A group of over 600 faith leaders, teachers and school officials have decried the British government's recent passage of a bill that would require sex education lessons for primary school pupils as young as five years old.
In a letter to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, the group said that the Labour Party's Children, Schools and Families Bill "seeks to impose a particular ideology" on British society and urged the Parliament "decisively to oppose" the measure.
According to the group, parents and guardians have the primary responsibility for bringing up their children "in accordance with their own values and culture."
"They may entrust the task of formal education to a school of their choice, but the overall responsibility for the upbringing of their children remains theirs," they noted.
The group further stated that "a state which seeks to centralise responsibilities which are properly fulfilled by families is acting in an unjust manner and undermines the basis of a free society."
Notable signers on the letter included the Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt. Rev. Brian Noble; the Rev. George Rogers, Chairman of Governors, William Law CofE Primary School in Werrington; and the Rev. Vaughan Roberts, Rector at St. Ebbe's Church in Oxford.
In addition to lament over the sex education bill, the letter also included a plea for the government to discontinue its "discrimination" against British Christians, which the authors say is evident in the recent legal battle over a Christian nurse's right to wear a cross pendant.
Shirley Chaplin, a nurse for more than 30 years, has worn her cross "every day since her confirmation as a sign of her Christian faith, a faith which led to her vocation in nursing, and which has sustained her in that vital work ever since," the letter stated.
Furthermore, the letter cited unfair practices by the National Health Services (NHS) that allow employees to wear articles of religious clothing from other faiths aside from Christianity.
The group also noted a requirement by the court for Chaplin to produce "evidence of the fact that Christians wear crosses visibly around the neck."
"It cannot be right that judges are unaware of such a basic practice," the letter reads.
Calling the incident "yet another case in which the religious rights of the Christian community are being treated with disrespect," the group said that they are "deeply concerned at the apparent discrimination shown against Christians" and made a call on the government to "remedy this serious development."
"In a number of cases, Christian beliefs on marriage, conscience and worship are simply not being upheld," the letter states. "There have been numerous dismissals of practising Christians from employment for reasons that are unacceptable in a civilised country."
"We believe that the major parties need to address this issue in the coming general election," they add.