Christians in Bury St Edmunds have expressed outrage after ‘dangerous’ leaflets condemning sex education for young children were distributed at a General Election hustings.
Compiled by a group called the Christian Soldiers of Ukip – though the party says it is not affiliated to them – the leaflets accuse a Government programme called Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools (CHIPS) of ‘allowing the sexual grooming’ of pupils ‘for same sex attraction’.
Copies were handed out at the hustings at All Saints’ Church, organised by Christian group Churches Together, on April 24.
Deborah Martin, who attended the hustings, said she was ‘astounded’ by the leaflet’s claims. “It’s easy to pick up on one element of the curriculum to discredit people. I absolutely cannot believe it,” she said.
“I don’t know what they’re trying to achieve. No Christian nor anyone else I know would go along with it – these kind of ideas went out with the Ark.”
Seymour Quigley, 37, labelled the leaflets ‘shocking’.
“Bury is a very accepting town with a large LGBT community and is more cosmopolitan than people give it credit for,” he said.
“Anyone harbouring views like that could not represent the views or people of Bury.
“It’s very irresponsible to push your own prejudices on to children. We don’t need hateful messages dragging us back to the Dark Ages.
“Not teaching children about sex is incredibly dangerous. Ignorance is dangerous, and so are these leaflets.”
The Rev Mark Haworth, team rector for North Bury Team Ministry, said: “It is not where our church is coming from as we are very inclusive. I am absolutely furious that someone took the liberty to come into the church grounds at the event. The people responsible for this have nothing whatsoever to do with my churches or Churches Together.
“I am desperately upset that people hold views like that, and they have no right to impose them on people who come here in good faith.”
John Howlett, UKIP’s Parliamentary candidate for Bury St Edmunds, said: “UKIP’s policy regarding sex education for children is to exclude it from all primary schools.
“We don’t think it is appropriate for children of that age.
“Although the CHIPS programme is well intended it is flawed, as we in UKIP think it would lead to the inappropriate sexualisation of primary school children.”
A UKIP spokesman said the Christian Soldiers of Ukip were not affiliated with the party in any way and did not represent it.
n Hustings report – Page 14