T A

more on the adoption agency row

See previous entry for the letter from Rowan Williams and John Sentamu and earlier press reports, including The Times today.

Dr Sentamu was interviewed on the BBC Today radio programme: listen here, about 6 minutes long.

Should Catholic adoption agencies be able to refuse to place children with gay couples? We speak to the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu

Further press coverage:
Telegraph Churches unite against gay laws by Jonathan Petre and George Jones
Telegraph leader Sexual disorientation.
Guardian Archbishops back Catholic stance on adoption rights for gay couples by Will Woodward and Stephen Bates (another version of this story here).
Independent Cherie Blair ‘split Cabinet in Catholic adoption row
Independent Leading article: When the interests of child and church collide
and a report from last Sunday, Faith & Reason: Ruth Kelly, her hard-line church and a devout PM wrestling with his conscience.
Magnus Linklater in The Times Kelly must face her tragic end – to resign on principle.
Ekklesia Call for Kelly’s head as Blair ponders and C of E backs Catholics and Sentamu seeks to defend church against charges of discrimination.

52
Leave a Reply

avatar
52 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
32 Comment authors
cryptogramMartin ReynoldsMerseymikePluralistmynsterpreost (=David Rowett) Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

We’re not exactly covering ourselves with glory here, are we? I’d rather assumed that it was now understood that gays weren’t paedophiles, that gay parents don’t make gay children, that gays are as capable as anyone drawn at random from the population at bringing up kids (which maybe damning with faint praise, but I’ll move on). So, the objections of our archbishops comes down to conscience – I thought John Humphries’ interview with ++Sentamu particularly forensic, and it showed the fatal weakness in York’s argument. All I can do is trust that the Californian compromise will be adopted – it… Read more »

laurence
Guest
laurence

‘respect for conscience’ ‘respect for privacy’ Their Graces Letter and the John Sentamu interview are MOST encouraging. Presumably, in future lesbian and gay church members, vicars (and Bishops Suffragan Designate), as well as members of the British public will have THEIR consciences respected, and their right to privacy and a home life treated with respect. No more witch-hunts. No more horror stories of the hounding of clergy from their homes and posts and the pastoral abuse of church members. No more ‘Jeffrey John situations’. No more abuse of women congregants or ministers. No more restrictions on women ministers (including bishops… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

That was Jim Naughtie not John Humphrys [sic] interviewing the archbishop.

Craig Nelson
Guest

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, after his Churches role in covering up paedophile priests makes statements about child welfare…..

Hmmmm

The moral case for allowing this discrimination is that LGB people are objectively evil and disordered.

Hmmmm

Seems they have made the case for ‘no exemptions’ rather forcefully themselves and, whether at this time or a future time have no doubt the law will ban discrimination in the provision of goods and services. Period. And especially where such discrimination is based on the furtherance of damaging steretypes of LGB people as parents.

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

Well, it was some bloke – my kids talk over it, no matter who’s speaking… 🙁

Prior Aelred
Guest

I find the position of ther Archbishops puzzling — the wrongness of trying to legislate private conscience was, of course, the arguement used against Civil Rights legislation & the repeal of the Jim Crow laws in the United States.

Of course this would hardly be the first time that bishops took the side of power & prejudice.

laurence
Guest
laurence

‘Demanding the right to treat other people badly
is a poor reflection on these religious groups.’

Posted by David Reid on January 24, 2007 1:45 AM

This excellent comment following the Telegraph leader, says it all, as far as I am concerned.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning (24 January 2007), Dr Sentamu, formerly a judge in Uganda, said that the refusal of Catholic adoption agencies to allow lesbian and gay couples access to their publicly tendered services was acceptable – because to require them to do otherwise would amount to the government involving itself in a “private matter”.”

Surely, discrimination is a public matter?

Anglicanus
Guest
Anglicanus

Is it of the essence of the Roman Catholic Church that it should run adoption agencies? If it is and funding may be withdrawn by H.M’s Government for non-compliance with laws relating to nondiscrimination, then it up to the Roman Catholic Church to find the necessary funding. If it isn’t of the essence but is, in the words of the Archbishop of Cardiff, ‘a tragedy’ for the children that Roman Catholic adoption agencies close over this matter then surely it is the place of the Roman Catholic Church to make sacrifices of principle or finance to avoid the tragic consequences.… Read more »

laurence
Guest
laurence

“The conscience factor must always be supreme.”
Joe Benton MP for Bootle.Member of the Roman ‘catholic’ denomination. One o’clock news BBC 4.

Why have we never heard of the “supremacy of conscience” before ? Espcially down the most oppressive years for lgbt people.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Is it possible in Britain for Catholic adoption agencies to operate as they wish as long as they don’t accept public funds? We had a similar situation here in which we had a publically funded denominational school system made up of an RC board, a Pentecostal board, and an Integrated board comprised of the rest of the Christians historically involved in education here. It was wasteful and manifestly discriminatory. We had two referenda before we got rid of it, the second one a very clear question to which a solid majority answered “get rid of the old system”. Predictably, the… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Again, we’re back with the question of why ECUSA should WANT to associate with these wolves in sheeps clothing. The Guardian comment that Rowan Williams’ “stance is poignant because of his longstanding friendship with a gay Welsh Anglican priest who, with his partner, has raised a boy with severe behavioural difficulties” starkly outlines the extent to which this man will, time and again, jettison both Christian charity and personal experience to serve political ends. Yet again he backs apes over angels. From the Jeffrey John business onwards, Williams has consistently given support to the fag-bashing tendency within the Anglican communion.… Read more »

AdoptiveParent
Guest
AdoptiveParent

As an American adoptive parent (of three Korean children) I find the tone of both CofE and Roman Catholic prelates to be abhorrent. *All* adoptive families are liable to suffer varying social legislation because adoption is a legal matter, and because (by God’s grace) thus far biological families rarely suffer intrusions from the state. The tone of the prelate’s communications, however, make it very difficult for any adoptive parent to enter a CofE or Roman Catholic church with any sense of dignity. The insinuation that any adoptive parent, straight, gay, or otherwise, would consider adopting children for sexual purposes is… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

There is no way through this impasse except to carefully weigh the substantive nature of the rights of conscience being advanced. The queer equality right of conscience is an ethical demand upon us all to join in freeing neighbors – from categorical acts – of denying business, services, or public accommodation – which a citizen would otherwise be completely free to access, if only he or she were not identified as a member of the group against which categorical barriers have been and must be erected. Take an example from any passing categorical feature about you that happens to be… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

PS 1 to Archbishop Sentamu: The sex acts which are still being condemned are pretty much the same sex acts which straight people also do, inside marriage, quite frequently. Even among married couples who are believers. Does that help make the categorical functions of this discrimination even clearer? The straight house master may make hay while the sun shines, and above all profit from all – but queer slaves are forbidden to touch their genitals? Really? In this day and age? And we are supposed to nod our heads and immediately discern that this is such a high matter of… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

In an earlier post I referred, in the context of the Independent headline “devout PM wrestling with his conscience”, to the fact that Mr. Blair’s conscience is clearly not this sensitive when it comes to tens of thousands of Iraqi dead. I should also, of course, have included the thousands of British and American servicemen, needlessly dead and wounded in this war of choice.

Name in email addy: sensitive content
Guest
Name in email addy: sensitive content

After much agonising and reflection and time, I’ve come to a place where I feel the essence of the current palaver in the Church is that those people who have come to an understanding about the faith that is usually described as being ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ etc., cannot find it in themselves to declare that so many people over the last two thousand years, so many brilliant teachers and leaders and faithful, in the church – hundreds of thousands – have simply been wrong in some ways. Yes, they have not quite got it right. Given what they were given,… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Another meditation on lecture-room moral theology. Says nowt beyond ‘society is complicated and different interest-groups conflict with one another, oh dear isn’t that difficult’. Sounds like an attempt to say someething without saying anything, and like all such attempts, doomed to fail.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Firstly, given their record, I would question whether the Catholic Church is a fit organisation to have any connection with children in any case

Second, we live in a democracy, not a theocracy. There should be no automatic exemption, and if the Church can’t get that, then we will be better off without its interference . If they can’t provide services in a non-discriminatory manner,then I await their closure with glee. Good riddance to them.

I have no intention of returning to the Church until a split takes place.

Richard Lyon
Guest
Richard Lyon

It seems likely to me that Williams is worried about more than Roman Catholic adoption agencies. The CofE is an employer in the UK. It has adopted policies that attempt to constrain the personal lives of its gay employees. This new law could be used to put a stop to that. Rowan is hiding behind the cardinal’s red skirts.

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

I’ve just had the pleasure of hearing my vicar on R4, missing the point completely.

Even if he’s right – that children do best being adopted by a heterosexual married couple – he’s not grasping the actual situation. Children in care more often than not have disasterous outcomes in life. Faced with that fact, I’d rather my kids be adopted by Beelzebub himself than left with the local authority.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Name, I will watch as the Consevos on this site ignore the obvious pain you have suffered at the hands of organized religion. You will be just another rebel, your criticisms of the Church that has hurt you will be ignored, and you will be written off. I’d advise you, if you still have the heart for God, to read some Celtic spirituality, some Church history, the lives of the early saints, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, The Sayings of the Desert Mothers, The Cloud of Unknowing, and a host of other such writings. There will be the traditional… Read more »

David Walker
Guest
David Walker

When TA started up it was a welcome breath of fresh air in that genuine debate took place and only rarely did anyone descend to personal attacks and abuse. I still think what we have is an excellent news service but I’m getting more and more despondent about the tone of much of what is posted by way of comment. So this is probably a final attempt to post in the style that I thought TA was for. And I promise to go away if you flame me! The hallmarks of any social service are things like these: the needs… Read more »

Raspberry Rabbit
Guest

Simon Morden writes
“I’ve just had the pleasure of hearing my vicar on R4, missing the point completely.”

My congregation has that pleasure every Sunday.

RR

John Damascus
Guest
John Damascus

if Muslims asked for a similar exemption based on their beliefs about the impropriety of genital homosexual acts, I think many currently outraged liberals would support them and call those who criticized them ‘Islamophobes’.

Isn’t much of the anti-Catholic reaction catholico-phobia? But that’s OK and mandatory.

Sammy Morse
Guest

The first thing that strikes me is that Simon Morden is totally, absolutely, right about the care system in the UK. Care is largely where difficult kids from difficult backgrounds with difficult problems get dumped together. A few manage to make it out with some sort of prospects for a decent life, but a huge number end up sexually abused (usually by other kids), on drugs or in prison. Social services departments are often overwelmed by the depth of needs that these kids have and the scarcity of their own resources; and most of the voluntary agencies who used to… Read more »

laurence
Guest
laurence

There is nothing remotely Catholic about the current strictures of Rome / Westminster . Why misuse a good word in this way ?

Homophobia is homophobic whatever its (ort your) prvenance.

laurence
Guest
laurence

You just love to go on about h. acts –but most of use spend our time engaged in life —you can’t bear to contemplate that, I realise.

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

David – your point is precisely why I think that a Californian compromise is required here. Some might argue that “everyone provides equally for all” in these very sensitive areas – but to take your example of domestic abuse, I’m assuming you wouldn’t argue that male survivors shouldn’t be catered for, and if they turned up at the shelter, they wouldn’t be pointed to somewhere which could help. That’s what makes the RC church’s response so wincingly awful: gay couples who want to adopt shouldn’t be catered for anywhere in society, and even though we know of places which do,… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

The Roman Catholic adoption agencies rely on public money. Well, let them carry out the threat of the religious boss, and put the public money elsewhere for this provision. I have the same view about schools – only with the lightest touch does church involvement in state schooling function. When the Churches push their agenda – that which is still dominant in the Churches – education for all becomes distorted, and also inflated church attendances are evidence of distortion in those localities. Half-stated by the Anglican archbishops is, nevertheless, full consequence, and fully-stated by the Catholic version, leaves no doubt.… Read more »

Simon Icke
Guest
Simon Icke

TONY BLAIR COLLAPSES TO MINISTERIAL PRESSURE OVER SORs Once again this atheistic Government ignores the majority view to appease the militant minority. The Sexual Orientation Regulations were never about gay rights, there was enough legislation already in place to protect people from being victims of ‘homophobia.’ (And there certainly was no evidence to support any real homophobia existed anyway, not from Christians in any case. However, Christianphobia certainly exists if recent media reporting is anything to go by). No, the real agenda from this Government is about turning this nation into a secularist state and it was convenient to use… Read more »

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

I don’t know any gay couples who have adopted a kid, so this flurry has been a learning experience for me. I think the movement of the times is towards valorizing gay couples and I admire the generosity of those who adopt. On the other hand my church still officially claims that gay couples are an evil parody of marriage and that they should never be allowed to adopt children — so Catholics running adoption agencies suddenly find themselves steamrolled into going against authority and even conscience by State fiat. A painful situation. Christians can opt not to collude with… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

There are times when the Church must bow to the Crown. One would think that ++Cantuar would understand this.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

In response to David Walker. I see no reason why the acceptance of gay couples would do anything to dissuade ‘single teenage catholic mums’ from approaching Catholic agencies. Many of those ‘teenage mums’ are likely to have gay friends in any case.

Agencies aimed at different sectors is fine. Discriminating against others and wanting official sanction to do so isn’t. And that is the problem – that is what the RC’s want. I think that is entirely unacceptable, and if they cannot behave in a professional manner, then we would be better off without such agencies.

David
Guest

Merseymike – I think David Walker’s point is that if the Catholic agencies don’t exist (i.e. they shut themselves down over all this), then ‘single teenage Catholic mums’ are going to be disadvantaged.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

No, they are not, David. I think that the thought that these young women are so unworldly that they would not be able to approach other agencies is naive in the extreme. Its often their parents who thrust them towards the ‘services’ of catholic agencies,in any case.

Frankly, I think the Catholic church isn’t a fit organisation to run anything like this, given their attitudes.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Incidentally, I thought Sentamu was almost laughingly inept in his attempt to justify anti-gay discrimination as opposed to racial discrimination on the Today programme.

The fact is that other than ‘what the Bible says’, there is absolutely no justification – and ‘what the Bible says’ will be considered irrational and irrelevant by the vast majority of people, given that they have a sensible attitude towards this book rather than that clung on to by the church

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Wnatever happened to the law of ‘double effect’? If my aged brain recalls it correctly, this bastion of traditional catholic moral theology offers the perfect way round the entire problem for the RC Church. If, post-SOR legislation, in order to meet the needs of the aforementioned single RC mothers (and we’ll leave undiscussed the role in their single motherhood played by humanae vitae)the Church has to acquiesce in a lesser moral evil (as C M-o’C would have it), ie gay couples as possible adoptive parents then the greater moral need overrules the lesser. So why isn’t this card being played?… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

David wrote: “… ‘single teenage Catholic mums’ are going to be disadvantaged.”

Can you please explain Why and How?

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Supposing that Ruth Kelly did resign, that would further continue the sidelining of Christians, who are a sizeable number of people in this country. This is probably what the campaigners want – just like they want the acquiescence and preferably merging of Catholic adoption agencies with the ‘real’ agencies (with their so much superior morality). Then the marginalisation of ‘alternative’ views will be complete, as complete as their own monopoly. A great advert for Proportional Representation. Not that their own view is evidence-based anyway: it is based on the world’s greatest statistical disaster, namely the undeniable harvest in social/familial breakdown… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Suppose we were talking about conscientious objection to compulsory military service in Iraq. Would you progressive types be saying religious conscience must give way to the principle that all must have “equal” access to compulsory service? How about a father and daughter living in an open incestuous relationship who want to rent a flat in your home? Should Jehovah’s Witneses be forced to receive blood transfusions? Must we force Muslims to eat prok in the prisons? If any of the answers to these questions are “no,” then you need to do a much better job trying to explain why in… Read more »

Weiwen Ng
Guest

Dave,

“If any of the answers to these questions are “no,” then you need to do a much better job trying to explain why in this case, the conscience of many Roman Catholics should not be respected. Or is it just because they are easy whipping boys?”

It is my understanding that the Catholic adoption services we’re talking about are receiving public funds. If you’re taking public money, you need to follow public laws, I think.

I’m more interested in ++Sentamu’s interview. is there a transcript?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Dave ; because they wish to discriminate against other citizens whose existence is legal and whose relationships have status, along with the law being on their side in that they have the right to adopt. None of your examples are in the least comparable. You will simply have to accept that those of us who agree with the legislation do not agree with your outlook and believe that anti-gay prejudice is equivalent to racism and other irrational prejudice. Just because you cite religion to support your view is utterly irrelevant:no-one is forcing you to believe anything other than what you… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

…don’t forget the “Beastialitarian” wanting to boink your dog, Dave!

Seriously, you “Slippery Slope” “Open the Floodgates!”-types just have a *limitless* capacity for hypothetical Sturm*und*Drang, don’t you? ;-/

Charles
Guest
Charles

Dave – all your comparisons are the wrong way round.

The issue is that an organisation offering a service should not discrimate against anyone who requests that service. NOT that the person requesting a service should be required to go to a specifi organisation to get the service.

To take one of your “silly” examples. A Jehovah’s Witness is not offereng a service to the hospital to receive a Blood Transfusion – the Hospital is offering a service of blood to the Jehovah’s Witness.

Similarly, a Muslim prisoner is not offering a service to the prison system to be in prison.

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

Dear Simon, the “Comments” prompt is missing from the thread above this one, “adoption agency row: latest development.” Regarding that thread, the Stephen Bates article regarding then-Bishop, now Archbishop Rowan’s next door neighbors in Wales just makes me sad for ABC Rowan. Once again, I’m seeing the real person on the one hand, and the public person on the other, and never the twain shall meet while he is ABC. It must be terrible to be inside his head – although, I still have this image of him, when he was just a priest and Lady Margaret Professor at Oxford,… Read more »

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

Dave – your examples are so full of straw, I could bed my strawberries down with it. The conscience of JWs is respected – though there is a good case where children are involved to remove that choice. Elective surgery is just that. Muslims, Jews, Hindus, vegetarians and vegans have dietary requirements that are relatively easily catered for. There’s no problem here. We have a duty of care for prisoners. The incestuous relationship? How would I know? Why would I pry? I don’t even know if it’s illegal if the daughter is over the age of consent – but can… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

While I understand the emotive power of Dave’s argument re: transfusions, pacifism and pork, the argument itself is flawed fatally by his choice of examples. Each is about the individual exercising his/her right not to kill/not to partake of unclean food/not to be the beneficiary of a forbidden practice. The focus of each is, yes, the individual conscience, but also the individual as participant.

I think it a step change to go from this to say that my conscience forbids you from (in this case) adopting. It seems more akin to the Jehovah’s Witness demanding an end to blood transfusions.

Pluralist
Guest

There are incestuous relationships, especially among those who did not grow up together and for whom the usual blocks don’t form. And if they have children, things go wrong – ask the Hapsburg Dynasty. These children are an-other, and these affected an-others are a conceern of the community. Whether Jehovah’s Witnesses (adults only, in full knowledge) are forced to have blood transfusions depends on society’s attitude to suicide among the can be healthy: these involve themselves. Other examples are individual cases. The matter of the Roman Catholic restriction and institutional objection is simple: if it does not believe its agencies… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Was that before Williams had his major surgery – removal of the spine, Pluralist?

I was interested to hear John Reid, someone I have always seen as socially conservative, oppose exemption.