School apologises over Bible and homosexuality worksheet

BibleGay rights groups have criticised Hunterhouse College in Belfast over the phrasing of questions about homosexuality in a GCSE practice paper.

A Belfast school has apologised after complaints were made about a worksheet on religious views on homosexuality.

Hunterhouse College in Belfast has withdrawn the worksheet after the father of one student complained.

The three questions appeared in a Religious Studies worksheet.

The school said they have an ethos of inclusivity and the worksheet was part of a wider discussion on sexuality on both sides of the debate including extreme opinions.

The questions were in relation to 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and were set by teaching staff.

They included:

  • What do these verses tell us about homosexuals?
  • Who else is included with homosexuals?
  • What hope is there for all these people?
Bible questionThe BBC has seen a copy of the test which includes the bible passage and questions about homosexuality.

Andrew Gibson, the headmaster of Hunterhouse College, said that the worksheet had been withdrawn and that the school has approached the gay rights charity Rainbow Project NI for advice.

“This is in the introduction to Christian ethics centred around personal and family issues. As part of this, pupils are encouraged to consider a variety of attitudes to homosexuality,” he said.

“The questions were set in house but they were in the context of the CCEA specifications. We have a very strong pastoral care system at the school and deal with issues around sexuality with great sensitivity.”

Mr Gibson added that the school “got it wrong” by allowing the worksheet to be sent home individually and out of context from the rest of the class.

Gavin Boyd of the Rainbow Project said that the school was not to blame as this happens in most schools and comes from a lack of clarity in the syllabus.

“If any LGB child was sitting in that class and asked to list a bunch of people to associate with themselves including drunks and all these licentious people, it’s horrible,” he said.

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1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 (as taken from the worksheet)

Surely you know that the wicked will not possess God’s Kingdom.

Do not fool yourselves; people who are immoral or who worship idols or are adulterers or homosexual perverts or who steal or are greedy or are drunkards or who slander others or are thieves – none of these will possess God’s Kingdom.

Some of you were like that. But you have been purified from sin; you have been dedicated to God; you have been put right with God by the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

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“It was ill prepared and ill thought out as it actually could have amounted to an actionable claim of discrimination against the pupil,

“However, I’m confident no malice was intended and I’m impressed that the school have taken steps to quickly rectify the situation.”

The parent who made the complaint has also praised the school’s response to the issue and the steps it has taken since the incident.

Peter Lynas from the Evangelical Alliance said that while the “wording of the question could have been better” it is important to remember that most of the world’s main religions are against homosexuality.

“It is important Christian values are taught in school and schools can sometimes feel pushed into a corner over these issues,” he said.

In a statement, the exam board CCEA said: “We do not produce guidelines for schools on question setting.”

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