At least their blatant hatred of Christians is being investigated
A criminal investigation has been started by Scotland Yard into an advertisement from the Gay Police Association (GPA) that blamed religion for a 74 per cent increase in homophobic crime. The Times has learnt that the inquiry into the advertisement, which was carried in The Independent, was ordered by the unit set up to counter hate crimes such as homophobia.
The advertisement depicted a Bible beside a pool of blood under the heading "In the name of the Father". It appeared in the newspaper's diversity supplement to coincide with the Europride event in London. It stated: "In the last 12 months the Gay Police Association has recorded a 74 per cent increase in homophobic incidents, where the sole or primary motivating factor was the religious belief of the perpetrator."
Scotland Yard has rejected the 74 per cent figure, which it said did not reflect its statistics. Detective Chief Inspector Gerry Campbell, who leads the domestic violence and hate crime unit, disclosed the investigation in a letter to Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative MP. He wrote: "The original advertisement has been recorded as a religiously aggravated hate crime incident following a crime allegation by a member of the public. "This crime is now the subject of a proportionate effective and objective criminal investigation. The police senior investigating officer is in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service. Any decision to prosecute is the sole decision of the CPS."
The unit has referred the advertisement to the Directorate of Professional Standards at the Metropolitan Police. The Independent Police Complaints Commission has also been consulted.
Miss Widdecombe, a Christian who converted to Roman Catholicism in 1993, was angered by the advertisement. "It seems a deliberate attempt to stir up hate against Christians," she said. By using that famous line of worship, In The Name of the Father, the association is effectively alleging that Christians are solely responsible for hate crime. "The implication of this advertisement is that Christians stir up assault and abuse against homosexuals. "This is not true, as Christians are specifically taught not to hate; not just to refrain from acts or expressions of hatred, but not to give in to hate itself. "Imagine the outcry if the Koran rather than the Bible had been featured. Yet the teaching of both faiths is against homosexual acts. Why single out Christianity?"
Bernard McEldowney, the deputy chairman of the association, which is an independent body, said: "We wanted to focus on what we regard as a problem of faith-based homophobia, not just Christianity. "But when most people think about religion they think of the Bible which is why we agreed to illustrate the advert pictorially with a Bible. "In hindsight maybe we should not have used the Bible but we wanted to highlight serious homophobic incidents on the grounds and justification of religious belief." He said that they took out the advertisement in protest at the failure of the police service and its associated organisations to respond adequately to the problem. "We have highlighted a real problem by taking out the advertisement," he said.
The rise of 74 per cent was calculated by comparing the number of incidents reported to the association in 2004 that were either exclusively or primarily faith-based with those reported in 2005. The number of calls it received last year was about 250. "They were all serious," he added.
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