Northern Ireland: Mother reports Girls Brigade to police for ‘gay sin’ lesson

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A mother has complained to the police after her daughter was asked to rank homosexuality in a list of sins.

Christian youth organisation The Girls’ Brigade of Northern Ireland asked children to put a list of “sins” in order of gravity, including homosexuality, murder, adultery and stealing. At the end of the exercise, the participants were told that all sins are equal in the eyes of God.

The mother of girls who were present said: “When I collected my daughters they were very upset that homosexuality was firstly classed as a sin and secondly that it was equated with murder.

“Someone’s sexuality is certainly not regarded as a sin in our family as they have an uncle who is not only gay, but openly lives with his partner whom they love dearly.”

She reported the organisation to the police, saying she believed it was “”tantamount to incitement to hatred”.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, Chief Inspector Kyle Gordon said: “Police received a report from a member of the public on March 30. It was the subject of a detailed examination by police in accordance with our policy and procedures concerning hate incidents. Legal advice was also sought. It was concluded that no further action could be taken by police in relation to this report.”

Girls’ Brigade deny that the incident was homophobic or intended as a a judgement on whether it is wrong to be gay. However they conceded that the lesson could have been done differently.

A spokeswoman said: “The objective of the learning activity that the parent complained about was to stimulate discussion and to help girls to consider the Christian teaching that there is no ‘hierarchy of sins’ and that a loving God can forgive all sin.

“This activity was not intended to be about homosexuality but designed to demonstrate the love of God. On reflection, given the way it has been misinterpreted, we have concluded that the learning could have been achieved more effectively in a different way.”

The mother said: “I want to make parents aware that this Christian organisation is teaching children as young as 11 this type of thing.

“If I had known that this type of stuff was going to form part of their lessons I would never have sent my daughters.”