School pupils take a stand against chaplain’s homophobia
Rev Mike Goss, above, has expressed ‘disappointment’ that pupils from Carnoustie High School in Angus have launched a petition calling for Angus Council to break ties with him because of his opposition to same-sex relationships and marriage.
However, according to this report, equality campaigners have praised the pupils’ action. The Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign said it was “refreshing” to see young people working to make their school more inclusive.
Goss, minister of Barry Parish Church, said he was “very disappointed” with the petition, which accuses him of being against gay marriage and claims he has stated his opposition to the LGBT community “on multiple occasions”.
He has offered to meet with the LGBT community at the school to discussed their concerns.
Jordan Daly, co-founder of the TIE campaign, said the petition demonstrated the strength of feeling among Scotland’s young people on LGBT equality.
It is refreshing to see a group of students taking direct action while seeking to make their school a more inclusive environment for its LGBT learners, parents and carers.
This petition is indicative of an emergent phenomenon whereby young people, across Scotland, are feeling detached from and displaced by traditional religious institutions due to the perceived conflict between having faith and supporting LGBT equality.
Many young people, who have LGBT friends or family members, simply cannot relate to nor comprehend traditional religious doctrine which tells them that same-sex love is ‘unnatural’ and ‘sinful’.
This is why it is so crucial that faith leaders, such as those from across the religious spectrum who have endorsed our campaign for LGBT education in schools, are vocal about their support for diversity and equality.
It is encouraging that Mr Goss has indicated his willingness to sit down with the Inclusion and Equality Group, we would hope that this is sooner rather than later and that Mr Goss can perhaps become a figure of support to the LGBT community at Carnoustie High School.
Goss opened a formal protest over the Church of Scotland’s move to back same-sex marriages in 2016.
He also gave an interview to BBC Scotland last year where he stated that:
Same-sex relationships are not what God has planned for us as human beings.
The student campaigners claim it is “appalling” that the school, which set up an Inclusion and Equality Group last year to raise awareness of LGBT rights, has not cut its ties with Mr Goss.
Goss described the petition as a “tissue of lies” and said the allegations were “potentially actionable”.
I am certainly very disappointed to see this petition appear on social media, as I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy good relationships with the High School and both primary schools where I am chaplain.
School chaplaincy is a voluntary provision by church ministers which depends on the invitation of the schools themselves, and I have always treasured these links with the local community and any support that I can provide to staff and pupils, sometimes in difficult situations, regardless of their race, faith or gender.
I have never ever said that I hate any member of the LGBT community, nor do I hate anyone, as far as I am able to determine my own heart.
I met with members of the school inclusion group last June to discuss their concerns. I would be happy to do so again.
It’s alarming to see this topic rearing its ugly head again and with hundreds of people signing the petition the council clearly has a problem here that must be resolved.The council, and myself as an elected official have a duty of care to protect young adults whilst at school.
As a council we have a duty of care to all our young people.
In my view Rev Goss is an extreme anti-LBGTQ+ activist working against inclusion in his own church and is a frequent public commentator whose language is both hurtful and discriminatory. The council should not be seen to condone such activity.
Many concerned parents and pupils contacted me last year — there certainly is not a good relationship between Rev Goss and the schools he attends and with other ministers within the town. I hope to see a change in the chaplaincy soon.
Boyd said he believes there are “better candidates for this role” and suggested the schools should hold a ballot asking the pupils and parents which minister they would prefer.
Goss said he would be taking legal advice with regards the petition.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn