SINCE Simon James Green, the homosexual author of ‘teen fiction’ was prevented from promoting his latest book at a Catholic secondary school, he has been depicted as a victim, a tragic and misunderstood defender of the rights of LGBT+ children.
Green likes to present himself in this way. It is how he sees himself. In a recent interview with the Guardian, he brushed off objections to the sexually explicit language in his children’s books as ‘a convenient excuse for homophobia’.
But to reduce the objections to his books as merely occasions of ‘homophobia’ is surely misleading. His sexuality is not the issue. Most of the press and the broadcast media have also misled the public into thinking that Green is being picked on solely because he is a ‘gay author’. None has found the courage, honesty or decency to tell the truth about the content of his so-called children’s books and why it is so objectionable.
It fell to the Archdiocese of Southwark, which stepped in to stop Green from visiting John Fisher School for boys in Purley, south London, to select extracts from Green’s books in a press release, setting out exactly why it has to object to them. The press release was ignored.
It is surely ironic that TCW feels unable to print the offensive material which the school considered to be entirely appropriate for children aged 12 upwards. If you wish, you can read it in the archdiocesan press release here.
For those who would rather spare themselves, part of it is an aggressively crude and homosexually explicit parody of the Lord’s Prayer, which for two millennia has united Christians all over the world irrespective of whatever Church, communion or community they belong to. It is perhaps the most important prayer of all.
imagine if a priest or a teacher in a church school had altered the prayer in the outrageous and blasphemous way that Simon James Green has done. A priest would be immediately suspended by his superiors amid mutterings of diabolical possession; he might have his collar felt by police on suspicion of grooming children for under-age homoerotic sexual activity. Parents would demand the suspension and sackings of any teachers and governors who had permitted this. Safeguarding agencies would certainly be notified and involved.
The archdiocese is, without any doubt, behaving responsibly in protecting the children in its schools from explicit descriptions of sexual, predominantly homosexual, activity. It has a legal obligation to do so. It must uphold the moral and theological precepts of the Catholic Church, which has always taught that sexual intercourse outside marriage between a man and a woman is sinful. It is what it exists to do under its status as a charity. It has behaved entirely as any independent observer would have expected.
Indeed, for the archdiocese to fail to halt the promotion of such materials on its premises would have been a gross dereliction of duty. But don’t expect the mainstream media to tell you that.
Instead, be prepared for more attacks on this school and the archdiocese. So far, the media have reported the critical comments of a snap Ofsted inspection with a tone of exasperated indignation, even though the same report described the school ‘as a caring community, where all pupils are welcomed’. The archdiocese, incidentally, is formally challenging the critical aspects because it believes the evidence for them was ‘drawn solely from media reports’, which it has claimed are generally biased and inaccurate.
When teachers from the school went on strike last week in support of governors who were removed for supporting Green’s visit, there was more of the same – lots of interviews with angry union representatives and with Green himself (of course).
These journalists aren’t homophobes, you see. They’re ‘brave’, just like Green, and like him they’re travelling along the road of progress. But there is such a long way to go. Perhaps they will know they have arrived at their destination when the day comes when Green can write a book for Muslim children which hijacks the most sacred texts of the Koran and he uses these as a vehicle to promote deviant sexual practices against the wishes of their parents. I’d like to be there when he pops along to a Muslim school for a book-signing session, but I doubt if I’d get through the police cordon.
Green and those like him are not serving the interests of free speech and expression, but are imperilling it. Most of us are very wary of censorship but if we are going to avoid it authors and publishers have a duty to behave responsibly, especially when it involves children.
For most of my adult life, I’ve been happy to accept the musing of Oscar Wilde, in defending The Picture of Dorian Gray, that ‘there is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.’
But today such an aphorism seems so quaint, and so out of date. People will, in the end, protect their children. They won’t tolerate attacks upon their innocence for long.