David Cameron, leader of the UK's Conservative Party and likely next Prime Minister of England, was recently interviewed in Attitude, a gay magazine. He was asked about a recent study by gay rights organization Stonewall that suggested that homophobic bullying was 10% worse in faith schools (publicly funded schools which have a particular religious denomination) than in other state schools. His response, in part, was the following:

"Yes, I saw that, and I want to know more about this because it's a very worrying finding, and I don't see why it should be the case."

This strikes me as an utterly bizarre response. Given that much of the homophobia in society is religiously-motivated, isn't it obvious that schools which promote a strong faith perspective, and require parents to demonstrate their commitment to a particular faith, might be more homophobic?

I'm wondering what people think about this.

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That's a fair point, regarding gender - and in that case it again seems fairly clear that an institution's religious affiliation might well have an effect, even if the effect is cause by how gender is conceived and discussed rather than by how sexuality itself is treated. What seemed to me odd about the response is that Cameron should claim that he essentially has no idea why religious schools might have more homophobic bullying, when, for myriad reasons, it is clear that they might. Perhaps, as your response suggests, he is merely trying to placate religious groups, but he is doing so at the expense of some of the gay vote, surely?
Of course he's doing it at the expense of the gay vote. There are far more religious voters out there than there are us queer voters, and that's true in every country on Earth. But I'm glad to see this politician use sympathetic words. It's really more what this politician does next about this situation that I care more about, the words he's using now don't matter as much.
The first and foremost challenge faced by any religion is to fill the pews - and collection plates.

There is no easier way to do this than the use of appeals to peoples' fears, hatreds and anger. Same way that demagogues in politics get their candidates elected and their policies implemented.

So it is no surprise to me that religions are by far the greatest source of homophobia. They're also one of the greatest source of fear and hatred towards other groups, whether they be ethnic, religious or "racial."

When religion allows itself to become a license to enable the bigot to feel good about his bigotry - by encouraging him to believe that God hates the same people he does - the pews and collection plates get filled and the bigots feel good - and justified - at causing the blood to run in the streets.

This is why I have sworn eternal opposition to religion. It's a matter of self defense.



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