A bishop who recommended homosexuals seek medical treatment won’t be
prosecuted under hate laws.
That’s the verdict of British police following a probe into remarks made by
the Rt. Rev. Peter Forster that prompted outrage among homosexuals and one formal complaint.
In an interview with the Chester Chronicle Friday, the Bishop of Chester said: “Some people who are primarily homosexual can re-orientate
themselves. I would encourage them to consider that as an option, but I would
not set myself up as a specialist on the subject. That is in the area of
The 53-year-old’s comments – deemed “scandalous” by homosexual
advocates – grabbed headlines in all the British newspapers and sparked
numerous letters-to-the-editors of those papers.
“These are irresponsible remarks that could inflame latent homophobia,”
Martin Reynolds, the communication director for the Lesbian and Gay
Christian Movement, told the Daily Telegraph. “I am sure that the bishop is a
very gentle man and his views are sincere. But many people in history who are
gentle and sincere have said things that are evil.”
After consulting with the Crown Prosecution Service, Cheshire police
decided the bishop hadn’t committed a crime, according to a strict
interpretation of current law.
“The Public Order Act of 1986 made it a criminal offense to incite racial
hatred – but its provisions do not extend to sexual orientation,” a police
spokesman told the Manchester Evening News.
The inquiry prompted disgust among some officials who dismissed it as a
“waste of police time.”
“I don’t want to be told that the police can’t attend the scene of a burglary
or stake out a drug dealer’s house when they are investigating stuff like this,”
Christine Russell, a Labor Party representative for the City of Chester, told
the Daily Mail. “It’s not the police I blame. It’s the politically correct era in which
“I can think of better uses of police time, such as catching criminals,” Jan
Berry, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, echoed.
Still others contend it was wrong of Forster to express such a belief.
“All public leaders in Cheshire need to give clear leadership on the issue of
diversity,” said Cheshire Chief Constable Peter Fahy in a public rebuke,
according to the London Times.
Reynolds contends Forster put forth “offensive” views from a “bygone age.”
“If he wants to say that homosexuality is a sin then he is entitled to his
views but to say it is a psychiatric disorder is wrong,” he told the Telegraph.
reported the debate over reorientation therapy continues. A 2001 study conducted by Robert Spitzer, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York, recently republished in Archives of Sexual Behavior demonstrated some homosexuals are capable of becoming “predominantly” heterosexual through reorientation psychotherapy.
According to the findings, all 143 men and 57 women who claimed to have switched their homosexual preferences said the therapy altered their view of the same sex to some extent. All reported maintaining the change for at least five years.
“The current, politically correct view is that this therapy never works. I think it doesn’t work a lot of the time but in some people it does,” said Spitzer. “I do believe that people who are bothered by their homosexuality have a right to have this therapy.”