Nick Clegg totally disregarded the views of parents when he said faith schools should teach children that homosexuality is normal and harmless, a family charity says.
Norman Wells, Director of the Family Education Trust, was among a number of critics, including the Church of England, to speak out against the Liberal Democrats leader’s comments.
Mr Clegg’s comments were made during an inteview with a gay lifestyle magazine.
When asked if the Liberal Democrats would require all schools, including faith schools, to teach that homosexuality is normal and harmless, Mr Clegg replied: “Yes”.
But Conservative MP Philip Davies said: “This is an extraordinary view for someone who describes himself as a liberal.
“He should accept people of particular faiths should be allowed to have a different point of view to himself and teach that in faith schools.”
A spokesman for the Church of England said: “Whatever one’s view on sexual ethics, the notion people should be forced to teach as fact what are arguably matters of belief is disturbing.”
Norman Wells said: “Not only is Nick Clegg showing a woeful lack of respect for faith schools, but he is also totally disregarding the deeply-held views of parents.”
He continued: “It is a fundamental principle of education law that children must be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents.
“Nick Clegg is pushing a radical social agenda which would only cause confusion among vulnerable young people and expose them to increased risks to their physical and emotional health.
“Instead of seeking to advance the gay rights agenda, he would do better to commit his party to presenting positive images of stable marriages and of sexual restraint outside marriage.”
Mr Clegg also called on faith schools to ensure they don’t become “asylums of insular religious identity”.
However, a recent report discovered that secondary schools run by faith groups are better at building community cohesion than secular schools.