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Girls' Brigade 'gay sin' lesson left my daughters upset, says mother

By Deborah McAleese

Published 03/04/2015

The Girls Brigade for Northern Ireland has been caught up in a row after children took part in a religious lesson in which homosexuality was described as a sin
The Girls Brigade for Northern Ireland has been caught up in a row after children took part in a religious lesson in which homosexuality was described as a sin

The woman at the centre of a Girls' Brigade gay sin row has told how her young daughters have been left deeply upset by the contents of a controversial spiritual programme.

It has been claimed by the mother-of-four that during spiritual lessons run by the GB, homosexuality was described as a sin and equated to murder.

She said that the girls were asked to order a list of "sins" that included homosexuality, murder, adultery and theft.

At the end of the teaching she said that the girls were told that all of the sins were equal in the eyes of God.

Following the revelations in the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, the Girls' Brigade said it "strongly refutes" the allegations that the girls were taught that homosexuality was as much a sin as murder and added that it was a "distortion of the facts".

It said that the objective of the activity was to "help the girls to consider the Christian teaching that there is no hierarchy of sin 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," it added in a statement.

In written correspondence between the Girls' Brigade and the mother, which has been seen by the Belfast Telegraph, she expresses her concern about the lesson.

"My two eldest daughters, aged 15 and 17, are in the Brigadiers and attended Girls' Brigade on Tuesday 20 January 2015. During Scripture they were given a selection of cards, each containing an apparent sin, and were asked to place them in order, from the worst sin to the least sin. My daughters lifted one of the cards which had the word homosexuality on it and placed it at the bottom of the pile... The other cards contained words such as adultery, sleeping with your boyfriend, stealing and murder. The girls were then told all these sins were, in fact, equal in the eyes of God and people who sin should seek forgiveness from God."

An official within the GB responded to the woman's concerns and in an email wrote: "Having carefully reviewed the lesson in question and considered the feedback that we have received it is clear that the exercise was not the most effective and appropriate methodology for achieving the learning objective of the lesson.

"The objective was to help girls to consider the Christian teaching that there is no hierarchy of sins... This lesson was not intended to be about homosexuality and we have concluded the learning could have been more effectively achieved in a different way."

The woman who made the complaint said: "It is dreadful that the GB has been putting it into the minds of kids that homosexuality is a sin and that it is as much a sin as murder. In my view the Girls' Brigade should not be promoting homosexuality as a sin."

Peter Lynas of the Evangelical Alliance defended the GB and said it was a "Christian organisation teaching Christian values".

"They are teaching that any relationship outside of marriage is wrong. The GB does incredible work and teaches moral values."

Belfast Telegraph

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