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The Cardinal and Clause 28.

Here in largely agnostic but fundamentally decent Britain, Scottish Cardinal Thomas Winning is a hero. The old-fashioned kind, the kind who tells the truth, however unpopular, without concern for the consequences.

In mid-January, as Tory and Labour politicians were considering the repeal of a law that prohibits the promotion of gay lifestyles in schools, the cardinal entered the fray by denouncing homosexuality as "perverted."

In so doing, Cardinal Winning put himself at the forefront of opposition to scrap Clause 28, a controversial section of the Local Government Act.

Introduced by Margaret Thatcher's Tory government in 1988, Clause 28 was the law that squelched a series of Labour Council initiatives to use public money to promote a political agenda for gay liberation. The council also wanted to support a campaign, targeted at schools, that homosexuality was not simply a sexual tendency practised by a minority of individuals but something more--a new form of family life. As such, it would be seen equal to marriage as a suitable lifestyle for bringing up children and similarly widespread.

Enter Cardinal Winning who condemned as a 'witchhunt' moves by Scottish politicians and gay activists to stop Scottish businessman Brian Souter's [pound]500,000 campaign against repealing Clause 28.

"It pains me to use the word 'perverted' when discussing the homosexual act but that is what it is," the Cardinal said. "Gay rights groups always claim it is impossible to promote homosexuality. That is rubbish. It is promoted every day by promoting the lifestyles of gay people."

In a powerful statement expressing his revulsion at the idea of children being subjected to "explicit and perverted material", the Cardinal launched his foursquare defence of Clause 28.

"When do children decide to be gay? This material will encourage the lifestyle," he stated. "What pains me about this whole situation is that the silent majority is so silent and that the silence is deafening. I wish to God they would speak up. I will not stand for this behaviour."

Souter's decision to campaign against repeal along with the Cardinal's intervention on his behalf has transformed what seemed a political formality in Scotland into a major battle.

What's more, the sudden outcry in Scotland against repealing the clause is now being used to encourage the House of Lords to rebel against Tony Blair's government in upcoming debates on the issue.

"I am encouraged by what is happening in Scotland and I hope that the strong support for Cardinal Winning and Brian Souter will help mobilise opinion in England," said Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute. "People need to make it clear where they stand to make sure repeal does not simply slip through."

Tory leader William Hague agrees.

In an editorial he wrote for the Daily Mail on the heels of Cardinal Winning's statement, Hague not only reaffirmed his own support for retaining the clause but also accused the Blair government of intolerance.

"We should be tolerant to each other," Hague wrote. "Yet true tolerance also involves a minority accepting and understanding the experiences and beliefs of the majority. It is intolerant to take taxpayers' money and spend it on political causes of which the majority disapprove. It is intolerant to teach children lessons about family relationships which people may deeply disapprove of for moral or religious reasons...Mr. Blair is showing nothing but contempt for parents."

Ironically, the very same week, millionaire businessmen Barrie Drewitt and Tony Barlow made legal history in Britain when the Blair government allowed the gay couple to keep their twin babies Aspen and Saffron, who had been born to a surrogate mother in California.

That's tolerance for you...Labour style.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, "perversion" means "preference for another form of sexual activity to normal intercourse."

Cardinal Winning was merely stating a fact. Why is his statement so encouraging?

Because it comes from someone in authority. As such, it is a full and public demonstration of leadership.

In today's culture of political correctness in which only minorities have rights and majorities are always assumed to be wrong, leaders have become followers. They have become slaves to spin and skewed polls, allowing themselves to be bullied by a tyranny of lies and twisted values.

As a result, we are easily shocked when someone in authority says something blatantly true that is seen to exclude some minority or other. So it was when Cardinal Winning made what once would have been an uncontroversial remark--and to many people still is--that homosexuality is not something that should be promoted.

Sadly, the contempt for the rights of majorities that is currently disfiguring our democracies is manifesting itself daily. Even sadder, few with the moral clout of Cardinal Winning have the guts to stand up against it.

Surely, that is what a Cardinal is for: to speak the truth and lead with it. Let us pray daily that bishops and cardinals the world over will find the courage to ignore the brutal tactics of political intimidation and speak the truth as they know it. This is precisely what their discouraged and demoralised flocks have been so desperately longing to hear.

Paula Adamick is editor of The Canada Post, a London-based newspaper for Canadian expatriates living in Britain.
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Title Annotation:opposition of Cardinal Thomas Winning to gay liberation promotional campaign
Author:Adamick, Paula
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2000
Previous Article:Letters to the Editor.
Next Article:AIDS program Still deceiving.

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