial, as if to create for themselves the image of a group of people under persecution.”

The Roman Catholic church leader, who has been Bishop of Motherwell since 1983, also claimed that the “gay movement” is part of a “huge and well orchestrated conspiracy” to shape public policy.

Bishop Devine, who is a persistent opponent of equality, also gave some advice to the parents of gay children:

“This must be a nightmare moment for any parent. I would not tolerate that kind of behaviour. I would not condemn but I would not tolerate it.”

Mr Harvie, who is bisexual, told

“We are well used to hearing hyperbole and moral panic from Bishop Devine and he always seems to overstep the mark.

“Not only do his comments mark a revisionism about what happened to gay people in Nazi Germany but he has also called on parents not to tolerate their gay children.

“This is very damaging to children who should be fully supported.”

Mr Harvie’s motion is unlikely to be selected for debate but MSPs can sign it to show support.

It reads:

“That the Parliament notes with weary dismay the most recent remarks made by Bishop Joseph Devine which suggest that LGBT communities should not be present at Holocaust Memorial events;

“Recognises in particular that many thousands of gay men were arrested, imprisoned and killed by the Nazi regime and that many of these were later rounded up and re-imprisoned by the allies, being seen at the time as ‘legitimate’ targets;

“Welcomes the significant progress which has since been made across Europe toward recognising the equal dignity and worth of all people regardless of sexual orientation or transgender identity;

“Is concerned at further remarks by the Bishop which appear to encourage parents not to tolerate their gay, lesbian or bisexual children;

“Believes that such remarks are homophobic and deeply harmful to society and to young LGBT people who are contemplating coming out to their families, and commits itself to continuing to work toward a society in which prejudice and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and transgender identity are a thing of the past.”

Scotland’s lawmakers are considering new laws, proposed by Mr Harvie, making violence towards gay and disabled groups be treated as seriously as violence incited on religious or ethnic grounds.