Gay rights groups in the UK have raised a red flag over the funding of anti-gay groups through grants from the UK’s national lottery.
According to an investigation by The Guardian newspaper, grants have regularly been awarded to Christian, Muslim, Jewish and religious groups, some of which promote discrimination against LGBT people.
These include groups that have published anti-gay material, such as the Christ Apostolic church in Luton. The church’s parent organisation published a Sunday school lesson plan that reads:
“Same-sex relationships are foreign to God’s Law. Anyone who practises lesbianism, homosexuality, gay-marriage etc is a beast! Don’t do it!”
The plan goes on to say: “At the end of this lesson, the people of God should be showing deeper hatred for sexual sins.”
Other groups funded by the Lottery are reported to have also published sexist and misogynistic material.
Gay rights groups are now calling for a review of how the lottery awards its grants
“No lottery money should be given, directly or indirectly, to organisations that promote prejudice and discriminatory values,” commented Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell to The Guardian.
“In a free society, extremist churches are entitled to believe that homosexuality is wrong, but they should not receive money that comes from the public and is intended to support good causes. Anti-gay bigotry is not a good cause.”
The Lesbian and Gay Foundation said: “It is very concerning if organisations have been able to access funding if they openly discriminate against LGB people. It is important that faith groups can continue to access funding to undertake vital work within their communities. However, it is equally important that when applying for lottery funding, such groups believe and abide by equality values.”
The Lottery insists, however, that it does not fund religious groups per se, but only specific community projects that they may undertake which should not be in themselves discriminatory.